University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Garcia v. Montgomery County, Maryland PN-MD-0006
Docket / Court 12-cv-3592 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On December 7, 2012, a journalist filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Greenbelt) under Section 1983 against Montgomery County, Maryland. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and punitive and compensatory damages. He claimed ... read more >
On December 7, 2012, a journalist filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Greenbelt) under Section 1983 against Montgomery County, Maryland. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and punitive and compensatory damages. He claimed that he had been falsely arrested, subject to unreasonable search and seizure, malicious prosecution, and battery. The plaintiff alleged violations of the the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as a violation of the Privacy Protection Act.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that while he had been peacefully observing and recording an arrest in which he thought the officers might be using excessive force from over 100 feet away, officers of the county police department had flashed him with a spotlight and instructed him to stop recording. When the officers realized that the plaintiff was recording the arrest, one of them approached him. The plaintiff identified himself as a journalist, the officer stated that he was under arrest, placed him in a choke-hold, and dragged him across the street to the police cruiser. The officers placed the plaintiff in the squad car and threatened to arrest his wife as well if she came any closer. Once they reached the police station, the plaintiff watched an officer take the battery and memory card from his camera and place it in his pocket. The plaintiff was charged with disorderly conduct. The report filed by the arresting officers showed no evidence of disorderly conduct by the plaintiff. When he was released some hours later, the memory card for his camera was not returned to him.

On August 23, 2013, Judge J. Frederick Motz granted in part the defendants' motion to dismiss some of the charges. Charges against the individual officers were dismissed, but the charges against Montgomery County itself were allowed to proceed.

On June 6, 2014, the case was reassigned to Judge Theodore David Chuang.

Discovery was contentious and continued throughout the course of 2014. On January 20, 2015, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a cross motion for partial summary judgment on February 19.

On November 5, 2015, Judge Chuang issued a memorandum opinion granting in part and denying in part both motions for summary judgment. Specifically, the court granted the defendants' motion with respect to the plaintiff's claim for damages for one officer for his alleged First Amendment violation. The court, however, denied the defendants' motion with respect to the claim for declaratory relief and all other counts at issue in the motion. Additionally, the court granted the plaintiff's cross motion as to the offenses of hindering an arrest and second-degree assault only, but denied the motion in all other respects.

On June 24, 2016, the court granted the parties' partial stipulation of dismissal with prejudice of all claims except for the Privacy Protection Act claim asserted against Montgomery County.

The parties engaged in settlement discussions regarding the remaining claims. After reaching a private settlement agreement, the court granted the parties' stipulation of dismissal with prejudice of all remaining claims on March 6, 2017, except for the plaintiff's claim for attorneys' fees.

On March 22, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees and costs, awarding the plaintiff $283,559.25 in fees and $12,402.34 in costs. The case is now closed.

Andrew Steiger - 10/24/2013
Richard Jolly - 11/26/2014
Eva Richardson - 05/25/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Pattern or Practice
Personal injury
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Montgomery County, Maryland
Plaintiff Description Journalist who was documenting an arrest in progress.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
8:12-cv-03592-JFM (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-MD-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States [ECF# 15]
PN-MD-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 21] (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 71] (145 F.Supp.3d 492) (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/05/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 106] (2018 WL 1441189) (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0006-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Chuang, Theodore David (D. Mass., D. Md.) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0006 | PN-MD-0006-0007
Motz, J. Frederick (D. Md.) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0005
Schulze, Jillyn K. (D. Md.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0004
London, Ronald G (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0001 | PN-MD-0006-9000
Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0004
Ogletree, Rashida J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0004
Revere, Robert Corn (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000
Schary, Alison Brooke (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0004
Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Frumkin, Jeannette Linda (Maryland) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000
Kane, Patricia L (Maryland) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000
Tang, Rosalyn (Maryland) show/hide docs
PN-MD-0006-9000

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