September 26, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits, a case in district court in Pennsylvania that involves Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and its impact on ERISA, has been suspended by the federal judge in the case.
Filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the case has been fully briefed for months, and awaiting a decision on the merits by the district court. The order notes that, “this matter is placed on the SUSPENSE docket of the court pending the outcome of relevant cases and additional research on the pending Motions.”
The order says that the case will remain suspended pending further action by the court.
I spoke to Chris Stoll from NCLR, and he told me that “the order says the case is being suspended ‘pending the outcome of relevant cases and additional research on the pending Motions.’ I can only assume that is a reference to the various DOMA cases that the parties have brought to the Court’s attention both before and after the hearing in March. In our view, DOMA doesn’t affect whether Jennifer is entitled to benefits in this case, but since Cozen is relying on DOMA to deny benefits, it’s not too surprising that the Court would put the case on hold. A Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA would just make it that much easier for the judge to rule that Jennifer should receive the death benefit.”
h/t Kathleen for this filing