Case: Bolger v. District of Columbia

1:03-cv-00906 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: April 21, 2003

Closed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 21, 2003, plaintiffs, a group of protestors detained and interrogated by the D.C. Metropolitan Police, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the D.C. Police and the FBI in the United States Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by several public interest organizations, asked the court for compensatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief, claiming violations of their First and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as alleging a civil conspiracy to violate …

On April 21, 2003, plaintiffs, a group of protestors detained and interrogated by the D.C. Metropolitan Police, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the D.C. Police and the FBI in the United States Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by several public interest organizations, asked the court for compensatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief, claiming violations of their First and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as alleging a civil conspiracy to violate their rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that they were targeted for wearing black clothing (which the D.C. Police believed was linked with the belief in 'Anarchy'), and detained and arrested without probable cause.

The protest that was the subject of the suit was against the war in Afghanistan and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; it took place in D.C. on April 20, 2002. The plaintiffs had returned to a parking garage in which they had parked and had access to the internet. While they were congregated and eating, D.C. Metro Police approached them with drawn guns. The protestors were dressed in black. They were accosted and insulted by the police, then handcuffed and taken into custody. Their vehicle and personal belongings were searched without consent.

Several of the plaintiffs were interrogated in video interviews, recordings of which were later disseminated within the FBI. The plaintiffs were interrogated about the nature of the political activities and associations, their travel arrangements and housing accommodations in D.C. They were released, but later charged with Unlawful Entry into the parking garage (in which the plaintiffs had parked their vehicle). The charges were dismissed at the D.C. Superior Court for being baseless.

The plaintiffs claimed in their lawsuit, filed a year later, that they were arrested in violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and association, and that they were arrested as part of an illegal intelligence-gathering operation designed to monitor protected First-Amendment activities of select political organizations, of which the plaintiffs were presumed to be a part.

On September 11, 2007, the Court (Judge John Bates) partially granted the FBI's motion for summary judgment. The Court found that the plaintiffs were not entitled to declaratory or injunctive relief in regards to the dissemination of arrest records and interrogation video because they could not demonstrate that the harm was continuing. The compensatory action was maintained against the FBI and the entire action against the MPD was allowed to continue.

On March 31, 2009, the Court ruled on MPD's motion for summary judgment. The Court found that most of the individual officer defendants were entitled to qualified immunity, but that the District of Columbia's policy of targeting black-clad protestors for enforcement created a genuine issue of material fact as to a valid constitutional claim.

On November 13, 2009, the plaintiffs and defendants made a joint motion to dismiss the case with prejudice following a Settlement Agreement. The Agreement awarded the plaintiffs $450,000 to be divided amongst them. This amount was inclusive of attorney's fees.

The case was closed on November 16, 2009.

Summary Authors

Blase Kearney (6/25/2012)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4727691/parties/bolger-v-district-of-columbia/


Judge(s)

Bates, John D. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Messineo, Carl L (District of Columbia)

Miller, Radhika M.S. (District of Columbia)

Verheyden-Hilliard, Mara E (District of Columbia)

Wolfe, Zachary J. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bruckheim, Michael P. (Maryland)

Copeland, Chad Wayne (District of Columbia)

DeBerardinis, Robert A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia)

Koger, Thomas Louis (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Bates, John D. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Messineo, Carl L (District of Columbia)

Miller, Radhika M.S. (District of Columbia)

Verheyden-Hilliard, Mara E (District of Columbia)

Wolfe, Zachary J. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bruckheim, Michael P. (Maryland)

Copeland, Chad Wayne (District of Columbia)

DeBerardinis, Robert A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia)

Koger, Thomas Louis (District of Columbia)

Lee, Julie Steptoe (District of Columbia)

Mew, Caroline M. (District of Columbia)

Nebeker, William Mark (District of Columbia)

Parris, Lori S. (District of Columbia)

Schifferle, Carl James (District of Columbia)

Vricos, James H. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:03-cv-00906

Docket [PACER]

Nov. 16, 2009

Nov. 16, 2009

Docket
87

1:03-cv-00906

Second Amended Complaint

Aug. 7, 2006

Aug. 7, 2006

Complaint
144

1:03-cv-00906

Memorandum Opinion

510 F.Supp.2d 86

Sept. 11, 2007

Sept. 11, 2007

Order/Opinion
176

1:03-cv-00906

Memorandum Opinion

608 F.Supp.2d 10

March 31, 2009

March 31, 2009

Order/Opinion

1:03-cv-00906

PCJF wins settlement in illegal arrest case in D.C.

Nov. 10, 2009

Nov. 10, 2009

Press Release
208

1:03-cv-00906

Joint Motion for Order Dismissing Case With Prejudice

Nov. 13, 2009

Nov. 13, 2009

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4727691/bolger-v-district-of-columbia/

Last updated Aug. 7, 2022, 3:09 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
144

MEMORANDUM OPINION accompanying 143 Order granting 103 defendant Mueller's motion for summary judgment; and denying 110 plaintiffs' counter-motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f). Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 9/11/2007. (lcjdb1)

Sept. 11, 2007

Sept. 11, 2007

RECAP
150

MEMORANDUM OPINION accompanying order on 113 plaintiffs' motion for sanctions. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 3/17/2008. (lcjdb2)

March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008

RECAP
176

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 3/31/2009. (lcjdb2)

March 31, 2009

March 31, 2009

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Policing

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 21, 2003

Closing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Protestors at an anti-war protest in Washington, D.C. who were wearing all-black

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

District of Columbia (Washington DC, District of Columbia), Federal

United States, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate Federal Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 450000

Issues

General:

Failure to train

False arrest

Over/Unlawful Detention

Pattern or Practice

Records Disclosure