Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Virginia Federal Judge Certifies Class Suing Over Gay Marriage Ban

HARRISONBURG, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Jan. 31 certified a class of people challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage and seeking to end the state's refusal to recognize marriages that same-sex couples have legally entered elsewhere (Joanne Harris, et al. v. Janet M. Rainey, et al., No. 13-77, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12801).

Class Complaint Challenges Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a class complaint in Virginia federal court on Aug. 1, seeking to end the ban same-sex marriage in Virigina and to end the state's refusal to recognize marriages that same-sex couples have legally entered elsewhere (Joanne Harris, et al. v. Robert F. McDonnell, et al., No. 13-77, W.D. Va.).

Survivor Spousal Benefits Are Due To Same-Sex Spouse, Pa. Federal Judge Rules

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional requires recognition of a valid Canadian same-sex marriage for purposes of determining the proper distribution of survivor benefits under a profit-sharing plan that is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled July 29 (Cozen O'Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer J. Tobits, et al., No. 11-00045, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105507).

Supreme Court Finds No Standing To Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Proponents of California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage did not have standing to appeal a ruling finding the ballot initiative unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 ruling (Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin M. Perry, et al., No. 12-144, U.S. Sup.).

High Court: Ban On Benefits For Same-Sex Married Couples Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife for purposes of all federal statutes. The decision means that same-sex couples married in states that recognize same-sex marriage as legal cannot be denied federal benefits under federal laws in which marital or spousal status is addressed (United States v. Edith Windsor, executor of the estate of Thea Spyer, No. 12-307, U.S. Sup.).

6th Circuit: Plan Properly Denied Widow's Benefits Based On Length Of Marriage

CINCINNATI - A pension plan administrator did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by concluding that a widow did not qualify for widow's benefits because she had not been married to the plan participant for one year before his death, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 22 in an unpublished opinion (Mary Kern v. Chrysler UAW Pension, No. 12-2049, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10596).

4th Circuit Finds It Lacks Jurisdiction To Review Security Clearance Revocation

RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed the revocation of a federal employee's security clearance following his marriage, finding that it lacks jurisdiction to review the decision (Mahmoud M. Hegab v. Letitia A. Long, et al., No. 12-1182, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8411).

Preliminary Certification Granted In Suit Challenging Defense Of Marriage Act

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 19 provisionally certified a class complaint challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and alleging that it prevents homosexual immigrants from receiving certain immigration benefits available to immigrants in heterosexual marriages (Martin R. Aranas, et al. v. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 12-1137, C.D. Calif.).

More Than $2.46M Fraudulently Transferred To Peregrine CEO's Ex-Wife, Trustee Says

CHICAGO - The Chapter 7 trustee in the bankruptcy case of Peregrine Financial Group Inc. on Jan. 25 filed an adversary complaint against Connie J. Wasendorf, the former wife of Peregrine CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr., seeking to recover more than $2.46 million in transfers that were part of the agreement the Wasendorfs reached regarding the dissolution of their marriage before the bankruptcy (Ira Bodenstein v. Connie J. Wasendorf $(In Re: Peregrine Financial Group Inc.$), No. 12-27488, Chapter 7, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).

Benzene Injury Predating Marriage May Not Support Loss-Of-Consortium Claim

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 3 granted partial summary judgment against the wife of a painter asserting long-latency injuries for benzene exposure, saying loss-of-consortium claims may not be asserted when the underlying injury existed before the relationship (Craig Moore, et al. BASF Corporation, et al., No. 11-1001 E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46748).