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PD, Other City Departments Can Be Sued As Separate Defendants In San Francisco Homeless Sweep Case


In the ongoing case challenging San Francisco’s clearing of homeless encampments, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu denied motions from both parties, admonishing both the plaintiffs’ and the city’s lawyers for using administrative procedures to raise substantive issues, CBS News reports. Ryu has instructed counsel for both sides to take issues first to U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Cisneros, assigned to conduct settlement discussions in the case, before filing substantive motions. 

The plaintiffs, including The Coalition on Homelessness, had filed a motion requesting a special master to oversee enforcement over the court’s previous order after the city has allegedly continued to conduct ‘encampment sweeps’ they were ordered to stop even during severe weather. Ryu also dismissed an argument from city lawyers, after a motion to dismiss was filed in November, that the suit was invalid because it alleged ‘conspiracy’ as its cause of action, but the city, the police department and other departments “constitute a single legal entity” that cannot conspire. Ryu pointed to years of Ninth Circuit precedent that police departments be considered separate entities, Natalie Hansen reports for Courthouse News Service.

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