On June 2, 2010, plaintiff, an animal rights activist, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Detroit in the United States Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division. The plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory damages for violation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that a misdemeanor citation for leafleting outside a concert was a violation of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
On July 31, 2009, Plaintiff, an animal rights activist, in conjunction with others, decided to distribute leaflets outside of the Warped Tour at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. After successfully distributing literature for two hours, plaintiff was approached by a Detroit Police Officer, who informed him that he required a permit to distribute the leaflets. The plaintiff asked for the city ordinance that made it a crime to distribute without a license, but the officer would not provide one. The officer detained the plaintiff and issued the plaintiff a misdemeanor citation for distribution leaflets without a license.
Plaintiff argued that distributing noncommercial leaflets is not a crime, and furthermore constitutes protected speech under the First Amendment. He was charged with unlawfully distributing commercial leaflets and operation of a business on a public sidewalk. Plaintiff was required to pay a $500 bond.
On November 19, 2009, the charges were dismissed shortly after being filed, with prejudice. Plaintiff brought this action for compensatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief as a result of that experience.
On August 11, 2011, the Court (Judge Avern Cohn) entered an order of dismissal, noting that the parties had settled the case.
On December 6, 2011, plaintiff filed a Motion to Enforce the Settlement Agreement, Impose Sanctions, and Award Attorney's fees. The plaintiff alleged that after the case had settled in August, and the Order of Dismissal had been entered, the Defendant city refused to sign the Settlement Agreement and caused extraordinary delay.
On December 19, 2011, the City signed the Settlement Agreement, agreeing to compensate plaintiff (another similar case had been consolidated with the original plaintiff's) for injury, and pay attorney's fees in the amount of $20,000. The City also agreed to issue training directives on First Amendment rights, Retaliation, and Loitering, to be read to every shift every day for a week, and once a week for six months thereafter. It also agreed to alter its policy of allowing complaints regarding police conduct to be filed even when charges are pending against the complainant. Lastly, the City agreed to make available literature regarding the complaint process available on its website, in its precincts, and accompanying the complaint forms.
On March 14, 2012, the Court entered a stipulated order of voluntary dismissal with prejudice, closing the case. We have no further information about the City's compliance with the Settlement Agreement.Blase Kearney - 05/30/2012