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Case Name U.S. v. City of Columbus, Ohio PN-OH-0001
Docket / Court C2-99-1097 ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On October 21, 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against the City of Columbus, Ohio pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14111 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to remedy an alleged pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by officers of the Columbus ... read more >
On October 21, 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against the City of Columbus, Ohio pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14111 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to remedy an alleged pattern or practice of unconstitutional misconduct by officers of the Columbus Division of Police ("CDP") including: using excessive force; making false arrests; lodging false charges; and conducting improper searches and seizures.

The filing followed a DOJ investigation of the CDP which analyzed CDP "use of force" reports, "injury to prisoner" reports, citizen complaint files, statistical data, civil lawsuits against the City, and policies and procedures of the CDP.

Contemporaneously with the filing of the DOJ's complaint, the DOJ filed a motion to stay the proceedings so that the parties could explore settlement. Magistrate judge Norah M. King entered a stay, which expired on December 20, 1999 without the parties reaching a settlement.

On October 25, 1999, Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge No. 9 ("FOP") filed a motion to intervene as a defendant in the action. Magistrate Judge Norah M. King granted the FOP's motion to intervene on February 7, 2000.

In response to the DOJ's complaint, the City filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and the FOP filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. In those motions, defendants noted that no court had yet interpreted or applied the language of 42 U.S.C. § 14141. Defendants maintained that §14141 was unconstitutional in that its enactment was not a valid exercise of Congressional authority pursuant to § 5 of the 14th Amendment and that it violated the Tenth Amendment. Defendants further argued that § 14141 must be construed to incorporate the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cases for determining municipal liability. Defendants argued that the DOJ's complaint was therefore deficient because it failed to plead facts that the City caused, or was deliberately indifferent to, the pattern or practice of CDP officer misconduct as alleged in the complaint.

The DOJ filed a brief in opposition to defendants' motions, responding to the constitutional challenge to 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The DOJ also argued that the language of § 14141 imposed vicarious liability on the City for the acts of its officers. DOJ argued that the § 1983 standards of municipal liability were not applicable to § 14141 cases and therefore the complaint properly stated a cause of action.

On April 26, 2000, district court judge John D. Holschuh referred to the dispositive motions to magistrate judge Norah M. King for a report and recommendation. On August 2000, magistrate judge King issued her report and recommendation, which found that 42 U.S.C. § 14141 was constitutional She construed § 14141 to require the same level of proof as is required against municipal entities in actions under § 1983, as set forth in Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978) and its progeny.

In response to the magistrate's report, U.S. Representatives John Conyers, Jr., ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other representatives moved for leave to participate as amici curiae. Representative Conyers was an original cosponsor of the Police Accountability Act - legislation that contained the language that ultimately was embodied in 42 U.S.C. § 14141. As grounds for their participation, the representatives stated that their interest was to correct the magistrate judge's interpretation of § 14141 as imposing § 1983's "policy or custom" test for determining municipal liability which they believed was a misapplication of the statute.

The Grand Lodge of FOP, the national police officer labor organization, filed a similar amicus motion, taking positions supportive of those taken by the City and the local FOP.

On November 20, 2000 district judge John D. Holschuh granted the motions for leave to participate as amici curiae and amicus briefs were then filed. After an extended round of additional briefing, there was a lengthy period of case inactivity while settlement negotiations continued.

On September 4, 2004, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman submitted a settlement proposal to the DOJ which outlined various reforms the CPD agreed to make in exchange for the dismissal of the DOJ's complaint without prejudice. The DOJ accepted the terms. On September 4, 2002, district judge Holschuh granted the DOJ's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice.

Dan Dalton - 01/04/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Columbus Division of Police
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
C2-99-1097 (S.D. Ohio) 09/04/2002
PN-OH-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings letter
PN-OH-0001-0038 PDF | Detail
Complaint 10/21/1999
PN-OH-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Defendant City's Motion to Dismiss and Memorandum in Support 02/09/2000
PN-OH-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Motion for Judgment on Pleadings by FOP, Capital City Lodge No. 9 and Memorandum in Support 02/18/2000
PN-OH-0001-0008 PDF | Detail
Reply of the Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge No. 9, to the US's Memorandum in Opposition to the City of Columbus' Motion to Dismiss and the Fraternal Order of Police's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings 04/14/2000
PN-OH-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Defendant City's Reply Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Dismiss 04/17/2000
PN-OH-0001-0010 PDF | Detail
Reply Memorandum of the Fraternal Order of Police, to the United States' Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition to FOP's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings 05/23/2000
PN-OH-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Amended Complaint 06/28/2000
PN-OH-0001-0041 PDF | Detail
Report and Recommendation 08/03/2000 (S.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0014 PDF | Detail
Report and Recommendation 08/03/2000 (2000 WL 1133166 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 11327) (S.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0046 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Defendant City's Objections to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge 08/14/2000
PN-OH-0001-0015 PDF | Detail
United States' Objections to the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation Regarding Defendants' Dispositive Motions 08/21/2000
PN-OH-0001-0039 PDF | Detail
US's Response to the City of Columbus' Objections to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge 08/25/2000
PN-OH-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
The US' Memorandum in Opposition to the City of Columbus' Motion to Dismiss and the FOP's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings 08/29/2000
PN-OH-0001-0040 PDF | Detail
Motion for Leave to Participate as Amici Curiae 09/01/2000
PN-OH-0001-0019 PDF | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of United States' Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report 09/05/2000
PN-OH-0001-0021 PDF | Detail
Defendant City's Memorandum contra to the motion for leave to participate as amici curiae 09/15/2000
PN-OH-0001-0024 PDF | Detail
Opinon and Order 11/20/2000 (2000 WL 1745293) (S.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0028 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Defendant City's Response to the Brief of Amici Curiae Members of Congress 12/05/2000
PN-OH-0001-0029 PDF | Detail
Reply of Defendant FOP, Capital City Lodge 9, to US' Response to the memorandum of amicus curiae Grand Lodge of the FOP 12/11/2000
PN-OH-0001-0030 PDF | Detail
Reply Brief of amici curiae members of congress in support of US' objections to the magistrate judge's report 12/11/2000
PN-OH-0001-0031 PDF | Detail
Defendant City's Memo Regarding Supplemental Authority 03/06/2001
PN-OH-0001-0032 PDF | Detail
Reply in Support of Motion for Leave to Participate as Amici Curiae 05/04/2001
PN-OH-0001-0037 PDF | Detail
Resolution Pattern or Practice Litigation Columbus Police 09/04/2002
PN-OH-0001-0044 PDF | Detail
Justice Department Reaches Agreement to Resolve Police Misconduct Case Against Columbus Police Department 09/04/2002
PN-OH-0001-0047 PDF | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Judges Holschuh, John David (S.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0007 | PN-OH-0001-0008 | PN-OH-0001-0009 | PN-OH-0001-0012 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0021 | PN-OH-0001-0028 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0030 | PN-OH-0001-0031 | PN-OH-0001-0032 | PN-OH-0001-0037 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041 | PN-OH-0001-9000
King, Norah McCann (S.D. Ohio) [Magistrate]
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0007 | PN-OH-0001-0008 | PN-OH-0001-0009 | PN-OH-0001-0012 | PN-OH-0001-0014 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0021 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0030 | PN-OH-0001-0031 | PN-OH-0001-0032 | PN-OH-0001-0037 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bennington, Jeffrey (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0032
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0044
Eichner, James (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0041 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0038 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0010 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041 | PN-OH-0001-0046
Murphy, Donna M. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Peeples, Andrea C. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0032 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Posner, Mark A. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Sanders, Deborah (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Trainor, Cathleen (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Zealey, Sharon J. (District of Columbia)
PN-OH-0001-0004 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0039 | PN-OH-0001-0040 | PN-OH-0001-0041
Defendant's Lawyers Cox, Joshua T. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0010 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0032 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Henderson, C. David (New Mexico)
PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-9000 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Jackson, Janet E. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0007 | PN-OH-0001-0010 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0038
Kulewicz, John J. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0009 | PN-OH-0001-0012 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0030
Mangan, Timothy J. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0007 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0032 | PN-OH-0001-0046 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Phillips, James Edgar (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0008 | PN-OH-0001-0009 | PN-OH-0001-0010 | PN-OH-0001-0012 | PN-OH-0001-0015 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0030 | PN-OH-0001-0044 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Redick, Glenn B. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0007
Rogers, Douglas L. (Ohio)
PN-OH-0001-0009 | PN-OH-0001-0012 | PN-OH-0001-0016 | PN-OH-0001-0030
Other Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (Massachusetts)
PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0021 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0029 | PN-OH-0001-0031 | PN-OH-0001-0037 | PN-OH-0001-9000
Schlanger, Margo (Massachusetts)
PN-OH-0001-0019 | PN-OH-0001-0021 | PN-OH-0001-0024 | PN-OH-0001-0031 | PN-OH-0001-0037 | PN-OH-0001-9000

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