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Floyd v. City of New York

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

October 31, 2014

DAVID FLOYD, ET AL., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendant-Appellant. [*] JAENEAN LIGON, individually and on behalf of her minor son, J.G., JACQUELINE YATES, ET AL., individually and on behalf of a class of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees, CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants. DETECTIVES' ENDOWMENT ASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL., Appellants-Putative Intervenors,
v.
DAVID FLOYD, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellees, CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendant-Appellee. PATROLMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, INC., ET AL., Appellants-Putative Intervenors,
v.
JANEAN LIGON, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellees, CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees

Argued: October 15, 2014.

Page 1052

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1053

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

These appeals present the important question of whether public-sector unions may intervene into a litigation where the actual parties to that litigation, including a newly-elected mayoral administration, have agreed to a settlement. The intervenors in this case, a group of police unions, endeavored to challenge the ruling of United States District Judge Shira Scheindlin that the City of New York's (" City" ) " stop-and-frisk" policy was carried out in a discriminatory manner, as well as her imposition of various reforms to that policy. We previously ordered these cases to be reassigned from Judge Scheindlin to another district judge. The case was reassigned to United States District Judge Analisa Torres who, in a July 30, 2014 decision, denied the unions' motions to intervene in these cases. The unions appealed this decision and also moved to intervene in the underlying appeals before our Court. With a new mayoral administration elected to office, the City entered into a settlement with plaintiffs pursuant to which plaintiffs will not oppose a motion by the City to terminate the District Court's jurisdiction after a period of five years if the City can show substantial compliance with the reforms contained in Judge Scheindlin's remedial order. The City therefore opposes the unions' motions, moves to voluntarily dismiss its appeals on the underlying merits, and requests, with plaintiffs' consent, expedited issuance of the mandate to begin the remedial process.

We hold that the police unions' motions to intervene are untimely and do not assert an interest that the law seeks to protect. The unions knew, or should have known, of their alleged interests in these controversial and public cases well before they filed their motions in September 2013. For years now, " stop-and-frisk" has been the subject of extensive public filings and intense media scrutiny. Whatever the merit of the unions' claim that Judge Scheindlin's rulings were incorrectly premised " upon statistical evidence purporting to place 4.4 million stops at issue," allowing the unions to revive a now-settled dispute by intervening at this late juncture would substantially prejudice the existing parties and unduly encroach upon the City's inherent discretion to settle a dispute against it. In other words, granting the unions' motions in the wake of the November 2013 mayoral election would essentially condone a collateral attack on the democratic process and could erode the legitimacy of decisions made by the democratically-elected representatives of the people. Furthermore, the police unions' interests in their members' reputations and collective bargaining rights are, as a matter of law, too remote from " the subject of the action" to warrant intervention as a " party." We stress that our holding is limited to the particular and highly unusual circumstances presented here and should in no way be construed to encourage premature intervention in cases of public concern where government defendants have discretion to settle.

Accordingly, Judge Torres's July 30, 2014 decision is AFFIRMED as being within her discretion, the police unions' motions to intervene in the appeals are DENIED, the City's motion for voluntary dismissal of the appeals with prejudice is GRANTED, and the causes are REMANDED for such further proceedings before Judge Torres as may be appropriate in the circumstances. The mandate shall issue seven days from the date of the filing of this opinion.

BAHER AZMY (Darius Charney, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, NY; Philip A. Irwin, Eric Hellerman, Gretchen Hoff Varner, Covington & Burling, LLP, New York, NY; Jonathan C. Moore, Joshua S. Moskovitz, Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP, New York, NY, on the brief), Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, NY, for Floyd Plaintiffs-Appellees.

ALEXIS KARTERON (Christopher Dunn, Jordan Wells, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY; Mariana Kovel, The Bronx Defenders, Bronx, NY; Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, New York, NY; J. McGregor Smyth, Jr., New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York, NY; John A. Nathanson, Jeffrey J. Resetarits, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, NY, on the brief), New York Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY, for Ligon Plaintiffs-Appellees.

RICHARD DEARING, Assistant Corporation Counsel (Deborah A. Brenner, Fay Ng, Kathy Park, on the brief), for Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, NY, for City of New York.

JOSEPH A. DIRUZZO, III (Jeffrey J. Molinaro, on the brief), Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL, Miami, FL, for Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc., Lieutenants Benevolent Association of the City of New York, Inc., New York City Police Department Captains Endowment Association. ANTHONY P. COLES (Courtney G. Saleski, on the brief), DLA Piper, New York, NY, for Sergeants Benevolent Association.

STEVEN A. ENGEL (Edward A. McDonald, James M. McGuire, Elisa T. Wiygul, on the brief), Dechert LLP, New York, NY, for Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York, Inc.

James Reif, Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae Grand Council of Guardians, Inc., National Latino Officers' Association, and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.

David B. Rankin, Rankin & Taylor, PLLC, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae Communities United for Police Reform, et al. Jonathan Romberg, Seton Hall University School of Law, Center for Social Justice, Newark, NJ, for Amici Curiae Law Professors.

Jennifer Levy, Office of the Public Advocate, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae Public Advocate for the City of New York and Members of the New York City Council.

Before: WALKER, CABRANES, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1054

Per Curiam:

These appeals present the important question of whether public-sector unions may intervene into a litigation where the actual parties to that litigation, including a newly-elected mayoral administration, have agreed to a settlement. The intervenors in this case, a group of police unions, endeavored to challenge the ruling of United States District Judge Shira Scheindlin that the City of New York's (" City" ) " stop-and-frisk" policy was carried out in a discriminatory manner, as well as her imposition of various reforms to that policy. We previously ordered these cases to be reassigned from Judge Scheindlin to another district judge. The case was reassigned to United States District Judge Analisa Torres who, in a July 30, 2014 decision, denied the unions' motions to intervene in these cases. The unions appealed this decision and also moved to intervene in the underlying appeals before our Court. With a new mayoral administration elected to office, the City entered into a settlement with plaintiffs pursuant to which plaintiffs will not oppose a motion by the City to terminate the District Court's jurisdiction after a period of five years if the City can show substantial compliance with the reforms contained in Judge Scheindlin's remedial order. The City therefore opposes the unions' motions, moves to voluntarily dismiss its appeals on the underlying merits, and requests, with plaintiffs' consent, expedited issuance of the mandate to begin the remedial process.

We hold that the police unions' motions to intervene are untimely and do not assert an interest that the law seeks to protect. The unions knew, or should have known, of their alleged interests in these controversial and public cases well before they filed their motions in September 2013. For years now, " stop-and-frisk" has been the subject of extensive public filings and intense media scrutiny. Whatever the merit of the unions' claim that Judge Scheindlin's rulings were incorrectly premised " upon statistical evidence purporting to place 4.4 million stops at issue," allowing the unions to revive a now-settled dispute by intervening at this late juncture would substantially prejudice the existing parties and unduly encroach upon the City's inherent discretion to settle a dispute against it. In other words, granting the unions' motions in the wake of the November 2013 mayoral election would essentially condone a collateral attack on the democratic process and could erode the legitimacy of decisions made by the democratically-elected representatives of the people.

Furthermore, the police unions' interests in their members' reputations and collective bargaining rights are, as a matter of law, too remote from " the subject of the action" to warrant intervention as a " party." We stress that our holding is limited to the particular and highly unusual circumstances presented here and should in no way be construed to encourage premature intervention in cases of public concern where government defendants have discretion to settle.

Accordingly, Judge Torres's July 30, 2014 decision is AFFIRMED as being

Page 1055

within her discretion, the police unions' motions to intervene in the appeals are DENIED, the City's motion for voluntary dismissal of the appeals with prejudice is GRANTED, and the causes are REMANDED for such further proceedings before Judge Torres as may be appropriate in the circumstances. The mandate shall issue seven days from the date of the filing of this opinion.

BACKGROUND

On January 8, 2013, United States District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin entered a preliminary injunction against defendants in Ligon v. City of New York, finding that plaintiffs had shown " a clear likelihood of proving at trial" that the New York City Police Department (" NYPD" ) had a practice of making unlawful trespass " stops" outside of certain privately-owned residential buildings in the Bronx.[1]

On August 12, 2013, after a bench trial that followed plaintiffs' withdrawal of claims for money damages and claims against individual defendants, Judge Scheindlin issued an order in Floyd v. City of New York, finding that the City had violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by acting with " deliberate indifference" toward the NYPD's practice of making suspicionless " stops" and " frisks" and by adopting " a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups" for " stops" and " frisks." [2] That same day, Judge Scheindlin issued an order imposing remedies in Floyd and Ligon in the form of various " reforms" to the NYPD's " stop and frisk" practices to be overseen by a court-appointed monitor.[3] The City appealed in both cases and sought a stay.

On September 11 and 12, 2013, the Sergeants Benevolent Association (" SBA" ), Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York (" PBA" ), Detectives' Endowment Association, Inc. (" DEA" ), New York City Police Department Captains Endowment Association (" CEA" ), and Lieutenants Benevolent Association of the City of New York, Inc. (" LBA," and jointly, " police unions" or the " unions" ) filed notices of appeal and motions to intervene in the District Court. With the exception of the SBA, the police unions moved to intervene in both Floyd and Ligon. The SBA moved to intervene in only Floyd. While the SBA and the PBA appeal ...


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