University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Simms v. District of Columbia CJ-DC-0002
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-701 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Case Summary
On May 1, 2012, a D.C. resident whose car was seized by Metropolitan Police Department officers filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the District of Columbia under Bivens, claiming that their actions were a violation of the Fifth ... read more >
On May 1, 2012, a D.C. resident whose car was seized by Metropolitan Police Department officers filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the District of Columbia under Bivens, claiming that their actions were a violation of the Fifth Amendment due process clause. The plaintiff, represented by the D.C. Public Defender Service, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiff claimed that the D.C. policy of seizing and retaining private vehicles pending civil forfeiture proceedings without providing vehicle owners with a post-deprivation hearing before a neutral arbiter was unconstitutional.

The plaintiff was charged with several crimes relating to alleged possession of a firearm and was acquitted of all charges by jury trial. When seeking the return of his car, the police officers required him to pay a bond of over $1200 in order to challenge their possession of the vehicle. After reducing the bond to $800, the plaintiff began civil forfeiture proceedings but was not allowed to use the car in the interim.

On July 6, 2012, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. The court found that the District's failure to provide a post-seizure hearing to plaintiff violated his due process rights and ordered District to release the vehicle pending the forfeiture hearing, ordered the plaintiff to keep his vehicle and maintain insurance during the hearing, and gave the plaintiff a security deposit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(c) for $1000.

On October 19, 2012, the parties agreed to a private settlement that is not publicly available.

Neil Tiwari - 09/26/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Forfeiture
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action Bivens
Defendant(s) District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description D.C. resident whose car was seized by MPD officers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2012 - 2012
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:12−cv−00701−EGS (D.D.C.) 10/19/2012
CJ-DC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/01/2012
CJ-DC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Memorandum Opinion [Granting Preliminary Injunction] 06/06/2012 (872 F.Supp.2d 90) (D.D.C.)
CJ-DC-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Stipulation of Settlement and Dismissal 10/19/2012
CJ-DC-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Sullivan, Emmet G. (D.D.C.)
CJ-DC-0002-0002 | CJ-DC-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0001 | CJ-DC-0002-0003 | CJ-DC-0002-9000
Levick, Sandra Kay (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0001 | CJ-DC-0002-0003 | CJ-DC-0002-9000
Mikkilineni, Tara (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0001 | CJ-DC-0002-0003 | CJ-DC-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Copeland, Chad Wayne (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0003 | CJ-DC-0002-9000
Efros, Ellen A. (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0003
Graham, Grace (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0003
Lerner, Jacques Phillip (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-9000
Nathan, Irvin B (District of Columbia)
CJ-DC-0002-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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