Case: Watlington v. City of McCrory

2:17-cv-00002 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas

Filed Date: Jan. 5, 2017

Closed Date: 2017

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 5, 2017, two residents of the City of McCrory that were living in a trailer worth approximately $1500, filed a putative class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Plaintiffs, represented by Equal Justice Under Law and private counsel, sued the City of McCrory and its Police Chief under 42 U.S.C §1983. The plaintiffs alleged that the City’s Trailer-Banishment Ordinance—which forbid anyone from residing in a home or trailer worth le…

On January 5, 2017, two residents of the City of McCrory that were living in a trailer worth approximately $1500, filed a putative class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Plaintiffs, represented by Equal Justice Under Law and private counsel, sued the City of McCrory and its Police Chief under 42 U.S.C §1983. The plaintiffs alleged that the City’s Trailer-Banishment Ordinance—which forbid anyone from residing in a home or trailer worth less than $7500—violated both the Eight and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The plaintiffs sought both monetary and injunctive relief.

That same day, the plaintiffs also moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the City from enforcing the ordinance.

The next day, the Court (Judge D. P. Marshall Jr.) scheduled a hearing on the temporary restraining order, but in an answer filed that same week, the City promised not to enforce the ordinance against anyone and to immediately submit a replacement ordinance to the City Council. In response, the Court found the claim for preliminary injunctive relief moot, and it stayed the case to allow the City to alter the ordinance at issue.

On January 10th, the City Council passed a new ordinance, removing the challenged provision and establishing a new one that contained no reference to the value of one’s home or trailer. The defendants then moved to dismiss the case, but on May 23, the Court found that the plaintiffs still had a viable claim for compensatory damages based on any harm suffered during the months the ordinance was in effect. The defendants again moved to dismiss the claim but the Court found the plaintiffs had sufficiently stated a claim based on lost wages and transportation expenses totaling $800.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 16, 2017, seeking monetary relief and permanent injunctive relief to stop the City from passing a similar ordinance in the future. The defendants filed a counterclaim alleging that the plaintiffs' trailer was a public nuisance.

The parties reached a private settlement, and the Court granted a voluntary motion to dismiss both parties claims on November 30, 2017. According to Stephanie Storey, spokeswoman for Equal Justice, the settlement totaled just over $20,000. We have no further information on the litigation, and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Chris Pollack (1/27/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5576375/parties/watlington-v-mccrory-arkansas-city-of/


Judge(s)

Marshall, Denzil Price Jr. (Alaska)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Coulter, John D (Arkansas)

Ramaswamy, Rebecca R. (District of Columbia)

Sevcenko, Catherine B. (District of Columbia)

Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Jenna (Arkansas)

Mosley, Michael Allen (Arkansas)

Judge(s)

Marshall, Denzil Price Jr. (Alaska)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Coulter, John D (Arkansas)

Ramaswamy, Rebecca R. (District of Columbia)

Sevcenko, Catherine B. (District of Columbia)

Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Jenna (Arkansas)

Mosley, Michael Allen (Arkansas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Nov. 30, 2017 Docket
1

Complaint

Jan. 5, 2017 Complaint
22

Order

May 23, 2017 Order/Opinion
25

Amended Complaint

June 16, 2017 Complaint
31

Order

Aug. 3, 2017 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Watlington v. City of McCrory

Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law is arguing defendants banish from the city those who are too poor to live in homes worth $7 ,500 or more. <br /> <br />In September of 2016, the City of McCrory Arkansas passe… Jan. 5, 2017 https://equaljusticeunderlaw.org/case-buffin-v-san-francisco-1

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5576375/watlington-v-mccrory-arkansas-city-of/

Last updated May 20, 2022, 4:55 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
12

ORDER denying without prejudice as moot 2 Watlington and Hollaway's motion for a TRO. The case isn't moot; but the request for stop-gap injunctive relief is. The 1/12/2017 hearing is cancelled and the case is stayed until 2/24/2017. Joint status report due by 2/15/2017. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/11/2017. (jak)

Jan. 11, 2017 RECAP
1

Class Action COMPLAINT against All Defendants filed by Plaintiffs. ( Fee $ 400.00. Receipt Number LIT059956.) Summons issued and returned to counsel for service. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(alm) (Entered: 01/06/2017)

Jan. 5, 2017
15

ORDER: Defendant's 13 status report noted. The stay is lifted. The prompt amendment of the ordinance moots the request for injunctive relief; the 2 motion for a preliminary injunction is denied without prejudice. The Court extends the Defendants' time to answer or file a Rule 12(b) motion until 2/17/2017. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/13/2017. (jak)

Jan. 13, 2017 RECAP
2

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiffs. (alm) (Entered: 01/06/2017)

Jan. 5, 2017
22

ORDER denying without prejudice 16 Motion to Dismiss. Any amended complaint is due by 6/23/2017. If none is filed, the Court will, on its own, dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 5/23/2017. (kdr)

May 23, 2017 RECAP
3

BRIEF IN SUPPORT of their 2 Motion for TRO and Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiffs. (alm) (Entered: 01/06/2017)

Jan. 5, 2017
4

ORDER: The Court will hold a one−hour hearing on whether to issue a TRO at 10:00 AM on Thursday, 1/12/2017. Watlington and Hollaway must give notice to the City of McCrory, Chief Hatch, and the City Attorney for McCrory no later than noon on 1/9/2017. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/6/2017. (thd) (Entered: 01/06/2017)

Jan. 6, 2017
31

ORDER denying 26 Motion. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 8/3/2017. (jak)

Aug. 3, 2017 RECAP
5

NOTICE by All Plaintiffs re 4 Order Setting Hearing on Motion, (Coulter, John) (Entered: 01/09/2017)

Jan. 9, 2017
40

ORDER granting 39 Motion to dismiss. The Court congratulates the parties on their settlement. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 11/30/2017. (jak)

Nov. 30, 2017 RECAP
41

JUDGMENT: The amended complaint is dismissed with prejudice. Defendants' counterclaim is dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 11/30/2017. (jak)

Nov. 30, 2017 RECAP
6

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: Embedded motion for extension of time, No. 5 , granted. Plaintiffs have until 5:00 p.m. today to give notice to Chief Hatch. Confirmation of the notice due by noon tomorrow. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 1/9/2017. (slb) (Entered: 01/09/2017)

Jan. 9, 2017
7

NOTICE by All Plaintiffs re 5 Notice (Other), 6 Order, 4 Order Setting Hearing on Motion, to McCrory Mayor Fowler and Police Chief Paul Hatch (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Fax Confirmations)(Coulter, John) (Entered: 01/10/2017)

Jan. 10, 2017
8

RESPONSE to Motion re 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by All Defendants. (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 01/10/2017)

Jan. 10, 2017
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael Allen Mosley on behalf of All Defendants (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 01/10/2017)

Jan. 10, 2017
10

REPLY to Response to Motion re 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by All Plaintiffs. (Coulter, John) (Entered: 01/11/2017)

Jan. 11, 2017
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Jenna Adams on behalf of Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of (Adams, Jenna) (Additional attachment(s) added on 1/11/2017: # 1 Main Document − Correct (submitted 1/11/2017)) (jak). (Entered: 01/11/2017)

Jan. 11, 2017
13

STATUS REPORT by Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Adams, Jenna) (Entered: 01/11/2017)

Jan. 11, 2017
14

NOTICE OF DOCKET CORRECTION re 11 Notice of Appearance. CORRECTION: The original document was submitted in error (editable image file). The correct document was added to docket entry 11 based on the attached correspondence. (jak) (Entered: 01/11/2017)

Jan. 11, 2017
16

MOTION to Dismiss by Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 02/07/2017)

Feb. 7, 2017
18

RESPONSE in Opposition re 16 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Lindsey Hollaway, David Watlington. (Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 02/21/2017)

Feb. 21, 2017
19

MOTION for Leave to File Reply to Motion to Dismiss by Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 02/22/2017)

Feb. 22, 2017
20

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: Unopposed motion, No. 19 , granted. Reply due by 3 March 2017. In the future, any movant may reply within seven calendar days of the response. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 2/22/2017. (slb) (Entered: 02/22/2017)

Feb. 22, 2017
21

REPLY to Response to Motion re 16 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of. (Adams, Jenna) (Entered: 03/02/2017)

March 2, 2017
23

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by Paul Hatch, McCrory Arkansas, City of (Adams, Jenna) (Entered: 06/05/2017)

June 5, 2017
24

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: Motion, No. 23 , granted. The City and Hatch need not answer or respond further until fourteen calendar days after Watlington and Hollaway file any amended complaint. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 6/6/2017. (slb) (Entered: 06/06/2017)

June 6, 2017
25

AMENDED COMPLAINT against All Defendants, filed by Lindsey Hollaway, David Watlington(Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 06/16/2017)

June 16, 2017
26

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM by All Defendants (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 06/22/2017)

June 22, 2017
27

BRIEF IN SUPPORT re 25 Amended Complaint filed by All Defendants. (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 06/22/2017)

June 22, 2017
28

RESPONSE in Opposition re 26 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by All Plaintiffs. (Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 07/06/2017)

July 6, 2017
29

REPLY to Response to Motion re 26 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by All Defendants. (Mosley, Michael) (Entered: 07/07/2017)

July 7, 2017
30

INITIAL SCHEDULING ORDER: Rule 26(f) Report due by 8/11/2017. Bench Trial set for 11/5/2018 at 9:30 AM in Helena Courtroom #314 before Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Signed at the direction of the Court on 7/11/2017. (slb) (Entered: 07/11/2017)

July 11, 2017
32

ANSWER to 25 Amended Complaint with Jury Demand , COUNTERCLAIM against Lindsey Hollaway, David Watlington by McCrory Arkansas, City of, Paul Hatch.(Adams, Jenna) (Entered: 08/07/2017)

Aug. 7, 2017
33

REPORT of Rule 26(f) Planning Meeting by Lindsey Hollaway, David Watlington. (Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 08/11/2017)

Aug. 11, 2017
34

FINAL SCHEDULING ORDER: The Court adopts the parties' proposed deadlines, No. 33, and adjusts others accordingly, but cannot provide the requested trial date. Jury Trial set for 11/5/2018 at 9:30 AM in Helena Courtroom #314 before Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Discovery due by 4/2/2018. Motions due by 5/2/2018. Signed at the direction of the Court on 8/16/2017. (slb) (Entered: 08/16/2017)

Aug. 16, 2017
35

MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction by All Plaintiffs (Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 08/28/2017)

Aug. 28, 2017
36

MEMORANDUM of points and authorities re 32 Answer to Amended Complaint, Counterclaim, 35 Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Jurisdiction filed by All Plaintiffs.

Aug. 28, 2017
38

(This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no pdf document associated with this entry.) ORDER: Defendants' motion, No. 37 , granted. The counterclaim, No. 32 at pp. 17−18, is dismissed without prejudice. Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the counterclaim, No. 35, is denied without prejudice as moot. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 9/7/2017. (slb) (Entered: 09/07/2017)

Sept. 7, 2017
39

MOTION to Dismiss by All Plaintiffs (Telfeyan, Phil) (Entered: 11/30/2017)

Nov. 30, 2017

State / Territory: Arkansas

Case Type(s):

Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 5, 2017

Closing Date: 2017

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Two residents of the City of McCrory living in mobile home worth approximately $1500, suing on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Equal Justice Under Law

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

City of McCrory, City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 20,000

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief request withdrawn/mooted

Issues

General:

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Housing

Poverty/homelessness

Race:

Race, unspecified