Case: Wilson v. Tinicum Township

2:92-cv-06617 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: Nov. 17, 1992

Closed Date: 1996

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 17, 1992, four African-American plaintiffs filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged unconstitutional racial profiling by the Tinicum Township Police Department [TTPD]. Plaintiffs alleged that the TTPD maintained a policy or custom of stopping African-American motorists on I-95 to search for drugs in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Plaintiffs further alleged that the TTPD violate…

On November 17, 1992, four African-American plaintiffs filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged unconstitutional racial profiling by the Tinicum Township Police Department [TTPD]. Plaintiffs alleged that the TTPD maintained a policy or custom of stopping African-American motorists on I-95 to search for drugs in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Plaintiffs further alleged that the TTPD violated the Fourth Amendment by stopping motorists on I-95 for pretextual traffic violations with the intent of searching their vehicles for drugs.

On April 27, 1993, plaintiffs moved for class certification. On July 20, 1993, District Court (Judge Lowell A. Reed Jr.) granted the motion for certification and certified an injunctive class consisting of two subclasses: "(a) all individuals who travel or will travel I-95 through Tinicum Township; and (b) all African-American and Hispanic individuals who travel or will travel I-95 through Tinicum Township." The District Court also certified a damage class consisting of two subclasses: "a) all individuals travelling on I-95 who have been stopped or subjected to searches and seizures by the defendants since November 18, 1990 as a result of defendants alleged customs and policies of stopping travellers on I-95 for pretextual traffic violations with the intent of coercing consent or improperly searching vehicles thus stopped for drugs; and (b) all African American and Hispanic individuals travelling I-95 since November 18, 1990 who have been stopped or subjected to searches or seizures as a result of defendants' alleged policy or custom of stopping and searching minority individuals on I-95 because of their minority status." Wilson V. Tinicum Township, 1993 WL 280205 *10-11 (E.D.Pa.).

After class certification, the parties reached a settlement. On November 10, 1994, the District Court preliminarily approved the parties' proposed settlement agreement and set the matter for a fairness hearing. On January 19, 2005, the District Court issued its final order approving the settlement and entered the consent decree. The consent decree specified departmental reforms aimed at ending the TTPD practices of racial profiling and engaging in pretextual traffic stops. To ensure compliance with the consent decree, the TTPD was required to send copies of all TTPD reports of motor vehicle stops on I-95 to plaintiffs' attorneys on a monthly basis. The decree was to remain in effect for two years, unless compliance was not achieved. The PACER docket does not indicate that the compliance period was extended.

In addition to the consent decree, defendants agreed to pay $150,000 in damages to plaintiffs, along with attorneys' fees and costs.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (1/11/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Reed, Lowell A. Jr. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Kreimer, Seth (Pennsylvania)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hanna, Robert G. Jr. (Pennsylvania)

Pappano, Robert (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Reed, Lowell A. Jr. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Kreimer, Seth (Pennsylvania)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hanna, Robert G. Jr. (Pennsylvania)

Pappano, Robert (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:92-cv-06617

Docket (PACER)

Feb. 1, 2005

Feb. 1, 2005

Docket
15

2:92-cv-06617

Memorandum

1993 WL 280205, 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 9971

July 20, 1993

July 20, 1993

Order/Opinion
28

2:92-cv-06617

Consent Decree

Jan. 19, 1995

Jan. 19, 1995

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 12, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

Complaint. filing fee $ 120 receipt # 385662 (cj) (Entered: 11/18/1992)

Nov. 17, 1992

Nov. 17, 1992

Summons(es) issued : mailed to counsel 11/17/92 (cj) (Entered: 11/18/1992)

Nov. 17, 1992

Nov. 17, 1992

Standard Case Management Track. (cj) (Entered: 11/18/1992)

Nov. 17, 1992

Nov. 17, 1992

2

Appearance by ROBERT G. HANNA JR. for DEFENDANT TINICUM TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT TINICUM POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE, DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE; jury demand (jc) (Entered: 11/23/1992)

Nov. 20, 1992

Nov. 20, 1992

3

ORDER THAT THE ABOVE CASE IS REASSIGNED FROM THE CALENDAR OF JUDGE ROBERT F. KELLY TO THE CALENDAR OF JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR. ( SIGNED BY CLERK OF COURT MICHAEL E. KUNZ ) 11/25/92 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (jc) (Entered: 11/25/1992)

Nov. 24, 1992

Nov. 24, 1992

4

Answer to Complaint by DEFENDANT TINICUM TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT TINICUM POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE, DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE, jury demand, certificate of service (jc) (Entered: 12/09/1992)

Dec. 8, 1992

Dec. 8, 1992

5

Summons return with Affidavit of: Miranda B. Jones re: served summons and complaint upon DEFENDANT TINICUM TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE, DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE. Served by: regular mail. (fe) (Entered: 12/14/1992)

Dec. 14, 1992

Dec. 14, 1992

6

Acknowledgement of service as to DEFENDANT TINICUM POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE 11/24/92 (fe) (Entered: 12/14/1992)

Dec. 14, 1992

Dec. 14, 1992

7

Acknowledgement of service as to DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE 11/30/92 (fe) (Entered: 12/14/1992)

Dec. 14, 1992

Dec. 14, 1992

9

Acknowledgement of service as to Commissioner Thomas Giancristoforo on behalf of Tinicum Township on 11/20/92. (fe) (Entered: 12/14/1992)

Dec. 14, 1992

Dec. 14, 1992

10

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT THE TIME FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE A MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION SHALL BE EXTENDED TO AND INCLUDING 4/30/93 . (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR. ) 3/4/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 03/04/1993)

March 3, 1993

March 3, 1993

11

PRETRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER NO. 1 THAT DISCOVERY DEADLINE ON 4/15/93; THE MOTION FOR CLASS ACTION CERTIFICATION WITH SUPPORTING PAPERS SHALL BE FILED AND SERVED NO LATER THAN 4/30/93 ; DEFTS' RESPONSE TO THE MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION SHALL BE FILED NO LATER THAN 5/21/93 ; ANY NECESSARY REPLY BY PLFFS SHALL BE FILED NO LATER THAN 5/28/93 ; SCHEDULING CONFERENCE SET FOR 6/22/93 ; NO LATER THAN 4:00 P.M. ON 6/21/93, THE PARTIES SHALL SUBMIT TO CHAMBERS A JOINT AGENDA FOR THE SCHEDULING CONFERENCE. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 3/4/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 03/04/1993)

March 3, 1993

March 3, 1993

12

MOTION BY PLAINTIFF LISA WILSON, PLAINTIFF LAWRENCE BOWDEN, PLAINTIFF KIMWAN TOPPIN, PLAINTIFF SHIRLEAN LOPER FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (fe) (Entered: 04/27/1993)

April 27, 1993

April 27, 1993

13

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION SHALL BE FILED NO LATER THAN 6/7/93 ; AND ANY NECESSARY REPLY BY PLFFS SHALL BE FILED NO LATER THAN 6/14/93 . (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 5/19/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 05/19/1993)

May 19, 1993

May 19, 1993

14

Response by DEFENDANT TINICUM TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT TINICUM POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE, DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE, DEFENDANT UNKNOWN OFFICERS to [12-1] MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION, Memorandum, Certificate of Service. (mc) (Entered: 06/08/1993)

June 7, 1993

June 7, 1993

15

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER THAT PLFFS' MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION IS GRANTED; IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT THIS LAWSUIT SHALL BE MAINTAINED AND SHALL PROCEED AS A CLASS ACTION PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 23(A) AND F.R.C.P. 23(B)(2), ETC. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT THE PARTIES SHALL SUBMIT A PROPOSED FORM OF NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF THE DAMAGE SUBCLASSES AS SPECIFIED IN F.R.C.P. 23(C)(2) NO LATER THAN 9/20/93; ETC. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 7/22/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) Modified on 08/16/1993 (Entered: 07/22/1993)

July 21, 1993

July 21, 1993

16

ORDER THAT THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THIS COURT'S ORDER DATED 7/20/93 IS ACCORDINGLY AMENDED TO PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS: "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT THE PARTIES SHALL SUBMIT A PROPOSED FORM OF NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF THE DAMAGE SUBCLASSES AS SPECIFIED IN F.R.C.P. 23(C) (2) NO LATER THAN 10/15/93. IN THE EVENT THAT THE PARTIES ARE UNABLE TO REACH SUCH AN AGREEMENT, EACH SIDE SHALL SUBMIT ITS OWN PROPOSED FORM OF NOTICE NO LATER THAN 10/29/93 . (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 8/27/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 08/27/1993)

Aug. 26, 1993

Aug. 26, 1993

17

ORDER THAT NOTICE OF THE CLASS ACTION CERTIFICATION SHALL BE MAILED BY FIRST CLASS MAIL TO ALL KNOWN MEMBERS OF THE CERTIFIED CLASSES BY PLFFS' COUNSEL ON OR BEFORE 1/17/94, ETC.; MEMBERS OF THE CLASSES MAY FILE A REQUEST TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THE CLASSES WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT ON OR BEFORE 3/15/94, ETC. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 12/2/93 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 12/02/1993)

Dec. 1, 1993

Dec. 1, 1993

18

MOTION BY PLAINTIFF LISA WILSON, PLAINTIFF LAWRENCE BOWDEN, PLAINTIFF KIMWAN TOPPIN, PLAINTIFF SHIRLEAN LOPER TO CONFORM DATES IN CLASS NOTICE , CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (fe) (Entered: 01/05/1994)

Jan. 5, 1994

Jan. 5, 1994

19

ORDER THAT HAVING CONSIDERED THE MOTION TO CONFORM DATES IN CLASS NOTICE AND FINDING IT REASONABLE IN ALL RESPECTS, THE COURT NOW DIRECTS PLFFS' COUNSEL TO CORRECT THE DATE IN THE CLASS NOTICE FOR MAKING AN ELECTION TO BE EXCLUDED. THE DATE FOR THAT ELECTION SHALL BE 3/15/94. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 1/14/94 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 01/14/1994)

Jan. 13, 1994

Jan. 13, 1994

20

ORDER THAT HAVING CONSIDERED UNOPPOSED MOTION TO AMEND CLASS NOTICE AND FINDING IT REASONABLE IN ALL RESPECTS, THE COURT NOW HEREBY ORDERS THAT CLASS NOTICE SHALL BE PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 24, 31 AND FEBRUARY 7, 1994 IN THE PHILA. DAILY NEWS RATHER THAN IN THE PHILA. INQUIRER. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 3/9/94 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 03/09/1994)

March 8, 1994

March 8, 1994

21

MOTION BY PLAINTIFF LISA WILSON, PLAINTIFF LAWRENCE BOWDEN, PLAINTIFF KIMWAN TOPPIN, PLAINTIFF SHIRLEAN LOPER TO REPLACE EXHIBIT E OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT , CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (fe) (Entered: 10/14/1994)

Oct. 14, 1994

Oct. 14, 1994

22

ORDER THAT DEFTS COMPLY WITH THE NOTICE PROVISION OF PARAGRAPH 6(C) OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BY UTILIZING THE LIST OF CLASS MEMBERS FILED WITH THE COURT ON 10/14/94, INSTEAD OF THE LIST COMPILED AT EXHIBIT E WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY FILED WITH THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ON 10/5/94. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 10/26/94 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 10/26/1994)

Oct. 25, 1994

Oct. 25, 1994

23

ORDER THAT THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ATTACHED HERETO IS HEREBY PRELIMINARILY APPROVED; DEFTS HAVE AGREED TO COMPENSATE THE PLFF CLASS IN THE AMOUNT OF $150,000, ETC. A HEARING AT WHICH MEMBERS OF THE CLASS SHALL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT TO THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT AND TO PRESENT ANY CLAIMS AS TO THEIR ENTITLEMENT TO COMPENSATION WILL BE CONDUCTED ON THE 1/13/95, AT 2:30 P.M. , ETC. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 11/14/94 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 11/14/1994)

Nov. 10, 1994

Nov. 10, 1994

24

Certificate of service by DEFENDANT TINICUM TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANT TINICUM POLICE DEPT, DEFENDANT ROBERT T. LYTHGOE JR., DEFENDANT THOMAS CANZANESE, DEFENDANT WALTER FIFE re: served upon all persons listed below a copy of an order in the above-captioned matter. (fe) (Entered: 12/15/1994)

Dec. 14, 1994

Dec. 14, 1994

25

ORDER THAT THE DEADLINE FOR FILING ALL NOTICES, OBJECTIONS OR OTHER PAPERS CONCERNING THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS 12/31/94. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 12/19/94 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 12/19/1994)

Dec. 16, 1994

Dec. 16, 1994

26

Joint memorandum in support of proposed settlement, certificate of service. (fe) (Entered: 01/04/1995)

Jan. 3, 1995

Jan. 3, 1995

27

Fairness hearing Exhibits SP #1, 2, 3, and 4. (fe) (Entered: 01/19/1995)

Jan. 19, 1995

Jan. 19, 1995

28

FINAL ORDER AND CONSENT DECREE THAT IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, THE CONSENT DECREE INCLUDED AS AN EXHIBIT TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, IS APPROVED AS FAIR TO THE CLASS AS A WHOLE PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 23(E), ETC.; ADDITIONALLY, IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, THE SUM OF $150,000 IN COMPENSATION SECURED BY THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS ALSO APPROVED AS WITHIN THE RANGE OF REASONABLENESS PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 23(E), ETC.; DEFTS SHALL NO LATER THAN 2/17/95 DELIVER TO MR. PRESSER THEIR CHECK IN THE AMOUNT OF $150,000 PAYABLE TO "STEFAN PRESSER, ESQ., DAVID RUDOVSKY, ESQ. AND SETH KREIMER, ESQ. AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CLASS" AND IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION SHALL BE MADE TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS LISTED IN PARAGRAPHS 7(A) AND 7(B) OF THIS ORDER. THE $70,000 PROPOSED AS COUNSEL FEES AND COSTS IN THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS ALSO FOUND TO BE FAIR AND REASONABLE AND THEREFORE IS APPROVED PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 23(E), ETC. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 1/19/95 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 01/19/1995)

Jan. 19, 1995

Jan. 19, 1995

29

ORDER THAT THE CLERK OF THE COURT SHALL SERVE COPIES OF THIS COURT'S FINAL ORDER DATED 1/19/95 UPON THE UNSUCCESSFUL CLAIMANTS LISTED IN PARAGRAPH 8 OF SAID FINAL ORDER WHOSE ADDRESSES ARE LISTED ON FAIRNESS HEARING EXHIBIT SP #4 AND TO MR. GEORGE MCNEALL AND HENRY WRIGHT. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 1/19/95 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 01/19/1995)

Jan. 19, 1995

Jan. 19, 1995

Case closed (kv) (Entered: 01/30/1995)

Jan. 19, 1995

Jan. 19, 1995

30

MOTION BY PLAINTIFF LISA WILSON, PLAINTIFF LAWRENCE BOWDEN, PLAINTIFF KIMWAN TOPPIN, PLAINTIFF SHIRLEAN LOPER TO AMEND FINAL ORDER , CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (cd) (Entered: 01/25/1995)

Jan. 24, 1995

Jan. 24, 1995

31

ORDER THAT PARAGRAPH 8(P) OF THE FINAL ORDER IN THIS ACTION IS VACATED , AND FURTHER, ANDRE WELLS' NAME IS ADDED TO PARAGRAPH 7(B) OF THE FINAL ORDER SO THAT HE SHALL RECEIVE AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE $130,000 DISTRIBUTION IN THIS ACTION, ETC. (SIGNED BY JUDGE LOWELL A. REED JR.) 1/27/95 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED. (fe) (Entered: 01/27/1995)

Jan. 27, 1995

Jan. 27, 1995

32

Certification of Distribution by Stefan Presser, Esq. re: certifies that between 1/31/95 and 2/1/95, the $150,000 compensation secured by the proposed settlement agreement was distributed in compliance with paragraph 7 of the final order as amended by this court's 1/26/95 order, certificate of service. (fe) (Entered: 02/02/1995)

Feb. 1, 1995

Feb. 1, 1995

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 17, 1992

Closing Date: 1996

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All individuals who travel or will travel I-95 through Tinicum Township; all African-American and Hispanic individuals who travel or will travel I-95 through Tinicum Township; and all individuals subjected to an illegal traffic stop on I-95 since 1990.

Attorney Organizations:

Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Tinicum Township Police Department, City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1994 - 1996

Issues

General:

Racial profiling

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination