Irvis (plaintiff) was an African American man who was refused service by Moose Lodge No. 107 (defendant), a local branch of the national Moose Lodge fraternal organization located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Irvis brought suit in district court seeking injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on the grounds that because the Pennsylvania liquor board issued the Moose Lodge a private club license that authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages on its premises, the refusal of service to him was “state action” for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Irvis named both the Moose Lodge and the Pennsylvania Liquor Board as defendants. The district court concluded that state action was present, the underlying conduct was discriminatory, and it granted Irvis injunctive relief. The Moose Lodge appealed to the United States Supreme Court.