Justice Department Settles Lawsuit for Violation of the FACE Act
The Justice Department announced today that a settlement has been reached with David Hamilton for violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Under the terms of the agreement Hamilton will pay $2,500 in compensatory damages to the victim of Hamilton’s use of force outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, Ky. The United States and Hamilton came to the agreement at a settlement conference held Jan. 7, 2013, in Louisville. On Jan. 10, 2013, the United States sent Hamilton’s attorney a joint stipulation of dismissal to be filed with the court as soon as Hamilton tenders payment.
The agreement settles a lawsuit the United States filed against Hamilton for his alleged violation of the FACE Act, which makes it unlawful for any person to use force to intentionally injure, intimidate, or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, anyone because that person is or has been obtaining or providing reproductive health services. The United States’ complaint alleged that on Jan. 30, 2010, Hamilton, a regular protester, grabbed and pushed a volunteer escort at the center. At the time of the incident, the victim was attempting to escort a patient to the front entrance of the center. The complaint alleged that Hamilton’s actions constituted a use of force that intimidated and interfered with individuals who were attempting to obtain and provide reproductive health services at the center.
The FACE Act limits statutory compensatory damages to $5,000. The $2,500 Hamilton agreed to pay will go to the victim in this matter per the terms of the statute. Hamilton no longer resides in the Louisville area.
“It is absolutely crucial that those individuals who desire reproductive health services be able to obtain them in an environment that is free of interference, intimidation and fear,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “By continuing to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, we are helping to ensure that they are able to do so.”
This civil action was filed by Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorneys Aaron Fleisher and Jack Morse.