Filed Date: Oct. 2, 2000
Closed Date: 2007
Clearinghouse coding complete
The facts of this case are provided by a memorandum filed by the plaintiffs following their original complaint because the complaint filed on October 2, 2000 is unavailable.
On October 2, 2000, five plaintiffs filed a class action complaint in the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs alleged that the Mayor of Seattle, the Police Chief of Seattle and the City of Seattle violated their first amendment rights to free speech and assembly by instituting mass arrests in response to protests of the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference held in Seattle from November 30, 1999 to December 3, 1999. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys from Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and several private attorneys. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief that a no protest zone and mass arrests violated their first amendment rights, as well as monetary damages.
The plaintiffs represented over 600 people who arrived in Seattle to protest the WTO in 1999. On the first day of the conference, protestors marched throughout downtown Seattle, disrupting the conference and preventing attendees from making the conference. Allegations emerged that protestors turned violent and posed a threat to the safety of the conference attendees. In response to the protests, the mayor of Seattle declared a state of civil emergency and issued Order Number 3, which created a No Protest Zone through 24 blocks of the downtown area. However, protestors would be allowed to continue assembling outside of the zone. On December 1 and 2 of 1999, mass arrests took place throughout the city. Most of the protestors were later released after the end of the WTO conference without facing any charges in court.
On March 26, 2001, the plaintiffs proposed an amended complaint adding more named plaintiffs. Judge Barbara J. Rothstein granted the motion a few weeks later. On September 4, 2001, Judge Rothstein referred the motion for order to grant class certification to Magistrate Judge John L. Weinberg.
On October 29, 2001, Judge Rothstein ruled on summary judgment motions from both the defendant and the plaintiffs. The court ruled in favor of the defendants, granting summary judgment in part, denying in party, and denying the plaintiffs' summary judgment motion. The court found that the emergency provisions instituted by the city were constitutional on their face, and that the mayor was within his authority to declare a state of civil emergency, establish a curfew, and create a restricted area. The court also ruled that Order Number 3 was constitutional on its face. The remaining issues of fact after the ruling were whether probable cause existed to arrest the individuals who violated the order, if probable cause existed to arrest the individuals who blocked traffic, and whether city policy led to a failure to train and supervise officers in insuring the rights of the plaintiffs.
On November 13, 2001, the plaintiffs moved for clarification on two issues remaining from the October 29 summary judgment order. First the plaintiffs wanted clarification on whether the order applied to facial and as applied claims. Second, the plaintiffs asked whether the order applied to individuals outside of the No Protest Zone established by Order Number 3. On December 7, the court stated that the order applied to as applied claims as well as facial claims but it did not cover individuals outside of the No Protest Zone.
On January 8, 2002, in response to the clarification order, Magistrate Judge Weinberg recommended that the trial court deny certification of the class because all common questions for the class had been resolved by the court in the clarification order and summary judgment order. The district court adopted the magistrate court’s recommendation and denied certification of the class. The plaintiffs moved for the right to appeal the denial of class certification, which the district court granted. However, the Ninth Circuit denied leave because the plaintiffs did not have standing.
In response to the clarification order and summary judgment order, the defense moved on August 1, 2002 to dismiss the mayor and the police chief as defendants because no claims remained that held the two individuals liable. The court granted the order later that month. The only defendant throughout the rest of the action was the City of Seattle.
On September 12, 2002, the plaintiffs sought class certification of a new class: individuals who had been arrested outside of the No Protest Zone in an area around First Avenue and Broad Street. Five of the initial plaintiffs also sought final judgment against them because they no longer fit within the class under the new complaint. A separate case, Menotti v. City of Seattle, had gone up on appeal relating to arrests made within the No Protest Zone, and the five plaintiffs wanted to join in that action.
On November 5, 2002, the court granted class certification for the First Avenue and Broad Street plaintiffs, stating that the class satisfied the requirements for classwide declaratory relief and the superiority and predominance requirements for damages. While the defense raised the issue of timeliness, the court determined that the case was timely because a previous order had vacated all deadlines for bringing a motion of class certification for this case. The court also granted final judgment for the plaintiffs who would not qualify in the First Avenue and Broad Street class. The non-First Avenue plaintiffs then joined the Menotti appeal.
On August 19, 2003, the First Avenue plaintiffs’ case was reassigned to Judge Marsha J. Pechman.
On October 9, 2003, the defendant and the First Avenue plaintiffs filed for summary judgment. On December 29, 2003, the court granted both motions each in part. The main issue addressed by the court in its order was whether a municipality could be held liable without relying on respondeat superior. While the court found that the municipality could not be liable for the mayor’s order or through the actions of the police captain, there remained a question of material fact as to whether the police captain’s acts were ratified by those with policymaking authority, thus making the municipality liable for the arrests. The court granted the defendant’s motion with respect to the direct use of and delegation of final policymaking authority, but denied ratification of certain actions by persons with final policymaking authority. The court granted the plaintiffs’ claim that there was no probable cause of the arrests, but denied the claim with respect to the liability of the plaintiffs.
As the parties prepared for trial in early 2004, they also began engaging in settlement talks. The proposed terms of the settlement agreement included payment of $250,000 by the City of Seattle to be distributed to members of the class after deducting attorneys' fees and the ability of the plaintiffs to expunge their records. On April 9, 2004, the court approved both the expungement and preliminary settlement agreement. On June 17, 2004 the plaintiffs filed a motion for approval of the final class settlement, which added an additional term granting $2000 to the name plaintiffs. The $250,000 promised to the class would be distributed 60 days after final approval by the court, and one third of the $250,000 would be set aside for attorneys' fees and costs. On July 15, 2004 the court approved the final settlement. On October 28, 2004, Judge Pechman dismissed the case with prejudice.
On June 2, 2005, the Menotti appeal was reversed and remanded for the four plaintiffs who had joined the appeal on both the issue of class certification and the “as-applied” challenge to the Order No. 3. Menotti v. City of Seattle, 409 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2005).
On January 19, 2006, the four plaintiffs filed a new class certification document for individuals arrested near Westlake Park. They later amended their complaint against the City of Seattle, which requested a declaration that the violations of their state and federal were unconstitutional, damages for the violations, and attorney’s fees. On June 5, 2006, Judge Pechman granted the class certification. The court found the class satisfied the predominance and superiority requirements necessary for establishing a class. In the order, Judge Pechman also bifurcated the trial so that if there was a finding for the plaintiffs, individual damages would be determined separately.
As trial preparations continued, the defendant filed for summary judgment, while the plaintiffs filed for partial summary judgment asking for a ruling that individualized probable cause did not exist for the arrests in Westlake Park. The court on December 13, 2006 denied the defendant’s motion but granted the plaintiff’s motion.
The trial took place between January 8 and January 24, 2007. The Westlake Park plaintiffs asserted two main claims. First, they were unlawfully arrested under the Fourth Amendment. Second, the plaintiffs argued they were arrested because of their viewpoint, which would violate their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. The jury returned with a special verdict on January 29, finding for the plaintiffs on their Fourth Amendment claim, but finding for the defendants on the plaintiffs’ First Amendment Claim.
Following the trial, the parties engaged in settlement conferences. Ultimately the settlement agreement, which was proposed in April 2007 and finalized in October 2007. The plaintiffs received a $1,000,000 lump sum cash payment, where $450,000 would cover the attorneys' fees while the remaining amount would go to the class. The four named plaintiffs would also receive an additional $2,500. The plaintiffs would also have their records expunged. The City would incorporate the court rulings regarding probable cause into police officer trainings. The case ended with the court’s approval of the final class settlement between the Westlake Park plaintiffs and the City of Seattle on October 26, 2007.
Amanda Stephens (3/13/2019)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4732944/parties/hankin-v-seattle-city-of/
Bailey, Leslie A. (California)
Berman, Steve W. (Washington)
Bryant, Arthur (California)
Bremner, Anne Melani (Washington)
Buck, Theron A (Washington)
Pechman, Marsha J. (Washington)
Rothstein, Barbara Jacobs (Washington)
Weinberg, John L. (Washington)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4732944/hankin-v-seattle-city-of/
Last updated Jan. 13, 2024, 3:01 a.m.
State / Territory: Washington
Filing Date: Oct. 2, 2000
Closing Date: 2007
Case Ongoing: No
Protestors at the WTO Conference in Seattle, which took place in December 1999, including two different classes of individuals who had been arrested during the State of Civil Emergency caused by the protests
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Amount Defendant Pays: 1,300,000
Type of Facility: