Case: Price v. City of Seattle

2:03-cv-01365 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Filed Date: June 27, 2003

Closed Date: July 9, 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a case about a mandatory policy of impounding motor vehicles following the arrest of individuals for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Seattle, Washington. Initially filed in state court, this action was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington by the defendant, the City of Seattle, on June 27, 2003. The plaintiffs in this case were individuals who had their vehicles impounded by the defendant under the defendant’s mandatory impound…

This is a case about a mandatory policy of impounding motor vehicles following the arrest of individuals for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Seattle, Washington. Initially filed in state court, this action was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington by the defendant, the City of Seattle, on June 27, 2003. The plaintiffs in this case were individuals who had their vehicles impounded by the defendant under the defendant’s mandatory impoundment policy seeking to represent a class of similarly situated persons. In addition to naming the City of Seattle, the plaintiffs also named four towing services that contracted with the city. (Those claims against the companies were voluntarily dismissed on May 23, 2005.) The plaintiffs alleged that the mandatory impoundment policy violated due process guarantees in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; was considered an unlawful seizure under the Fourth Amendment; constituted several state common law theories of liability; and violated the state constitution. As such, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as monetary damages.

On May 4, 2004, Judge Marsha J. Pechman granted the plaintiffs’ motion to certify the class. On June 27, 2005, Judge Pechman granted the defendants’ motion to modify the class certification to include only those individuals who had their vehicle impounded solely for driving with a suspended or revoked license. Individuals who had their car impounded for driving with a suspended license and another impoundable offense were thus excluded from the class. 2005 WL 1528957. 

On the same day, Judge Pechman also granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to their conversion claim. Judge Pechman found that instituting a mandatory policy of impoundment was unlawful because it barred consideration of other reasonable alternatives to impoundment. 

On August 1, 2005, Judge Pechman granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment claims. The court ruled that due process under the Fourteenth Amendment required a post-impoundment hearing in which the owner may challenge the probable cause supporting the violation that led to the impoundment. Because it was undisputed that the city allowed for such hearings, Judge Pechman granted summary judgment as to the due process claims. 

On July 9, 2007, the court granted a settlement agreement between the parties. As part of the settlement, each named class representative was to receive $7,500 in settlement of their individual claims and as a service award. The court also approved an allocation of 15% of any funds remaining in the settlement fund as cy pres to be given to the Seattle Municipal Court “Driving While License Suspended” diversion program. The court also granted the plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees in the amount of $325,000. The remainder of the terms of the settlement agreement are unknown to the Clearinghouse, but one memorandum submitted by the plaintiffs in support of the agreement asserted that the settlement amount was more than two-thirds of “the best possible outcome.”

Following approval of the settlement agreement, the court dismissed the action on the merits with prejudice against the plaintiffs. This case is closed. 

Summary Authors

Claire Butler (12/30/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4678174/parties/price-v-seattle-city-of/


Judge(s)

Lasnik, Robert S. (Washington)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4678174/price-v-seattle-city-of/

Last updated March 6, 2024, 3:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
136

ORDER denying 118 Motion for Reconsideration by Judge Marsha J. Pechman.(RG, )

May 19, 2005

May 19, 2005

RECAP
152

ORDER granting 120 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, denying 123 Motion to Dismiss by Judge Marsha J. Pechman.(RG, )

June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005

Clearinghouse
155

MINUTE ORDER Re: Settlement Conference by Judge J. Kelley Arnold. Court met with attorneys Adam Berger, Jim HaileyTed Buck and Sean Sheehan at 9:00 a.m. to engage in settlement discussions. The parties were unable to resolve this matter.(KAM, )

June 29, 2005

June 29, 2005

RECAP
179

ORDER regarding 165 Motion re class definition and granting 167 Motion re Fourteenth Amendment, by Judge Marsha J. Pechman. (RG, )

Aug. 1, 2005

Aug. 1, 2005

Clearinghouse
215

ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Judge Robert S. Lasnik for all further proceedings. Judge Marsha J. Pechman no longer assigned to case by Judge Marsha J. Pechman. All currently pending motions will be decided by Chief Judge Robert S Lasnik, and any future pleadings in this matter shall bear the case number C03-1365L.(MD, )

Jan. 25, 2006

Jan. 25, 2006

RECAP
235

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Show Cause Response due by 2/28/2006 at 5pm by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (RS, )

Feb. 14, 2006

Feb. 14, 2006

RECAP
244

ORDER denying 226 Seattle's CR 60 Motion regarding state court proceedings by Judge Robert S. Lasnik.(RS, )

July 27, 2006

July 27, 2006

RECAP
246

ORDER granting in part and denying in part the City's 189 Motion to decertify class by Judge Robert S. Lasnik.(RS, )

Sept. 19, 2006

Sept. 19, 2006

RECAP
252

ORDER STRIKING PENDING MOTIONS WITHOUT PREJUDICE: striking 204 Motion to Exclude, striking 220 Motion in Limine, striking 222 Motion in Limine, striking 224 Motion in Limine by Judge Robert S. Lasnik.(RS, )

Oct. 24, 2006

Oct. 24, 2006

RECAP
257

ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND VACATING TRIAL DATE AND RELATED DATES; re 256 Stipulated MOTION for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement ; Fairness hearing set for 9am on 7/9/07 by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (RS, )

May 1, 2007

May 1, 2007

Clearinghouse
262

RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE by Plaintiffs Marion Price, Rodrigue Paul, Harry Davis, David L Williams, Allen R Nunnery. (Berger, Adam) (Entered: 06/26/2007)

June 26, 2007

June 26, 2007

PACER
263

ORDER vacating order to show causeby Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (RS, ) (Entered: 06/27/2007)

June 26, 2007

June 26, 2007

RECAP
264

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL by Plaintiffs Marion Price, Rodrigue Paul, Harry Davis, David L Williams, Allen R Nunnery. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Upon Fee Petition# 2 Proposed Order UPON SETTLEMENT AND FINAL JUDGMENT)(Berger, Adam) (Entered: 07/02/2007)

July 2, 2007

July 2, 2007

RECAP
265

DECLARATION of Adam J. Berger re 264 Memorandum, IN SUPPORT OF FINAL SETTLEMENT APPROVAL by Plaintiffs Marion Price, Rodrigue Paul, Harry Davis, David L Williams, Allen R Nunnery. (Berger, Adam) (Entered: 07/02/2007)

July 2, 2007

July 2, 2007

PACER
266

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Judge Robert S. Lasnik - Dep Clerk: Kerry Simonds; Pla Counsel: Adam Berger; Def Counsel: Ted Buck; CR: Susan Zielie; Time of Hearing: 9:00 a.m.; Courtroom: 15106;Fairness Hearing held on 7/9/2007. After hearing from counsel, the Court signs the Order Upon Fee Petition and the Order Upon Settlement and Final Judgment. (KERR, ) (Entered: 07/09/2007)

July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007

PACER
267

ORDER UPON FEE PETITION Fees and Costs Awarded $325,00.00 re 258 Petition filed by Allen R Nunnery, Harry Davis, Marion Price, David L Williams, Rodrigue Paul by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (TS, ) (Entered: 07/10/2007)

July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007

PACER
268

ORDER UPON SETTLEMENT AND FINAL JUDGMENT This court hereby dismisses this action on the merits and with prejudice as againist all persons and entities who are memebers of the Plaintiff Class, by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (TS, ) (Entered: 07/10/2007)

July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Washington

Case Type(s):

Policing

Criminal Justice (Other)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 27, 2003

Closing Date: July 9, 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The plaintiffs in this case are a class of individuals who had their vehicles impounded by the City of Seattle under a mandatory impoundment policy when the driver was arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

City of Seattle (King), City

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Issues

General/Misc.:

Drivers Licenses

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Forfeiture

Loss or damage to property

Pattern or Practice