Case: Letten v. Hall

2:10-cv-12182 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: June 2, 2010

Closed Date: 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 2, 2010, plaintiff, an animal rights activist, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Detroit in the United States Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division. The plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory damages for violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that a misdemeanor citation for leafleting o…

On June 2, 2010, plaintiff, an animal rights activist, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Detroit in the United States Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division. The plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory damages for violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that a misdemeanor citation for leafleting outside a concert was a violation of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

On July 31, 2009, Plaintiff, an animal rights activist, in conjunction with others, decided to distribute leaflets outside of the Warped Tour at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. After successfully distributing literature for two hours, plaintiff was approached by a Detroit Police Officer, who informed him that he required a permit to distribute the leaflets. The plaintiff asked for the city ordinance that made it a crime to distribute without a license, but the officer would not provide one. The officer detained the plaintiff and issued the plaintiff a misdemeanor citation for distribution leaflets without a license.

Plaintiff argued that distributing noncommercial leaflets is not a crime, and furthermore constitutes protected speech under the First Amendment. He was charged with unlawfully distributing commercial leaflets and operation of a business on a public sidewalk. Plaintiff was required to pay a $500 bond.

On November 19, 2009, the charges were dismissed shortly after being filed, with prejudice. Plaintiff brought this action for compensatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief as a result of that experience.

On August 11, 2011, the Court (Judge Avern Cohn) entered an order of dismissal, noting that the parties had settled the case.

On December 6, 2011, plaintiff filed a Motion to Enforce the Settlement Agreement, Impose Sanctions, and Award Attorney's fees. The plaintiff alleged that after the case had settled in August, and the Order of Dismissal had been entered, the Defendant city refused to sign the Settlement Agreement and caused extraordinary delay.

On December 19, 2011, the City signed the Settlement Agreement, agreeing to compensate plaintiff (another similar case had been consolidated with the original plaintiff's) for injury, and pay attorney's fees in the amount of $20,000. The City also agreed to issue training directives on First Amendment rights, Retaliation, and Loitering, to be read to every shift every day for a week, and once a week for six months thereafter. It also agreed to alter its policy of allowing complaints regarding police conduct to be filed even when charges are pending against the complainant. Lastly, the City agreed to make available literature regarding the complaint process available on its website, in its precincts, and accompanying the complaint forms.

On March 14, 2012, the Court entered a stipulated order of voluntary dismissal with prejudice, closing the case. We have no further information about the City's compliance with the Settlement Agreement.

Summary Authors

Blase Kearney (5/30/2012)

Related Cases

Anderson v. Peoples, Eastern District of Michigan (2010)

People


Judge(s)

Cohn, Avern Levin (Michigan)

Morgan, Virginia M. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan)

Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)

Rossman, Jessie J. (Michigan)

Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Mills, Jane K. (Michigan)

Schapka, John A. (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Cohn, Avern Levin (Michigan)

Morgan, Virginia M. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Korobkin, Daniel S. (Michigan)

Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)

Rossman, Jessie J. (Michigan)

Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Mills, Jane K. (Michigan)

Schapka, John A. (Michigan)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

March 14, 2012 Docket
1

Complaint

June 2, 2010 Complaint
23

Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement, Impose Sanctions, and Award Attorney's Fees

Dec. 6, 2011 Pleading / Motion / Brief
28-2

Settlement Agreement

Dec. 19, 2011 Settlement Agreement
31

Stipulated Order of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice

March 14, 2012 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 2, 2010

Closing Date: 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

An animal rights activist who distributed literature outside a concert

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU of Michigan

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Detroit (Detroit, Wayne), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 20000

Order Duration: 2011 - 2012

Issues

General:

False arrest

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures