Case: Lancaster v. SEPTA

2:01-cv-02162 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: May 2, 2001

Closed Date: 2003

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The plaintiff in this case is a professional musician playing a musical instrument in public. Police officers of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) arrested the plaintiff twice while he was performing on the transit property. The first arrest took place on February 6, 2001. The SEPTA police officers arrested and detained the plaintiff for obstructing a public way. The plaintiff's criminal charge was later dismissed in court. On May 2, 2001, the plaintiff filed a civil laws…

The plaintiff in this case is a professional musician playing a musical instrument in public. Police officers of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) arrested the plaintiff twice while he was performing on the transit property.

The first arrest took place on February 6, 2001. The SEPTA police officers arrested and detained the plaintiff for obstructing a public way. The plaintiff's criminal charge was later dismissed in court. On May 2, 2001, the plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against SEPTA. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought monetary damages. He alleged false arrest and malicious prosecution by the SEPTA police officers, and that his rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution were violated.

On February 13, 2002, SEPTA filed an offer of judgment and the plaintiff accepted, and subsequently the District Court (Judge Berle M. Schiller) entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. This ended the first case.

On July 26, 2002, the SEPTA police officer arrested and detained the plaintiff for producing noise when he was playing his instrument on a pedestrian concourse. The criminal charge was later too dismissed. On October 21, 2002, the plaintiff filed a second lawsuit in the same district court against SEPTA for false arrest. The parties reached a settlement agreement, and the Court (Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter) approved the settlement on April 10, 2003. This ended the second case.

According to an Associated Press article, the settlements together included damages of $33,000 ($15,000 and $18,000) and a policy change. The AP explains "The settlement says SEPTA police may not arrest any street musician unless there is probable cause to show the musician is obstructing a highway, being disorderly or violating a noise ordinance or other criminal statute." It quotes the settlement as including a provision that "Under no circumstances shall a street musician be arrested or told to leave a location merely because that individual is playing a musical instrument or singing." In addition, SEPTA agreed that it would train police officers about the new policy.

Summary Authors

Emma Bao (7/8/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Hart, Jacob P. (Pennsylvania)

Pratter, Gene E.K. (Pennsylvania)

Schiller, Berle M. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania)

Messing, Paul (Pennsylvania)

Pollins, Scott M. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bowman, Michael Anthony (Pennsylvania)

Cooper, Jordana (New Jersey)

Richter, Jerome J (Pennsylvania)

Waller, Robert M. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Hart, Jacob P. (Pennsylvania)

Pratter, Gene E.K. (Pennsylvania)

Schiller, Berle M. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania)

Messing, Paul (Pennsylvania)

Pollins, Scott M. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bowman, Michael Anthony (Pennsylvania)

Cooper, Jordana (New Jersey)

Richter, Jerome J (Pennsylvania)

Waller, Robert M. (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

March 11, 2002 Docket

Docket [PACER]

April 10, 2003 Docket
1

Complaint

Oct. 21, 2002 Complaint

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint. filing fee $ 150 receipt # 760611 (tj) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 2, 2001

Summons(es) 3 issued. Mailed to counsel on 5/3/01. (tj) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 2, 2001

Demand for jury trial by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER. (tj) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 2, 2001

Standard Case Management Track. (tj) (Entered: 05/03/2001)

May 2, 2001
2

Affidavit of: MICHAEL H. DOYLE re: served summons and complaint upon Alfred Gavs on behalf of DEFENDANT SEPTA. Served by: Personal Service on 5/7/01. (mbh) (Entered: 05/08/2001)

May 8, 2001
3

Affidavit of: MICHAEL H. DOYLE re: served summons and complaint upon Alfred Gavs on behalf of DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER. Served by: Personal Service on 5/7/01. (mbh) (Entered: 05/08/2001)

May 8, 2001
4

Affidavit of: MICHAEL H. DOYLE re: served summons and complaint upon Alfred Gavs on behalf of DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY. Served by: Personal Service on 5/7/01. (mbh) (Entered: 05/08/2001)

May 8, 2001
5

Stipulation extending time to answer the complaint. Answer due on 6/18/01 for NATE BENTLEY, for WARREN BANNISTER, for SEPTA, with Clerk's approval. (mbh) (Entered: 05/25/2001)

May 24, 2001
6

Partial Answer to Complaint by DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY (Attorney JORDANA COOPER) with Affirmative Defenses, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 06/18/2001)

June 18, 2001

ISSUE JOINED. (mbh) (Entered: 06/18/2001)

June 18, 2001
7

PARTIAL MOTION by DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY TO DISMISS COMPLAINT , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (mbh) (Entered: 06/18/2001)

June 18, 2001
8

Answer by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER to MOTION TO DISMISS SUPPLEMENTAL STATE LAW CLAIMS AND TO STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES, Memorandum, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 06/18/2001)

June 18, 2001
10

ORDER THAT THE ORDER OF THIS COURT DATED 7/5/01 IS VACATED; THE MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANT SEPTA AS TO SUPPLEMENTAL STATE LAW CLAIMS AND ALL PUNITIVE DAMAGES IS GRANTED; THE MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANTS BANNISTER AND BENTLEY IN THE OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS TO SUPPLEMENTAL STATE LAW CLAIMS IS GRANTED; THE MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANTS BANNISTER AND BENTLEY IN THE INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES AS TO SUPPLEMENT STATE LAW CLAIMS IS DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE; THE MOTION TO STRIKE CLAIMS FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND SUPPLEMENT STATE LAW CLAIMS AGAINST BANNISTER AND BENTLY IS DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER ) 07/06/01 ENTERED AND COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 07/05/01. (mbh) (Entered: 07/06/2001)

July 5, 2001
11

Answer to Count II of Complaint by DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 08/06/2001)

Aug. 6, 2001
12

MOTION by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER TO COMPEL DISCOVERY AGAINST DEFENDANTS , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (mbh) Modified on 08/15/2001 (Entered: 08/15/2001)

Aug. 15, 2001
13

CROSS MOTION by DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (mbh) (Entered: 09/04/2001)

Sept. 4, 2001
14

Response by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER to DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER, Memorandum, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 09/06/2001)

Sept. 6, 2001
15

Supplemental Memorandum by DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY in Further Support of Defendants' MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER BASED ON THE TESTIMONY OF PLAINTIFF AT HIS DEPOSITION, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 11/01/2001)

Oct. 31, 2001
16

ORDER THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY IS GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. DEFENDANTS' CROSS−MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER IS DENIED ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER ) 11/7/01 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND FAXED BY 11/6/01. (mbh) (Entered: 11/07/2001)

Nov. 6, 2001
17

PRETRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER THAT ANY MOTIONS FOR LEAVE TO AMEND THE PLEADINGS OR JOIN OTHER PARTIES SHALL BE FILED BY 11/16/01; ALL DISCOVERY SHALL BE COMPLETED BY 4/26/02; ANY MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT SHALL BE FILED BY 4/26/02; A FINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD ON 5/28/02 AT 8:30; JURY TRIAL IS SET FOR 6/3/02 ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER 11/8/01 ENTERED AND COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 11/7/01. (mbh) (Entered: 11/08/2001)

Nov. 7, 2001
18

MOTION by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER FOR LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE.

Nov. 15, 2001
20

Amended Complaint by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER against JAMES REYNOLDS. (mbh) (Entered: 11/23/2001)

Nov. 21, 2001

1 Summons issued. Forwarded to: counsel on 11/23/01. (mbh) (Entered: 11/23/2001)

Nov. 21, 2001
21

Affidavit of: PAUL MESSING re: served summons and complaint upon Jordana Cooper, Esquire on behalf of DEFENDANT JAMES REYNOLDS. Served by: Personal Service on 12/4/01. (mbh) (Entered: 12/06/2001)

Dec. 6, 2001
22

ORDER THAT A SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 1/23/02 AT 10:00 ( SIGNED BY MAGISTRATE JUDGE JACOB P. HART ) 12/17/01 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 12/14/01. (mbh) (Entered: 12/17/2001)

Dec. 14, 2001
23

Answer by SEPTA, WARREN BANNISTER, NATE BENTLEY, JAMES REYNOLDS to Amended Complaint with Affirmative Defenses, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 12/24/2001)

Dec. 21, 2001
24

FINAL PRETRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER THAT A FINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD ON 5/28/02 AT 8:30; FINAL PRETRIAL MOTIONS ARE DUE BY 5/21/02; A JURY TRIAL IS SET FOR 6/3/02 ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER ) 1/18/02 ENTERED AND COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 1/17/02. (mbh) (Entered: 01/18/2002)

Jan. 17, 2002
25

Offer of Judgment of DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY, DEFENDANT JAMES REYNOLDS (mbh) (Entered: 02/14/2002)

Feb. 13, 2002
26

Acceptance of Offer of Judgment of PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER, Certificate of Service. (mbh) (Entered: 02/14/2002)

Feb. 13, 2002
27

ORDER THAT JUDGMENT IS ENTERED FOR WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER AGAINST SEPTA, WARREN BANNISTER, NATE BENTLEY, JAMES REYNOLDS for $12,000.00 TOGETHER WITH INTEREST AND COSTS. 2/14/02 ENTERED COPIES FAXED. ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER ) (mbh) (Entered: 02/14/2002)

Feb. 14, 2002
28

MOTION by DEFENDANT SEPTA, DEFENDANT WARREN BANNISTER, DEFENDANT NATE BENTLEY, DEFENDANT JAMES REYNOLDS TO AMEND JUDGMENT , MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (mbh) (Entered: 02/15/2002)

Feb. 15, 2002
29

AMENDED ORDER THAT JUDGMENT IS ENTERED IN FAVOR OF PLAINTIFF AND AGAINST DEFENDANTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $12,000.00 INCLUDING COSTS NOW ACCRUED AND ATTORNEY'S FEES 2/19/02 ENTERED AND COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 2/15/02. ( SIGNED BY JUDGE BERLE M. SCHILLER ) (mbh) (Entered: 02/19/2002)

Feb. 15, 2002

Case closed (kv) (Entered: 02/22/2002)

Feb. 15, 2002
30

Satisfaction of Judgment by PLAINTIFF WILLIAM BYARD LANCASTER (mbh) (Entered: 03/11/2002)

March 11, 2002

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 2, 2001

Closing Date: 2003

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A street musician performing in the subway system arrested twice by the transit authority for obstructing public ways and producing noise.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (Philadelphia), State

Defendant Type(s):

Transportation

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Amount Defendant Pays: $33,000

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Failure to discipline

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

False arrest

Pattern or Practice

Type of Facility:

Government-run