Hooper et al v. City Of Seattle, Washington et al

Filing 192

ORDER denying National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty's 145 Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief signed by Judge Ricardo S Martinez.(RS)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 LISA HOOPER, et al., 11 Plaintiffs, 12 Case No. C17-0077RSM v. 13 14 15 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF CITY OF SEATTLE, et al., Defendants. 16 This matter is before the Court on the National Law Center on Homelessness and 17 Poverty’s (“NLCHP”) Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief. Dkt. #145. NLCHP is a nonprofit 18 organization whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness. Id. at 2. As part of its mission, 19 20 NLCHP has published several reports assessing the impact of local ordinances on the lives of 21 homeless persons and taxpayers. Id. NLCHP has also published reports on the legal and policy 22 responses to homeless encampments in the United States. Id. Given its work in the arena of 23 homelessness, NLCHP contends it possesses a unique perspective that allows it to “provide 24 25 constructive advice” on how laws affecting homeless populations can better protect homeless 26 persons. Id. Defendants, the City of Seattle (the “City”) and the Washington State Department 27 of Transportation (“WSDOT”), oppose NLCHP’s motion. 28 Defendants, NLCHP should not be granted leave to file its amicus brief because (1) the proposed See Dkt. #150. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF - 1 According to 1 brief does not go beyond what Plaintiffs’ counsel could have argued in their preliminary 2 injunction motion; (2) the proposed brief argues facts and does not draw attention to the law; and 3 (3) the proposed brief presents factual matter that is not useful to the Court. Id. at 3–7. For the 4 reasons discussed herein, the Court agrees with Defendants and DENIES NLCHP’s motion. 5 6 District courts have broad discretion to admit amicus briefing. Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 7 1237, 1260 (9th Cir. 1982), abrogated on other grounds by Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 8 (1995). The “classic role” of amicus curiae has been to “assist[] in a case of general public 9 interest, supplementing the efforts of counsel, and drawing the court’s attention to law that 10 11 escaped consideration.” Miller-Wohl Co., Inc. v. Comm’r of Labor & Indus. State of Mont., 694 12 F.2d 203, 204 (9th Cir. 1982). There are no strict prerequisites to qualify as amici, although 13 amicus must “‘make a showing that his participation is useful to or otherwise desirable to the 14 court.’” In re Roxford Foods Litig., 790 F. Supp. 987, 997 (E.D. Cal. 1991) (quoting United 15 States v. Louisiana, 751 F. Supp. 608, 620 (E.D. La. 1990)). 16 17 Upon consideration of NLCHP’s motion and its proposed amicus brief, the Court finds 18 NLCHP fails to provide useful or unique information. NLCHP contends it can provide the Court 19 with “unique information and perspective relevant to several key questions before the Court.” 20 Dkt. #145, Ex. A at 6. To support this argument, NLCHP references its own model policy, 21 several of its own reports, and several surveys. See Dkt. #145 at 4–5. However, the Court does 22 23 not find NLCHP’s attempt to draw comparisons between its model policy (or the policies of other 24 cities) and Defendants’ policies useful in its analysis of the legal issues posed by Plaintiffs’ 25 preliminary injunction motion. Aside from highlighting its model sweep policy language and 26 the language of other cities’ policies, NLCHP’s amicus brief merely bolsters, and does not 27 28 supplement, Plaintiffs’ arguments; the proposed brief also fails to draw the court’s attention to ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF - 2 1 law that may escape its consideration. Additionally, NLCHP does not try to explain why 2 information gleaned from the reports and surveys it cites should apply to Defendants’ actions. 3 However, even had NLCHP explained why a comparison is warranted, the Court would 4 nonetheless not find this information useful or unique as it merely highlights harms similar to 5 6 7 those claimed by Plaintiffs. Consequently, the Court exercises its broad discretion and will deny NLCHP leave to file its proposed amicus brief. 8 Having reviewed the relevant briefing and the remainder of the record, the Court hereby 9 finds and ORDERS that NLCHP’s Motion for leave to participate as amicus curiae, Dkt. #145, 10 11 is DENIED. 1 DATED this 28th day of August, 2017. 12 13 14 15 A 16 RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court did not rely on the City’s proposed supplemental declaration (Dkt. #154) in making its decision. Consequently, the City’s motion to file a supplemental declaration in support of its opposition (Dkt. #153) is STRICKEN as MOOT. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF - 3

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