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Case Name Index Newspapers LLC v. City of Portland PN-OR-0003
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-1035 ( D. Or. )
State/Territory Oregon
Case Type(s) Policing
Special Collection Litigation Against Federal Police (2020)
Police Violence Protests (Spring/Summer 2020)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
This class action lawsuit was filed on June 28, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The case was brought by members of the media and legal observers against the City of Portland and sixty unnamed Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers amidst the protests that followed the ... read more >
This class action lawsuit was filed on June 28, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The case was brought by members of the media and legal observers against the City of Portland and sixty unnamed Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers amidst the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd. Plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU Foundation of Oregon. The complaint alleged that PPB had a pattern of targeting and retaliating against journalists and neutral observers. The complaint alleged that defendants' actions were violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well provisions of the Oregon state constitution that protect free speech and free assembly. They sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, including punitive damages. They also sought attorney's fees and costs.

The case was assigned to Judge Anna J. Brown, but then reassigned to Judge Michael H. Simon shortly thereafter.

Plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the last day of June, and the court granted it in part a few days later. The TRO ordered that neither PPB nor anyone operating with the PPB would be allowed to arrest a media reporter unless they had suspicion that the individual had committed a crime. It also made clear that orders to disperse were not to apply to reporters and observers, but that reporters and observers were to wear signs that signaled they were part of the protected class. Furthermore, police were not to seize equipment or press passes from reporters or legal observers. The order lasted two weeks.

On July 10, the plaintiffs submitted an amended complaint, which asserted the same allegations, but adding several plaintiffs (including Index Newspapers). Nearly a week later, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion to submit a second amended complaint, this time adding as defendants the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Marshal Services (USMS). Again, the claims for relief did not change.

Additionally, the plaintiffs and defendant City of Portland stipulated to a preliminary injunction that had the same terms as the TRO, set to expire on October 30. They also filed a motion for a TRO against the DHS and USMS with more or less the same arguments and requests that were made against the PPB in their TRO. The federal defendants submitted a memo a few days later arguing against the TRO, claiming that the plaintiffs did not have standing, were unlikely to succeed on the merits, could not demonstrate irreparable harm, and that the balance of equities did not weigh in the plaintiffs' favor. To make things even more interesting, the City of Portland also filed a memo in support of the TRO against the federal officers, an indication of the City's exasperation with the federal presence. Finally, on July 22, the plaintiffs filed a rebuttal to the DHS's and USMS's memo in opposition to the TRO.

The next day, Judge Simon granted the TRO against the federal defendants, with the same provisions as the TRO against the PPB. 2020 WL 4220820. Then, on July 28, the plaintiffs submitted a motion asking the court to find the DHS and U.S. Marshals in contempt of court and to issue sanctions over alleged violations of the terms of the TRO. According to the motion (and several media reports), federal agents shot at journalists mere hours after the TRO was issued. Meanwhile, the federal defendants filed a motion asking the court to reconsider the TRO.

On August 10, the plaintiffs submitted a motion for a preliminary injunction. The motion was partially redacted to the public, in accordance with a stipulated protective order signed earlier that week. The motion for a preliminary injunction had more or less the same arguments as the motion for the TRO, granted a few weeks prior. On August 20, Judge Simon granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. 2020 WL 4883017. In granting the order, Judge Simon made clear that the order did not give journalists or legal observers special privileges to not comply with otherwise lawful orders. The federal defendants did not claim that they had the right to declare a riot; that right was left to the PPB. However, the plaintiffs and the city had already stipulated that the PPB would not arrest any journalist or legal observer for failing to disperse. So the question was whether the federal defendants had the authority to arrest journalists and legal observers outside of federal property. Judge Simon found that they did not, and so the federal agents were in violation of the law when they arrested journalists and legal observers in areas far from the federal property.

The federal defendants appealed this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 21 and submitted a motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal on August 24. The motion to stay was denied by Judge Simon on August 25, but the 9th Circuit entered an administrative stay pending resolution of the emergency motion on August 28, finding that the defendant-appellants had a high likelihood of success on the merits and that not granting the stay would cause irreparable harm.

Meanwhile, on September 4, the City of Portland and the plaintiffs filed an amendment to the stipulated preliminary injunction. The amendment added language saying that "No Journalist or Legal Observer protected under this Order may impede, block, or physically prevent the lawful activities of the Police." The stipulation was signed that day by Judge Simon.

On September 21, the federal defendants submitted a motion to dismiss, arguing that the case against them should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. They also requested that the court stay discovery requests until the motion was decided.

Two days later, the plaintiffs and defendant City of Portland submitted an amended stipulated preliminary injunction, which simply extended the time in which the injunction was in effect until the Court reached a decision on the merits.

On October 9, the 9th Circuit denied the defendant-appellants' emergency motion for a stay pending appeal and lifted the administrative stay entered earlier in August. 977 F.3d 817. The 9th Circuit issued a 76 page opinion finding that the federal defendants did not show a strong likelihood of success on the merits of the appeal. In addition, the federal defendants failed to show that they are likely to suffer irreparable injury if the preliminary injunction was not stayed pending appeal.

Back in the district court, the parties continued briefing on the federal defendants' motion to dismiss. In early December, the plaintiffs and defendant City of Portland entered another stipulation in lieu of contempt motion. The plaintiffs alleged that the City of Portland violated the preliminary injunction by arresting, threatening, and assaulting observers and journalists, as well as preventing observers and journalists from filming protesting activities. The City agreed to investigate the allegations and remove certain officers from public-order policing duty.

The case is ongoing as of December 31, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 10/06/2020
Emily Kempa - 12/31/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Petitions clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pepper/OC spray
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) City of Portland
John Does 1-60 (PPB Officers)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
United States Marshals Service
Plaintiff Description Several individuals and a media corporation Index Newspapers LLC
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2020 - 2020
Filed 06/28/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Index Newspapers LLC v. City of Portland
ACLU Oregon
Date: October 9, 2020
By: ACLU Oregon
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Or.
12/08/2020
3:20−cv−01035−SI
PN-OR-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Or.
06/28/2020
Class Action Allegation Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-OR-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/02/2020
Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 33] (2020 WL 3621179)
PN-OR-0003-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/10/2020
Class Action Allegation First Amended Complaint [ECF# 40]
PN-OR-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/14/2020
Emergency Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 42]
PN-OR-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/16/2020
Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Emergency Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 47]
PN-OR-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/16/2020
Stipulated Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 49]
PN-OR-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/17/2020
Opinion and Order [ECF# 52] (2020 WL 403684)
PN-OR-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/17/2020
Class Action Allegation Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 53]
PN-OR-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/17/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Against Defendants U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service [ECF# 54]
PN-OR-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/21/2020
Federal Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 67]
PN-OR-0003-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/22/2020
City Memorandum in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Against Federal Defendants [ECF# 70]
PN-OR-0003-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/22/2020
Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Against Defendants U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service [ECF# 79]
PN-OR-0003-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
07/23/2020
Temporary Restraining Order Enjoining Federal Defendants [ECF# 84] (2020 WL 4220820)
PN-OR-0003-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
D. Or.
07/28/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for Finding of Contempt and for Sanctions Against Defendants U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service [ECF# 85]
PN-OR-0003-0019.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
08/10/2020
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction Against Defendants [ECF# 133]
PN-OR-0003-0018.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
08/20/2020
Opinion and Order Granting Preliminary Injunction Against Federal Defendants [ECF# 157] (2020 WL 4883017)
PN-OR-0003-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
08/28/2020
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 15]
PN-OR-0003-0014.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
09/04/2020
Amended Stipulated Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 169]
PN-OR-0003-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
09/23/2020
Amended Stipulated Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 183]
PN-OR-0003-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
10/13/2020
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 191] (977 F.3d 817)
PN-OR-0003-0020.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Or.
12/08/2020
Stipulation in Lieu of Contempt Motion [ECF# 198]
PN-OR-0003-0021.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bress, Daniel Aaron (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0014
Christen, Morgan (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0020
McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0014
Miller, Eric David (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0014
Rawlinson, Johnnie B. (D. Nev., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0020
Simon, Michael Howard (D. Or.) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0002 | PN-OR-0003-0006 | PN-OR-0003-0007 | PN-OR-0003-0013 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0017 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acharya, Athul K (California) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0001 | PN-OR-0003-0003 | PN-OR-0003-0004 | PN-OR-0003-0005 | PN-OR-0003-0008 | PN-OR-0003-0009 | PN-OR-0003-0012 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0018 | PN-OR-0003-0019 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Borden, Matthew Brooks (California) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0001 | PN-OR-0003-0003 | PN-OR-0003-0004 | PN-OR-0003-0005 | PN-OR-0003-0008 | PN-OR-0003-0009 | PN-OR-0003-0012 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0018 | PN-OR-0003-0019 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Hagey, J Noah (California) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0001 | PN-OR-0003-0003 | PN-OR-0003-0004 | PN-OR-0003-0005 | PN-OR-0003-0008 | PN-OR-0003-0009 | PN-OR-0003-0012 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0018 | PN-OR-0003-0019 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Martz, Gunnar (California) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0001 | PN-OR-0003-0003 | PN-OR-0003-0004 | PN-OR-0003-0005 | PN-OR-0003-0008 | PN-OR-0003-0009 | PN-OR-0003-0012 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0018 | PN-OR-0003-0019 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Simon, Kelly K. (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0001 | PN-OR-0003-0003 | PN-OR-0003-0004 | PN-OR-0003-0005 | PN-OR-0003-0008 | PN-OR-0003-0009 | PN-OR-0003-0010 | PN-OR-0003-0012 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Ryan C (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0011 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Gardner, Joshua Edward (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-9000
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Hall, Jeffery A. (Virginia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Joh, YoungWoo (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0011 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Morrell, David Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Rosenberg, Brad P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Sheffield, Naomi (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0011 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Vannier, Denis M. (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0011 | PN-OR-0003-0015 | PN-OR-0003-0016 | PN-OR-0003-0021 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Von Bokern, Jordan L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Warden, Andrew Irwin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010 | PN-OR-0003-9000
Williams, Billy J. (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-0010
Other Lawyers Buchal, James L (Oregon) show/hide docs
PN-OR-0003-9000

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