New York City Settles Lawsuit Over Destruction of Occupy Wall Street Library
From The Village Voice:
In an agreement announced today, the City of New York will pay more than $365,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by people whose property was destroyed when the New York Police Department raided Zuccotti Park and evicted Occupy Wall Street on Nov. 15, 2011.
On top of the damage claims, the city will also pay $186,350 in fees and costs to Occupy Wall Street’s lawyers.
“Our clients are pleased,” said Normal Siegel, who represented Occupy Wall Street in the suit. “We had asked for damages of $47,0000 for the books and the computers, and we got $47,000. More important–we would not have settled without this–is the language in the settlement. This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books.”
Read the Complete Article (Includes Full Text Copy of Settlement)
From the The NY Times:
“There are many reasons to settle a case,” said Sheryl Neufeld of the New York City Law Department. “And sometimes that includes avoiding the potential for drawn out litigation that bolsters plaintiff attorney fees.” Brookfield declined to comment.
Siegel said that crucial to his clients’ decision to settle was that the City was contrite in the language of the agreement. “Very often in settlements there is language in which the party admits no wrongdoing. There is no such language in this settlement,” Siegel noted. “This case was about the importance of libraries and the violation of people’s constitutional rights. The City came to a realization that 2,600 books were destroyed, and that they had a weak case.”
One such passage of the settlement reads, “Defendants acknowledge and believe it is unfortunate that in the course of clearing Zuccotti Park, books were damaged so as to render them unusable. In addition, books are unaccounted for.”
The City also settled the case of the livestreamers Global Revolution Television, whose equipment was also destroyed in the raid. The livestreamers received $75,000 and their attorneys nabbed $49,850 in attorneys fees. Time’s Up! also received $8,000 for their bike-powered generators that were destroyed in the raid.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.