Schultz, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al. Frequently Asked Questions

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Case No. 1:18-cv-00120 (ABJ)

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You may be identified in law enforcement or government records as having been subject to the mass arrest that is the focus of this class action settlement.

The Court has directed that you be sent this notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about all your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves it, and after any objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator will make the payments that the settlement allows.

The package explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and the case is known as Schultz, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al., Case No. 1:18-cv-00120 (ABJ). The people who have sued are called “Plaintiffs” and those that have been sued are called “Defendants.”


The lawsuit alleges that the District of Columbia, former Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham, and ten other police officials engaged in the false arrest of a group of individuals on the morning of January 20, 2017, and confined the individuals in an unconstitutional manner.

The individuals who filed the lawsuit claimed that the District of Columbia and eleven Metropolitan Police Department employees violated the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution, committed the torts of false arrest and negligence per se, and violated the District of Columbia First Amendment Assemblies Act by making arrests without individualized probable cause, failing to issue dispersal orders, and failing to provide access to food, water, and bathroom facilities within a reasonable time.

Money damages, the expungement of arrest records, and attorney’s fees and costs have been sought against the Defendants. The Defendants deny all of these allegations.


A “class action” lawsuit is a lawsuit in which a few people, called the Class Representatives, sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. The Class Representatives and the people with similar claims are together called a Class, or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except those who expressly exclude themselves from the Class. 

This case alleges two Classes: The Conditions of Confinement Class, and the False Arrest Class. These are described in more detail below. Alexander Stokes Contompasis was appointed by the Court as Class Representative for the Conditions of Confinement Class. Jesse Schultz and John Baker were appointed by the Court as Class Representatives for the False Arrest Class. The Class Representatives and Class Members are represented by attorney Jeffrey Light of the Law Office of Jeffrey L. Light. United States District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson is presiding over this class action.


No. This class action only involves those arrested and detained at a location on or near 12th and L Street, NW in the District of Columbia at approximately 10:50 A.M. on January 20, 2017.

The Plaintiffs in this matter filed this lawsuit on January 19, 2018. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the allegations, but Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied most of the motion and ordered that the case could proceed.

After more than three years of litigation, the parties took part in a mediation and agreed to the proposed Settlement. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is fair and is best for everyone who had claims in this lawsuit.

Your rights could be affected by this Settlement. You should read the Notice carefully to decide whether you want to be part of one or both of the classes and whether you think the Settlement is fair.


There are two classes in this case: The Conditions of Confinement Class, and the False Arrest Class. 

You are part of the Conditions of Confinement Class: If you were arrested at or near 12th and L Street, NW in the District of Columbia at approximately 10:50 A.M. on January 20, 2017, and you did not arrive at a booking facility less than two hours after the time of your arrest. If you meet these criteria, you are part of the Conditions of Confinement Class even if you were later convicted of a crime you committed that day. 

You are part of the False Arrest Class: If (1) you were arrested at a location on or near 12th and L Street, NW in the District of Columbia at approximately 10:50 A.M. on January 20, 2017, in connection with the protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump; and (2) you were not convicted of a crime in connection with the protest.

You do not need to have participated in the protest to be a member of either class.

Your membership in one class does not affect your eligibility for membership in the other class. You may be part of both classes or only one class. 


If you are not sure whether you fall within either Class, you can call the Claims Administrator at 1-844-271-4786.

The District of Columbia has agreed to create a $902,900 fund to be distributed among all Class Members who send in a valid Claim Form that meets all the requirements in the Settlement Agreement.

Members of the False Arrest Class who send in a valid Claim Form will also be eligible to have the record of their arrest expunged.

If it is determined that you are a member of either the Conditions of Confinement Class or the False Arrest Class (or both), and you file a claim within the time set by the Court, you will be entitled to compensation from one or both of the Claimant’s Funds.

Each eligible member of the False Arrest Class who files a valid claim form will receive an equal share of the $800,000 False Arrest Claimants’ Fund, subject to a maximum of $5,000. For example, if 200 Class Members file valid claims, each would receive $4,000; if 160 Class Members file valid claims, each would receive $5,000; if fewer than 160 Class Members file valid claims, each would receive $5,000.

Eligible members of the False Arrest Class may have their record expunged of the January 20, 2017 arrest,  and the Court grants the Class Counsel’s unopposed request to expunge the eligible class members’ records pertaining to their arrests on January 20, 2017.

Each eligible member of the Conditions of Confinement Class will receive shares of a $102,900 Conditions of Confinement Claimants’ Fund based on the length of time they were in custody without access to food, water, and bathroom facilities.

Those held without access to food, water, and bathroom facilities for:

Two or more hours, but less than four hours: Will receive two “shares” of the settlement.

Four or more hours, but less than six hours: Will receive three “shares” of the settlement.

Six or more hours: Will receive four “shares” of the settlement.

At this time, it is not possible to say precisely how much each Class Member will receive. However, payments from the Conditions of Confinement Claimants’ Fund are subject to a maximum of $680 per person.  


The three Class Representatives will receive an additional $2,500 each for their role in bringing this lawsuit and for participating in various aspects of the litigation. The lawyer who represented the Class Representatives and Class Members will receive $60,000 to cover the costs of litigation and services rendered. The Claims Administrator who provides notice to Class Members, maintains this website, and receives and processes the claims will receive $24,600 for its services.

If the Settlement Agreement is approved, the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, as the legal arm of the city government, will not oppose any request made by the False Arrest Class Members for the entry of a sealed order that all records pertaining to their arrests on January 20, 2017, be sealed and/or expunged. If the Court grants the False Arrest Class Members’ request to expunge records of arrest, the arrests will be declared “null and void” by order of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia and will authorize each False Arrest Class Member to deny the occurrence of his or her arrest that day without penalty.  

Regardless of whether this settlement is approved, you may still seek to have your arrest record expunged on your own if you qualify for expungement under District of Columbia law. 


Members of either Class have the right to receive money from the Settlement. Eligible members of the False Arrest Class also have the right to have their arrest record expunged. If you are a member of either class, you give up your rights to bring a separate claim against the District of Columbia or its employees for any claim related to the events surrounding your arrest and confinement on January 20, 2017. If you do not want to give up these rights, you must opt out of the Settlement. TO CLAIM YOUR MONEY YOU MUST FILE A CLAIM FORM.

A Claim Form was included with the Notice. If you want to file a claim to receive your money, you have two options:

Option 1: Fill out the Claim Form and return it by mail to the Claims Administrator at:

Schultz v. District of Columbia

c/o Claims Administrator

PO Box 662

Warminster, PA

18974-0662

Option 2:  File a claim electronically the by clicking the "Submit Claim" section of this website. You must use the unique alpha-numeric code (Class Member ID) contained on the Claim Form that was sent to you. If you no longer have this information, you may call the Claims Administrator, 1-844-271-4786 and they provide you this information or use the "Contact" section of this website to request your Class Member ID be sent to you via email. 


If you choose to mail your Claim Form, it must be postmarked or received in hand before August 6, 2021, for you to be eligible to receive payment. It is a good idea to call the Claims Administrator after you send your Claim Form to confirm that it was received.

Payments will be processed as soon as possible after the proposed Settlement becomes final. Please be patient.

IF YOU DO NOT FILE A CLAIM ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 6, 2021, YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE PAYMENT OR HAVE YOUR ARREST RECORD EXPUNGED PURSUANT TO THIS SETTLEMENT. If you do not make a Claim and you do not opt out of the Settlement, you are giving up your rights to receive money. You are also giving up your rights to ever bring a lawsuit against the District of Columbia or its employees for the claims and time periods alleged in this lawsuit.

If you DO NOT want to participate in this class action Settlement, you have the right to Opt-Out of both Classes. If you Opt-Out, you will not receive any money from the Settlement or be eligible to have your arrest record expunged, and you will NEVER be able to make any claim for this Settlement money. However, by opting out you may have the right to bring your own lawsuit against the District of Columbia and its employees within the time period allowed under the law for the claims alleged in the lawsuit. 

To  Opt-Out from the class action you must mail a letter to the Claims Administrator, postmarked or received in hand on or before August 6, 2021, stating specifically that you want to opt-out of this case. You should mail this letter to:

Schultz v. District of Columbia

c/o Claims Administrator

PO Box 662

Warminster, PA

18974-0662

You should include in your letter the name of the case (Schultz, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al.,) and the case number (1:18-cv-00120 (ABJ)). You must also include your name, address, and telephone number.

If you would like to  Opt-Out, you must do so before August 6, 2021. If you fail to opt out by August 6, 2021, you give up your right to be excluded from either Class, which means that you cannot bring a separate lawsuit against the District of Columbia and its employees for the same claims alleged in the current lawsuit.

If you DO NOT Opt-Out, you will be bound by the Settlement Agreement and are eligible to file a claim for the settlement money and expungement of your arrest record. You cannot  Opt-Out of the Class and be eligible to receive settlement money. 

There will be a hearing before United States District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Monday, September 15, 2021, to decide whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. Because of modified court operations related to COVID-19, this hearing might be held via a telephone conference line rather than in-person. Information about the hearing will be posted on the Settlement Website as the hearing date approaches.

If you are a Class Member, you can object to the settlement if you do not like any part of it. If you want to object to the settlement you must mail a letter to the Court, to class counsel, and to defense counsel, postmarked on or before August 6, 2021:

To the Court

Clerk of the Court
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

To Class Counsel

Jeffrey Light
Schultz Class Counsel
1712 Eye St., NW
Suite 915
Washington, D.C. 20001

To Defense Counsel

Micah Bluming
Duane Blackman
Assistant Attorneys General
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia 
400 Sixth Street, N.W., Suite 10100
Washington, D.C. 20001

You should include in your letter the name of the case (Schultz, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al.,) and the case number (1:18-cv-00120 (ABJ)). You must also include your name, address, and telephone number, and you must sign the letter. You should write out all of the reasons you believe the settlement should not be approved, with as much explanation as you desire to include. The hearing on Monday, September 15, 2021, will be your only opportunity to state an oral objection to the terms of the Settlement. The Judge will consider any timely objections you submit if you are a Class Member, even if you do not attend the Fairness Hearing.

You do not have to attend the hearing to receive your share of the settlement money. If you submit a valid claim to get your share of the Settlement, you will receive your share, provided the Settlement is approved by the Judge. You may file an objection or speak at the hearing even if you also submit a claim form.

If you do nothing you will get no money and you will not be eligible to have your arrest record expunged as part of this Settlement. In addition, unless you opt out, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against the District of Columbia or its employees about the issues and time period covered by this case ever again.

The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement by writing to the Claims Administrator at Schultz v. District of Columbia c/o Claims Administrator, PO Box 662, Warminster, PA 18974-0662, or by clicking the "Documents" section of this website.

If you have further questions, you can call 1-844-271-4786; write to Schultz v. District of Columbia c/o Claims Administrator, PO Box 662, Warminster, PA 18974-0662 ; or send an email by using the "Contact" section of this website. 

DO NOT CALL THE COURT OR THE CLERK OF THE COURT for further information about this settlement.


This website is authorized by the Court, supervised by counsel and controlled by Kroll Settlement Administration, the Settlement Administrator approved by the Court. This is the only authorized website for this case.

Call
1-844-271-4786
Mail
Schultz v District of Columbia LLC c/o Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 662
Warminster, PA 18974-0662

Submit Claim

Click here to safely and securely submit a Claim Form.

Documents

Please read for a full explanation of the settlement and your options and all applicable timelines.

Contact

Contact us with any inquiries, comments, and/or requests.

Important Dates

  • Opt-Out Deadline

    Friday, August 6, 2021 You must complete and mail your request to Opt-Out so that it is postmarked no later than Friday, August 6, 2021.
  • Objection Deadline

    Friday, August 6, 2021 You must mail your objection(s) and/or notice of intent to appear at the Fairness Hearing so that it/they are postmarked no later than Friday, August 6, 2021.
  • Claim Form Deadline

    Friday, August 6, 2021 You must submit your Claim Form on-line no later than Friday, August 6, 2021 or mail your completed paper Claim Form so that it is postmarked no later than Friday, August 6, 2021.
  • Fairness Hearing Date

    Wednesday, September 15, 2021 The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Please check this website for updates.

Important Documents

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