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Protectmarriage.com v. Bowen

August 27, 2009

PROTECTMARRIAGE.COM, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DEBRA BOWEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs, each a California committee established to support the passage of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to define marriage as existing only between a man and a woman, filed the current action challenging California's statutory requirement that they disclose the names and other personal information of their contributors. Presently before the Court is the Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class, to which Defendants each responded with Statements of Non-Opposition. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

On January 7, 2009, Plaintiffs initiated this action challenging California's statutory requirement that they disclose the names and other personal information of those contributors of $100 or more and subsequently moved for a preliminary injunction, which this Court denied. The Court has since denied Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment.

By way of the instant litigation, Plaintiffs seek, inter alia, to have this Court: 1) enjoin Defendants from enforcing the semiannual reporting requirements under California Government Code § 84200; 2) enjoin Defendants from commencing criminal or civil actions for failing to comply with those reporting requirements; and 3) enjoin Defendants from both publishing reports or making available prior reports or campaign statements filed by Plaintiffs pursuant to California's Political Reform Act of 1974, Cal. Gov. Code § 81000 et seq. ("PRA").

Plaintiffs now move the Court to certify three classes, comprised of one class of Plaintiffs and two classes of Defendants. The proposed classes are defined as:

1) Plaintiff Class of Major Donors: All individuals and organizations that contributed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more to Plaintiffs ProtectMarriage.com or NOM-California.

2) Defendant Class of District Attorneys: All district attorneys in the State of California that are granted the authority to enforce provisions of the Political Reform Act of 1974, Cal. Gov't Code ("CGC") § 81000 et seq. (The "PRA").

3) Defendant Class of Elected Attorneys: All elected city attorneys in the State of California that are granted the authority to enforce provisions of the Political Reform Act of 1974, CGC 81000 et seq.

STANDARD

A court may certify a class if a plaintiff demonstrates that all of the prerequisites of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) have been met, and that at least one of the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b) have been met. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23; see also Valentino v. Carter-Wallace, Inc., 97 F.3d 1227, 1234 (9th Cir. 1996). Before certifying a class, the trial court must conduct a "rigorous analysis" to determine whether the party seeking certification has met the prerequisites of Rule 23. Id. at 1233. While the trial court has broad discretion to certify a class, its discretion must be exercised within the framework of Rule 23. Zinser v. Accufix Research Inst., Inc., 253 F.3d 1180, 1186 (9th Cir. 2001).

Rule 23(a) provides four prerequisites that must be satisfied for class certification: (1) the class must be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,

(2) questions of law or fact exist that are common to the class,

(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). Rule 23(b) requires a plaintiff to establish one of the ...


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