This afternoon, United States District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan will hold a hearing in the Chang litigation over the mass arrests during the World Bank/IMF protests. The hearing was called to specifically explore the possible sanctions to be imposed against the District of Columbia and the status of the Special Master’s investigation and litigation. Since I am co-lead counsel with my colleague Daniel Schwartz of Bryan Cave, I have been circumspect in any public comments in the case. However, to reduce calls to my office, we have been posting the relevant information and filings for hearings in the case. The hearing will be held at 11:30am in courtroom 24A on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
Twelve years ago, a mixed force of District and federal officers engaged in a mass arrest of people trapped in the area of Freedom Plaza and Pershing Park. We were the first case to challenge the mass “trap and arrest” tactic that was used to arrest hundreds of people without warning, including our clients who were student journalists and observers. Years ago, the Court took the rare move of appointing Special Master John M. Facciola, United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to investigate the disappearance or alleged tampering of evidence in the case from video tapes to audio tapes to documents.
The subject of the hearing was laid out in the prior order of the court:
The parties shall file, by no later than May 14, 2014, status reports and recommendations regarding: 1) the underlying merits of the case, and what remains to litigate in terms of liability and damages; 2) remedies for the underlying arrests, as well as for alleged discovery violations; 3) the extent of the District’s financial responsibility for plaintiffs’ discovery costs, and for proceedings before the Special Master; 4) the continuation, or conclusion, of proceedings before the Special Master; and 5) settlement.
Below is our filing as requested by the Court on the various issues to be explored at the hearing.