University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Acks v. City and County of Denver FA-CO-0001
Docket / Court 09-CV-02197 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On August 19, 2009, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who had been detained by police during a political demonstration during the Democratic National Convention. During the early evening hours of the first day of the DNC, a solid line of riot-equipped police shut down a ... read more >
On August 19, 2009, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who had been detained by police during a political demonstration during the Democratic National Convention. During the early evening hours of the first day of the DNC, a solid line of riot-equipped police shut down a protest march as it proceeded on 15th Street and the adjoining sidewalks in downtown Denver. The lawsuit asserts that Denver carried out an arbitrary and groundless mass arrest, without probable cause, of 96 individuals, knowing that the group included numerous innocent persons, including the eight individual Plaintiffs in this case. Arrestees were locked into holding cells at a Denver warehouse converted into a detention facility for DNC-related arrests. At that detention facility, Denver refused to allow attorneys to meet with or speak with any of the arrestees.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the eight plaintiffs who were falsely arrested in violation of their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. Pursuant to a Colorado statute that requires jailers to allow arrestees to meet with attorneys, C.R.S. § 16-3-404, the ACLU lawyers also sued on behalf of all individuals who were ensnared in the mass arrest on 15th Street and detained at Denver's detention facility.

On September 15, 2009, the lawsuit was removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. On April 15, 2010, the defendants filed a motion to consolidate this suit and another lawsuit on the same issue, which was granted on May 19, 2010. On April 29, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification; Judge Richard P. Matsch granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification on August 26, 2010.

On December 17, 2010, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgement based on qualified immunity. Two of the named defendants were dismissed before the hearing on the summary judgement motion; however, Judge Matsch denied the other defendants' motion for summary judgement on May 9, 2011.

The parties eventually reached an agreement, and on October 13, 2011, Judge Matsch released an order approving the class action settlement. This included $20 for each member of the class, and if the Denver Sheriff Department used a temporary processing facility for any reason, “that facility and its physical capabilities and available DSD resources and personnel will be analyzed to determine if attorney visits are feasible at the facility.”

This case is now closed.

Kristen Sagar - 10/19/2009
Kat Brausch - 06/21/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
False arrest
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) City and County of Denver
Plaintiff Description All individuals who were ensnared in the mass arrest on 15th Street and detained at Denver’s detention facility without access to an attorney.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:09-02197 (D. Colo.) 10/15/2012
FA-CO-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand 08/19/2009
FA-CO-0001-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
First Amended Complaint 06/09/2010
FA-CO-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [granting motion to certify class] 08/26/2010 (D. Colo.)
FA-CO-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 07/25/2011
FA-CO-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [granting approval of class action settlement agreement] 10/13/2011 (D. Colo.)
FA-CO-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Matsch, Richard Paul (D. Colo.)
FA-CO-0001-0003 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-0005 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benezra, Seth J. (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0001 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Culver, John A. (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0001 | FA-CO-0001-0002 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Heymann, Lonn M. (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0001 | FA-CO-0001-0002 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Pendergrass, Taylor Scott (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0001 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Silverstein, Mark (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0001 | FA-CO-0001-0002 | FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Wallace, Rebecca Teitelbaum (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fahlsing, Gillian Marie (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Rice, Thomas Sullivan (Colorado)
FA-CO-0001-0004 | FA-CO-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -