Culberson v. Doan

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  • Fairness in the Courts
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • VAWA Civil Rights Remedy
  • Authored Amicus Brief
1999

Addressed the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act civil rights remedy.

Our Role in the Case

Legal Momentum, joined by 15 local and national sexual assault, domestic violence, and women's rights groups, was amicus in the case.  Cooperating law firm Foley, Hoag, & Eliot, assisted in preparing the brief and participated in the November 1998 oral argument.

Summary of the Case

The mother and sister of a 22-year-old woman who died by the hand of her ex-boyfriend brought this case, which included allegations that the ex-boyfriend violated the VAWA civil rights remedy.  On April 8, 1999, the district court rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss her VAWA civil rights remedy and other claims.  

Decision

The court upheld the civil rights remedy’s constitutionality and explicitly disagreed with the Fourth Circuit’s en banc ruling in Brzonkala striking down the statute.  The plaintiff later withdrew the VAWA civil rights claim. The decision was overruled, in part, by the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Morrison.