S-16-212, Paul Gillpatrick and Niccole Wetherell v. Diane Sabatka-Rine, Denise Skrobecki, and Michael L. Kenney (Appellants)
District Court of Lancaster County, Hon. Robert R. Otte
Attorneys: Amy Miller (ACLU), Michael D. Gooch — David A. Lopez (Attorney General’s Office)
Civil: Inmates’ right to marry
Proceedings Below: Paul Gillpatrick and Niccole Wetherell, both of whom are incarcerated with the Nebraska Department of Corrections, challenged the denial of their request for the Department to facilitate their marriage ceremony via videoconference under the declaratory judgment provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-911), and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the denial violated their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court granted the inmates’ motion for summary judgment and ordered that the State must facilitate the marriage ceremony via videoconference.
Issues: The Appellants assign the district court erred: (1) to the extent it ordered any relief under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-911 because appellees failed to name the Department of Corrections as a defendant and failed to challenge the validity of a rule or regulation; (2) to the extent it determined the appellees’ rights or obligations under any statute because appellees failed to bring any claim under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,150; (3) in violating the State’s sovereign immunity to the extent its order compels any affirmative act by the State; (4) to the extent it granted appellees injunctive relief against government officers because appellees’ 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims were against such officers in their individual capacities only; (5) to the extent it concluded the Fourteenth Amendment commands States to affirmatively facilitate videoconference wedding ceremonies between inmates; (6) in denying appellants’ motion for summary judgment; and (7) in sustaining appellees’ motion for summary judgment.