Case: ACORN v. City of Philadelphia

2:03-cv-04312 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: July 24, 2003

Closed Date: 2004

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 24, 2003, represented by ACLU attorneys, the plaintiff ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an organization which seeks social improvements and conducts demonstrations) filed a verified complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, asserting, among other things, that the that the defendant City of Philadelphia and its police, in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, were violating a 1988 injunction by preventing …

On July 24, 2003, represented by ACLU attorneys, the plaintiff ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an organization which seeks social improvements and conducts demonstrations) filed a verified complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, asserting, among other things, that the that the defendant City of Philadelphia and its police, in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, were violating a 1988 injunction by preventing plaintiff and its members from demonstrating near the scene of an appearance by the President of the United States, in opposition to the administration's tax policies, while permitting demonstrations supporting the then-current administration. Nearly fifteen years before, on November 25, 1988, in the same federal district court, organizations and persons earlier precluded from distributing leaflets at public gatherings on property of the National Park Service, allegedly because of the views being expressed in the leaflets, had obtained by consent a permanent injunction barring the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia police, and various local and federal officials, and persons acting in concert with them, "from denying to plaintiffs or any other person permission to lawfully distribute leaflets and other printed matter, or to wear, display or carry signs, placards, or insignia, by reason of the message contained therein and sought to be conveyed."

ACORN's initial complaint was filed at the very start of the July 2003, public event at which the President was appearing, and the plaintiff sought immediate judicial relief. The United States Attorney's Office accepted service of the complaint on the day it was filed. After a brief emergency conference and without opposition from defense counsel, District Judge John P. Fullam entered an unpublished order requiring the defendants "to permit plaintiffs to demonstrate peacefully" at (a designated location), "no farther away from the Treasury Financial Facility Building than other demonstrators."

On September 23, 2003, still represented by ACLU attorneys, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding as plaintiffs three other organizations (USAction, United for Peace and Justice, and the National Organization for Women), seeking wide-ranging relief. In essence, plaintiffs sought (1) a declaratory judgment to the effect that the Secret Service and police departments working in conjunction with the Secret Service must provide equal treatment to would-be demonstrators at public functions, regardless of whether the protesters support or oppose government policies; (2) preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to the same effect; and (3) an order requiring all of the defendants to comply with the 1988 injunction (consent decree). The amended complaint named as defendants the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the United States Secret Service. As the police were a non-suable entity, they were deleted as a defendant in October 2003. The remaining defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint, saying that the plaintiffs lacked standing since they presently faced no imminent injury in fact.

On May 6, 2004, Judge Fullam's unpublished opinion granted the motions to dismiss. In his view, the facts alleged by the plaintiffs in their amended complaint did not suffice to permit a finding that there was a clear likelihood that, at some identifiable future time and place, the defendants would violate plaintiffs' constitutional rights if the requested injunction was denied. In the judge's view, the plaintiffs' claims were too amorphous to be justiciable. Because allegations of mere potential violations by the Secret Service of its own regulations were unripe and lacked a specific factual context, the court felt it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to grant the relief requested.

We have no information indicating any post-dismissal activity in this case.

Summary Authors

Mike Fagan (6/25/2008)

People


Judge(s)

Fullam, John Patrick (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hansen, Christopher A. (New York)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)

Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Garner, Joan K (Pennsylvania)

McCabe, Christopher I (Pennsylvania)

Millet, Thomas (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Fullam, John Patrick (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hansen, Christopher A. (New York)

Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)

Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)

Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Garner, Joan K (Pennsylvania)

McCabe, Christopher I (Pennsylvania)

Millet, Thomas (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:03-cv-04312

Docket (PACER)

ACORN v. THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA et al

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004

Docket

2:03-cv-04312

Verified Complaint

ACORN v. The City of Philadelphia

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

Complaint
10

2:03-cv-04312

Amended Complaint

Sept. 23, 2003

Sept. 23, 2003

Complaint
28

2:03-cv-04312

Memorandum and Order

ACORN v. The City of Philadelphia

2004 WL 1012693, 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 8446

May 6, 2004

May 6, 2004

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 4, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ( Filing fee $ 150 receipt number 895621.), filed by ACORN.(ti, ) Additional attachment(s) added on 7/25/2003 (cdd, ). (Entered: 07/24/2003)

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

Two Original Summons Issued as to THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA. Forwarded To: Counsel on 7/24/03 (ti, ) (Entered: 07/24/2003)

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

Summons Issued as to THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, One Given to the U.S. Attorney and Two Forwarded To: Counsel on 7/24/03 (ti, ) (Entered: 07/24/2003)

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

2

Acceptance of Service by U.S. Attorney Re: accepted summons and complaint for THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY on 7/24/2003, answer due 9/22/2003. (ar, ) (Entered: 07/24/2003)

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

3

ORDER THAT THE COURT HEREBY ORDERS THE DEFENDANTS TO PERMIT PLAINTIFFS TO DEMONSTRATE PEACEFULLY AT THE CORNER DIAGONALLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE TREASURY FINANCIAL FACILITY BUILDING, WHICH IS LOCATED AT 13000 TOWNSEND, NO FARTHER AWAY FROM THE TREASURY FINANCIAL FACILITY BUILDING THAN OTHER DEMONSTRATORS.SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 7/24/03. 7/25/03 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED.(cdd, ) (Entered: 07/25/2003)

July 24, 2003

July 24, 2003

4

NOTICE of Appearance by CHRISTOPHER I. MCCABE on behalf of THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA with Certificate of Service (MCCABE, CHRISTOPHER) (Entered: 07/25/2003)

July 25, 2003

July 25, 2003

5

SUMMONS Returned Executed as to USA. Julia Richardson, Legal Program Assistant on behalf of ACORN served the UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY by certified mail, return receipt requested on 8/12/03; return receipt card attached.(cdd, ) (Entered: 09/05/2003)

Sept. 5, 2003

Sept. 5, 2003

6

SUMMONS Returned Executed as to USA. Julia Richardson, Legal Program Assistant on behalf of ACORN served John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States on behalf of THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY by certified mail, return receipt requested on 8/11/03; return receipt card attached. (cdd, ) (Entered: 09/05/2003)

Sept. 5, 2003

Sept. 5, 2003

7

SUMMONS Returned Executed as to USA. Julia Richardson, Legal Program Assistant on behalf of ACORN served United States Attorney's Office on behalf of THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY by certified mail on 8/6/03, return receipt card attached. (cdd, ) (Entered: 09/05/2003)

Sept. 5, 2003

Sept. 5, 2003

9

FEDERAL DEFENDANT THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND BRIEF IN SUPPORT, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (Attachments: # 1)(GARNER, JOAN) Modified on 9/23/2003 (fh) Additional attachment(s) added on 9/23/2003 (fh, ). (Entered: 09/22/2003)

Sept. 22, 2003

Sept. 22, 2003

Issue Joined. (fh) (Entered: 09/23/2003)

Sept. 22, 2003

Sept. 22, 2003

10

AMENDED COMPLAINT filed by THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION, ACORN against THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Certificate of Service. (cdd, ) (Entered: 09/26/2003)

Sept. 23, 2003

Sept. 23, 2003

2 Summons Issued as to THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA. Forwarded To: Plaintiff's Counsel on 9/26/03. (cdd, ) (Entered: 09/26/2003)

Sept. 26, 2003

Sept. 26, 2003

3 Summons Issued as to THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General Forwarded To: Plaintiff's Counsel on 9/26/03. (cdd, ) (Entered: 09/26/2003)

Sept. 26, 2003

Sept. 26, 2003

11

MOTION FILED BY ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION FOR PRO HAC VICE ADMISSION OF CHRIS HANSEN, ART SPITZER, AND WITOLD WALCZAK, VERIFICATION IN SUPPORT, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (Attachments: # 1 VERIFICATION IN SUPPORT # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(cdd, ) (Entered: 09/26/2003)

Sept. 26, 2003

Sept. 26, 2003

12

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT DEFENDANTS DO NOT OBJECT TO THE FILING OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE OF COURT; DEFENDANTS WAIVE SERVICE BY SUMMONS; DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO THE AMENDED COMPLAINT WILL BE DUE ON OR BEFORE 11/24/03; AND THE FEDERAL DEFENDANTS HEREBY WITHDRAW WITHOUT PREJUDICE THEIR MOTION TO DISMISS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT WHICH ADDRESSED ONLY THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT.SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 10/2/03. 10/3/03 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND COPY FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 10/2/03.(cdd, ) (Entered: 10/03/2003)

Oct. 2, 2003

Oct. 2, 2003

13

STIPULATION of Dismissal of the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia by ACORN, THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION. (MCCABE, CHRISTOPHER) (Entered: 10/08/2003)

Oct. 8, 2003

Oct. 8, 2003

14

Stipulation of Dismissal by ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION against THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA. (ar, ) (Entered: 10/09/2003)

Oct. 9, 2003

Oct. 9, 2003

15

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT DEFENDANT, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, SHALL BE DROPPED AS A PARTY DEFENDANT.SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 10/20/03. 10/20/03 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND COPY FAXED BY CAHMBERS.(cdd, ) (Entered: 10/20/2003)

Oct. 20, 2003

Oct. 20, 2003

16

DEFENDANT THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S MOTION TO DISMISS, Memorandum In support, and Exhibits , Memorandum, Certificate of Service. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum # 2 Exhibits)(MILLET, THOMAS) Modified on 10/28/2003 (fh) (Entered: 10/27/2003)

Oct. 27, 2003

Oct. 27, 2003

17

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LIMITED ADMISSION OF CHRIS HANSEN, ART SPITZER AND WITOLD WALCZAK ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFF. SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 10/30/03.10/31/03 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND FAXED. (ph, ) (Entered: 10/31/2003)

Oct. 30, 2003

Oct. 30, 2003

18

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT IN RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE'S MOTION TO DISMISS, PLAINTIFFS SHALL FILE THEIR REPLY BRIEF ON OR BEFORE 11/24/03, AND DEFENDANT UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE SHALL FILE ITS REPLY ON OR BEFORE 12/8/03, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE.SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 11/6/03. 11/7/03 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED AND COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 11/6/03.(cdd, ) Modified on 11/7/2003 (cdd, ). Additional attachment(s) added on 11/20/2003 (cdd, ). (Entered: 11/07/2003)

Nov. 7, 2003

Nov. 7, 2003

19

MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA.Certificate of Service.(MCCABE, CHRISTOPHER) (Entered: 11/20/2003)

Nov. 20, 2003

Nov. 20, 2003

20

Memorandum of Law filed by ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Certificate of Service. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order # 2 Exhibit Exhibit 1 - Declaration of Leslie Cagan# 3 Exhibit Exhibit 2 - Declaration of Jeffrey D. Blum# 4 Exhibit Exhibit 3 - Declaration of Olga Vives# 5 Exhibit Exhibit 4 - Verification of Steve Bachmann# 6 Exhibit Exhibit 5 - Declaration of Lisa Burks# 7 Exhibit Exhibit 6 - Declaration of Terry Treadway)(cdd, ) (Entered: 11/25/2003)

Nov. 24, 2003

Nov. 24, 2003

21

DEFENDANT THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S Memorandum in Reply to PLAINTIFFS' Opposition to 9, 16 MOTION TO DISMISS, Memorandum In support, and Exhibits , CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. (MILLET, THOMAS) Modified on 12/9/2003 (fh) (Entered: 12/08/2003)

Dec. 8, 2003

Dec. 8, 2003

22

NOTICE by THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY re 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction Memorandum In support, and Exhibits Notice of Filing (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Order and verdict in USA v. Bursey)(MILLET, THOMAS) (Entered: 01/07/2004)

Jan. 7, 2004

Jan. 7, 2004

23

MOTION FILED BY ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DISCOVERY ON AN EXPEDITED BASIS, MEMORANDUM, CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE.(cdd, ) (Entered: 03/17/2004)

March 17, 2004

March 17, 2004

24

Praecipe to Substitute Signature Pages from Plaintiffs' MOTION for Leave to File Discovery on an Expedited Basis by ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION, Certificate of Service. (Signature pages attached). (mar, ) (Entered: 03/22/2004)

March 19, 2004

March 19, 2004

25

Memorandum re 23 MOTION for Leave to File Opposition to motion for Expedited Discovery filed by THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Certificate of Service. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(MILLET, THOMAS) Modified on 3/24/2004 (fh) (Entered: 03/23/2004)

March 23, 2004

March 23, 2004

26

Memorandum of DEFENDANT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA in Opposition to PLAINTIFF'S 23 MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DISCOVERY ON AN EXPEDITED BASIS, Certificate of Service. (MCCABE, CHRISTOPHER) Modified on 3/24/2004 (fh) (Entered: 03/23/2004)

March 23, 2004

March 23, 2004

27

Praecipe by ACORN, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, USACTION to File Attachment to Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Discovery on an Expedited Basis, Certificate of Service. (cdd, ) (Entered: 03/24/2004)

March 24, 2004

March 24, 2004

28

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER THAT THE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS THE AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION ARE GRANTED. THIS ACTION IS DISMISSED. PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR EXPEDITED DISCOVERY IS DENIED AS MOOT.SIGNED BY JUDGE JOHN P. FULLAM ON 5/5/04. 5/6/04 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED; COPIES FAXED BY CHAMBERS ON 5/5/04.(cdd, ) (Entered: 05/06/2004)

May 5, 2004

May 5, 2004

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Policing

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 24, 2003

Closing Date: 2004

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Organizations that regularly engage in peaceful political protest activities around the country alleging that at these protests, the Secret Service violates the 1st Amendment right to express disagreement in a public forum with the policies of government

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia), City

Police Department of the City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia), City

United States Secret Service of the Department of Homeland Security, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None