Case: Reed v. City of Ferguson

14-04195 | Missouri state trial court

Filed Date: Dec. 8, 2014

Closed Date: May 6, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 8, 2014, a class of citizens of Missouri who had been assessed warrant fees by the City of Ferguson filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in the State of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the defendant, the City of Ferguson, under state law. The plaintiffs, represented by ArchCity Defenders, sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, disgorgement, and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs alleged that the City of Ferguson violat…

On December 8, 2014, a class of citizens of Missouri who had been assessed warrant fees by the City of Ferguson filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in the State of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the defendant, the City of Ferguson, under state law. The plaintiffs, represented by ArchCity Defenders, sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, disgorgement, and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs alleged that the City of Ferguson violated state law by assessing fees to recall warrants, and that the fees were implemented deceptively and recklessly, with the sole intention of generating profit.

The plaintiffs sought to certify a class composed of citizens who have paid warrant fees to the City, as well as citizens who currently have pending fees with the City. The complaint alleged that the City's actions broke state law. The plaintiffs further contended that the City unjustly enriched itself by profiting from the illegal fees. The plaintiffs argued that the City knew or had reason to know the fees were illegal. Thus, the fees were assessed recklessly and negligently on the citizenry. The complaint noted that the fees created financial and personal consternation for the plaintiffs. The fees, the plaintiffs argued, created distrust in the community by leading to increased financial stress and incarceration for its members.

The complaint was amended on March 23, 2015. The court denied a motion to dismiss that was filed by the defendants, and also denied a motion to reconsider that decision. The case was reassigned to Judge Joseph S. Dueker on June 15, 2016. On March 22, 2018, the court granted plaintiff's motion for class certification. It was composed of citizens who had been assessed warrant fees by the city and paid them, and citizens who currently have pending fees with the city. Discovery continued through 2019.

A jury trial had been scheduled, but on March 24, 2020, the court preliminarily approved a settlement agreement. Subsequently, on May 6, 2020, the court ordered its final approval of the settlement, which included approximately $5.9 million in benefits to the plaintiff class. Warrant fees and failure to appear fees that were assessed but not paid were entirely forgiven. And the class of people who paid the fees could receive 80 percent of what they paid back in a refund. Attorneys' fees for the plaintiffs' counsel totaled $400,000.

In light of the final settlement agreement, we do not believe that this case is still ongoing.

Summary Authors

Salvatore Mancina (2/5/2017)

Raul Noguera-McElroy (4/5/2019)

Lily Sawyer-Kaplan (9/9/2021)

People


Judge(s)

Dolan, Colleen (Missouri)

Dueker, Joseph S. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ammann, John J. (Missouri)

Campbell, John E. (Missouri)

Carroll, Nathaniel R. (Missouri)

Hanlon, Stephen F (District of Columbia)

Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)

McAnnar, John D. (Missouri)

Roediger, Brendan D. (Missouri)

Vieth, Erich (Missouri)

Judge(s)

Dolan, Colleen (Missouri)

Dueker, Joseph S. (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ammann, John J. (Missouri)

Campbell, John E. (Missouri)

Carroll, Nathaniel R. (Missouri)

Hanlon, Stephen F (District of Columbia)

Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)

McAnnar, John D. (Missouri)

Roediger, Brendan D. (Missouri)

Vieth, Erich (Missouri)

Voss, Michael-John (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dunne, Peter J. (Missouri)

Graham, Maurice B. (Missouri)

Hellmich, William A. (Missouri)

Norwood, Ronald A. (Missouri)

Plunkert, Robert T. (Missouri)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

14-04195

Docket

May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020

Docket

14-04195

Complaint

Dec. 8, 2014

Dec. 8, 2014

Complaint

14-04195

First Amended Class Action Petition

Carter v. City of Ferguson

March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

Complaint

14-04195

Order and Judgment of Final Approval of Class Action Settlement

Carter v. City of Ferguson

May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 28, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 8, 2014

Closing Date: May 6, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons who were assessed warrant recall fees, or currently have pending warrant recall fees, by the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ArchCity Defenders

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

City of Ferguson, Missouri (Ferguson , St. Louis), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 5,900,000

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Poverty/homelessness