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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
September 14, 2018, Argued; November 13, 2018, Decided
[*1065] Hamilton, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-appellee Courthouse News Service ("CNS") seeks injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arguing that the First Amendment requires Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, to release newly filed complaints to the press at the moment of receipt by [**2] her office—not after processing. Neither the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit nor the Supreme Court of the United States provides the press with this sort of instant access to court filings.1 Instead, in our court and apparently in the Supreme Court, as well, the clerks' offices undertake certain administrative processing before a filing is made publicly available, giving our practices a similarity to the practices in state court challenged in this case. That fact would make it unusual, and perhaps even hypocritical, for us to order a state court clerk to provide such instant access on the basis of the same Constitution that applies to federal courts. Adhering to the principles of equity, comity, and federalism, we conclude that the district court should have abstained from exercising [*1066] jurisdiction over this case. See O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 499, 94 S. Ct. 669, 38 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1974); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 379-80, 96 S. Ct. 598, 46 L. Ed. 2d 561 (1976); SKS & Assocs. v. Dart, 619 F.3d 674, 678-80 (7th Cir. 2010). We therefore reverse the district court's order granting a preliminary injunction and order this action dismissed without prejudice.
I. Factual & Procedural Background
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
908 F.3d 1063 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32110 **; 2018 Media L. Rep. 514
COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DOROTHY BROWN, in her official capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Defendant-Appellant.
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Courthouse News Serv. v. Brown, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 6318 (U.S., Oct. 15, 2019)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 17-CV-7933. Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.
Courthouse News Serv. v. Brown, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2816 (N.D. Ill., Jan. 8, 2018)
state court, federal court, abstention, electronically, injunction, proceedings, press, access rights, principles, comity, preliminary injunction, documents, filed complaint, complaints, district court, processing, delays, abstain, courts, exercise jurisdiction, ongoing, rights, civil proceeding, records, cases
Civil Procedure, Remedies, Injunctions, Grounds for Injunctions, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Abstention, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Abuse of Discretion, Constitutional Law, Freedom of Speech, Free Press, Public Access, Fundamental Freedoms, Scope, Governments, Courts, Court Records, State & Territorial Governments, Relations With Governments, Equity, Relief, Injunctions, Judicial Comity