University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Pottinger v. City of Miami PN-FL-0005
Docket / Court 1:88-cv-02406-FAM ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
This case predates PACER. Therefore, access to documents related to this case is limited.

In December of 1988, the plaintiff, as representative of a class of homeless persons, filed a lawsuit against the City of Miami under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiff's complaint alleges that the ... read more >
This case predates PACER. Therefore, access to documents related to this case is limited.

In December of 1988, the plaintiff, as representative of a class of homeless persons, filed a lawsuit against the City of Miami under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiff's complaint alleges that the City’s police department had “a custom, practice and policy of arresting, harassing and otherwise interfering with homeless people for engaging in basic activities of daily life . . . in the public places where they are forced to live.” The plaintiffs asked the Court for an injunction against the City to prohibit its police from arresting homeless persons who engaged in “life-sustaining conduct” in public, and from seizing and destroying their property. The district court found the City liable and granted the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief.

The City appealed, challenging the basis and scope of the injunction. In December of 1994, following oral argument, the case was remanded to allow the district court to “issue appropriate clarifying language to guide the [C]ity in its determination of the scope of its duties under the injunction, and [to] consider whether its injunction should be modified in light of . . . events [that transpired subsequent to its order granting the injunction].” Pottinger v. City of Miami, 40 F.3d 1155, 1157 (11th Cir. 1994). On remand, the district court conducted an evidentiary hearing and ruled that the injunction would remain in effect because the circumstances had not changed significantly.

The city appealed again, and oral arguments were heard in January of 1996. The court instructed the parties to try to settle their dispute. After negotiating for nearly two years, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which the district court subsequently approved.

In October of 2000, the parties filed a joint motion to modify the settlement agreement. The agreement had established a $600,000 “Start Off Fund” in order to compensate qualified class members. The payments were to be made within two years. But since they started later than expected, the parties asked the district court to modify the agreement to allow payments to continue until the fund was exhausted. The district court did as the parties requested. No one sought attorneys’ fees for the work performed during the 2000 modification process.

In September of 2013, the City filed a motion to modify the agreement. According to the city, the improvements in programs and services did not ameliorate problems for two subgroups of the homeless population--"the chronically homeless and sexual predators." The plaintiffs' attorney filed a response opposing the motion, arguing that, in effect, the City was attempting to terminate the settlement agreement as to the “chronically homeless” and registered sex offenders. In October of 2013, the district court held a hearing on the City’s motion for modification and suggested that the parties mediate their dispute.

In the 2014 addendum approved by the district court, the parties agreed to some of the modifications proposed by the City.

Following the addendum, the plaintiff's attorney moved for $476,094.55 in attorneys’ fees for the work performed by counsel during the modification process. The district court denied the motion, ruling that the settlement agreement permited attorneys’ fees for enforcing the agreement, but not for opposing modifications to the agreement. In addition, the district court found that the plaintiff was not the prevailing party as to the City’s motion.

The Court of Appeals upheld the district court's ruling on the grounds that the language in the parties' settlement agreement was clear with regards to attorney fees not being available for the modifications of contracts.

Daniel Fryer - 04/17/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
False arrest
Funding
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Miami
Plaintiff Description Group of homeless individuals
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:88-cv-02406-FAM (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Certification of Class Action (720 F.Supp. 955) (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/21/1989
Source: Google Scholar
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Order on Plaintiffs' Request for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (810 F.Supp. 1551) (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/16/1992
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (40 F.3d 1155)
PN-FL-0005-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/07/1994
Source: Google Scholar
Findings and Order on Limited Remand from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals [ECF# 360] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/1995
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Join Motion to Certify to Court of Appeals Intent to Proceed with Approval Provisions of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 383] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 382]
PN-FL-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Eleventh Circuit of Appeals Order Granting Parties' Joint Motion for Remand [Ct. of App. ECF# 384]
PN-FL-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Omnibus Order Approving Class Notice of Settlement Agreement with Specified Revisions; Setting Dates for Receipt of Objections to Settlement Agreement and for Public Hearing; [Title Truncated] [ECF# 391] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement [ECF# 397]
PN-FL-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order Approving Settlement and Dismissing Case [ECF# 398] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Settlement Agreement Modification [ECF# 459] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/2000
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant, City of Miami's, Motion for Limited Modification of the Pottinger Settlement Agreement [ECF# 464]
PN-FL-0005-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Requiring Evidentiary Hearing [ECF# 502] (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/29/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion to Approve Settlement (With Addendum to Settlement Agreement) [ECF# 525]
PN-FL-0005-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion to Approve Settlement (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2014
Source: Bloomberg Law
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Verified Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs (2014 WL 2890061) (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/24/2014
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 563] (805 F.3d 1293)
PN-FL-0005-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Atkins, Carl Clyde (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0001 | PN-FL-0005-0003 | PN-FL-0005-0005 | PN-FL-0005-0015 | PN-FL-0005-0016
Hatchett, Joseph Woodrow (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PN-FL-0005-0017
Jordan, Adalberto Jose (Eleventh Circuit, S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0013
Moreno, Federico A. (S.D. Fla.)
PN-FL-0005-0007 | PN-FL-0005-0008 | PN-FL-0005-0010 | PN-FL-0005-0011 | PN-FL-0005-0012 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kayanan, Maria (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-9000
Roark, Kelley S. (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-9000
Rosenberg, Arthur (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0006 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Schnably, Stephen J (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0004 | PN-FL-0005-0006 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Trevisani, Dante Pasquale (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-9000
Waxman, Benjamin Samuel (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0004 | PN-FL-0005-0006 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Weisberg, Robert E. (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bittner, Warren (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0006 | PN-FL-0005-0009 | PN-FL-0005-0014 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Bru, Julie O. (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0009
Coffey, Kendall Brindley (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0004 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Cole, Scott Allan (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0009 | PN-FL-0005-0014 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Jones, A. Quinn III (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0004
Mendéz, Victoria (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0014
Scott, Thomas E. (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0009 | PN-FL-0005-0014 | PN-FL-0005-9000
Vilarello, Alejandro (Florida)
PN-FL-0005-0006

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -