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Case Name Hawaii Defense Foundation v. City and County of Honolulu FA-HI-0001
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-00469 ( D. Haw. )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On August 12, 2012, the Hawaii Defense Foundation and two of its members filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The plaintiffs sued the City and County of Honolulu, an employee of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), and ten anonymous administrators of the ... read more >
On August 12, 2012, the Hawaii Defense Foundation and two of its members filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The plaintiffs sued the City and County of Honolulu, an employee of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), and ten anonymous administrators of the Honolulu Police Department Facebook page under 42 U.S.C §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief, claiming violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The plaintiffs alleged that the Honolulu Police Department banned members of the public from participating in the public forum of their Facebook page. Specifically, the named plaintiffs in this case had their comments and posts criticizing the HPD deleted from the Official Honolulu Police Department Facebook Page and were subsequently banned from the Facebook page.

The plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to restore their own posts, allow them to continue posting, and prohibit defendants from banning people or removing political posts. Following several status conferences, defendants agreed to work with the American Civil Liberties Union alongside the plaintiffs to develop a policy governing public posting on the Official Hawaii Police Department Facebook page. The court subsequently deemed the motions for the Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction moot.

Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on October 23, 2013 after settlement negotiations failed due to disagreements over the forms of dismissal and attorneys’ fees. Defendants filed for Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on claims against the employee of the Hawaii Police Department. The parties then reached a settlement on all issues except attorneys’ fees on January 16, 2014 and the pending motions were terminated. Although the private settlement is not available, the stipulation for dismissal states that the plaintiffs had their posting privileges restored, and the HPD changed their policies and procedures regarding the administration of their Facebook page.

Plaintiffs sought attorneys’ fees of $64,690.29. On April 12, 2014 Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi recommended attorneys’ fees of $22,064.39, believing that the requested hourly rates were not based on Hawaiian market rates, the attorneys billed for excessive time and duplicative work, and that a reduction of 25% was appropriate to offset the attorneys’ practice of billing in half-hour increments. 2014 WL 2804445.

Plaintiffs filed an objection to the reductions. On June 19, 2014, Judge J. Michael Seabright adopted in part and modified in part the recommended fees. He affirmed that the hourly rate was not in line with Hawaiian market rates, that the billed hours were excessive and duplicative, and that the magistrate judge’s recommendation was within a reasonable fee range but recommended an upward adjustment on hourly fees to ensure lawyers continue to represent novel civil rights cases. Judge Seabright awarded $31,610.56 in attorneys’ fees. 2014 WL 2804448. The case is now closed.

Erica Becker - 02/04/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Website
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City and County of Honolulu
Plaintiff Description Members of the Hawaii Defense Foundation who had posts removed from the Official Hawaii Police Department Page and were banned from the group
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:12-cv-00469 (D. Haw.)
FA-HI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/19/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
FA-HI-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice and Order [ECF# 55] (D. Haw.)
FA-HI-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings and Recommendation to Grant in Part and Deny in Part Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees [ECF# 64]
FA-HI-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting in Part and Modifying in Part Findings and Recommendation to Grant in Part and Deny in Part Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees [ECF# 71] (D. Haw.)
FA-HI-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/19/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Puglisi, Richard L. (D.N.M., D. Haw.) [Magistrate]
FA-HI-0001-9000
Seabright, John Michael (D. Haw.)
FA-HI-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beck, Alan A (California)
FA-HI-0001-0001 | FA-HI-0001-9000
Brazier, Brian J (Hawaii)
FA-HI-0001-0001 | FA-HI-0001-0003 | FA-HI-0001-9000
Holcomb, Richard L (Hawaii)
FA-HI-0001-0001 | FA-HI-0001-0003 | FA-HI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Sherwood, Curtis E (Hawaii)
FA-HI-0001-0003 | FA-HI-0001-9000

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