University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Seeds of Peace Collective v. City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police PN-PA-0014
Docket / Court 2:09-cv-01275 ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
On September 21, 2009, two climate and environmental justice nonprofits filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Pittsburgh. The plaintiff, represented by the local American Civil Liberties Union, Center for ... read more >
On September 21, 2009, two climate and environmental justice nonprofits filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Pittsburgh. The plaintiff, represented by the local American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, and private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that City of Pittsburgh officials violated their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the City of Pittsburgh officials deliberately adopted a strategy to harass, intimidate, discourage and ultimately prevent the plaintiffs from exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly during the International Coal Conference and the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh during the week of September 20, 2009.

One of the two non-profits wanted to provide a 24-hour-a-day camp in a downtown park demonstrating a sustainable lifestyle from September 20 to 25, 2009. The second non-profit wanted to provide food to demonstrators, and also serve as a model for sustainable living from September 19 through 26, 2009. Both plaintiffs claim that defendants' actions rendered them unable to demonstrate, silenced their political message about global climate change, and caused them to suffer emotional distress.

On September 22, 2009, the District Court (Judge Gary L. Lancaster) denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. On May 25, 2010, the Court dismissed all claims except for four claims related to demonstration permits, confiscated materials, and detention of members. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claims by one plaintiff against two of the officers on December 21, 2011.

The parties settled the case and filed a stipulation of dismissal on October 12, 2012, which the Court entered the same day. According to the ACLU's news, the City of Pittsburgh agreed to pay $143,000 to settle the claims.

Louisa Eberle - 10/14/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Pittsburgh
Plaintiff Description Two climate and environmental justice nonprofit organizations complaining about interference with their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly at the G-20 Summit and Coal Conference in September, 2009.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Center for Constitutional Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
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)
2:09−cv−01275 (W.D. Pa.) 10/12/2012
PN-PA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 09/21/2009
PN-PA-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 12/11/2009
PN-PA-0014-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law and Order regarding partial dismissal 05/25/2010 (2010 WL 2165365) (W.D. Pa.)
PN-PA-0014-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MANDATE of USCA as to the Appeal of District Court Dismissal 11/29/2011
PN-PA-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal 10/12/2012
PN-PA-0014-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order granting stipulation of dismissal 10/12/2012 (W.D. Pa.)
PN-PA-0014-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Barry, Maryanne Trump (D.N.J., Third Circuit)
PN-PA-0014-0004
Chagares, Michael A. (Third Circuit)
PN-PA-0014-0004
Lancaster, Gary L. (W.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
PN-PA-0014-0003 | PN-PA-0014-0006 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Roth, Jane Richards (D. Del., Third Circuit)
PN-PA-0014-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Downey, Glen (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0001 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Healey, Michael J. (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0001 | PN-PA-0014-0002 | PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Lobel, Jules L. (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0001 | PN-PA-0014-0002 | PN-PA-0014-0005
Pushinsky, Jon (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0002 | PN-PA-0014-0005
Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0001 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0001 | PN-PA-0014-0002 | PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Doherty, John F (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Johnson, Alan E (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-9000
Kennedy, Michael E. (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-9000
Krepps, Paul D (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Magyar, Rebecca (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-9000
Regan, Daniel (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Sirianni, Teresa O (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Specter, George (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-9000
Weimer, Michaelene (Pennsylvania)
PN-PA-0014-0005 | PN-PA-0014-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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