The opinion of the court was delivered by: WARD
Plaintiffs move pursuant to Rule 43 of the Civil Rules for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York ("Local Rule 43") for an order reinstating this Court's May 10, 1990 Order adjudging defendants in contempt and imposing noncompensatory sanctions on defendants, subject to an opportunity for defendants to purge themselves of contempt. In addition, plaintiffs move pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, Rule 54, Fed. R. Civ. P., and Local Rule 43 for an order reinstating this Court's July 9, 1990 Order awarding plaintiffs attorneys' fees incurred in bringing a motion for contempt and as prevailing parties on their civil rights claims. For the reasons that follow, plaintiffs' motion is granted.
Plaintiffs commenced this action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York on April 25, 1988, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to restrain defendants from blocking access to medical facilities providing abortions. The action was brought in response to defendants' plan to carry out a week of protests, denominated "Operation Rescue," at area abortion clinics from April 30 until May 7, 1988. In furtherance of their plan, defendants attempted to prevent abortions by converging on a different clinic or facility each day. The target facility was not to be disclosed in advance.
Despite the assurances of the police department, on May 2, 1988, 503 protestors succeeded in blockading the office of a Manhattan doctor who performed abortions at 154 East 85th Street. All of the protestors were arrested. On the afternoon of May 2, 1988, Justice Cahn issued a second TRO, which enjoined defendants from "trespassing on, blocking, obstructing ingress into or egress from any facility at which abortions are performed in the City of New York, Nassau, Suffolk or Westchester Counties from May 2, 1988 to May 7, 1988."
Despite the order, defendant Randall Terry ("Terry") led a demonstration in front of a Queens facility where abortions were performed on May 3, 1988. During the demonstration, in which protestors blocked ingress into and egress from the facility, several hundred demonstrators were arrested. Later that afternoon, Justice Cahn conducted a hearing on the matter, during which defendants removed the action to this Court. A hearing before this Court was scheduled for May 4, 1988.
At that hearing, the Court decided that it would adopt and continue Justice Cahn's May 2, 1988 TRO, modifying it by (1) adding coercive sanctions of $ 25,000 for each day that defendants violated the terms of the order, and (2) requiring defendants to notify the City in advance of the location of any demonstrations. On May 5, 1988, Operation Rescue conducted a demonstration in front of the Women's Choice Clinic in Hicksville, Long Island, a facility where abortions are performed. Protestors sat on the sidewalk in front of the clinic, blocking ingress into and egress from the clinic for three hours.
On May 6, 1988, Operation Rescue demonstrators returned to the East 85th Street office of the doctor who performed abortions. Terry personally participated in this protest, during which demonstrators blocked access to the office. As a result of the May 6, 1988 demonstration, 320 Operation Rescue protestors, including Terry, were arrested.
Following the events of May 5 and 6, 1988, and in accordance with the TRO, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking civil contempt sanctions against Operation Rescue and Terry. By Opinion dated October 27, 1988 ("the October 27 Opinion"), the Court granted the motion, denied defendants' cross-motion to dismiss, and adjudged Terry and Operation Rescue in civil contempt of the May 4 Order for their participation in the May 5 and May 6 demonstrations. N.O.W. v. Terry, 697 F. Supp. 1324, 1338 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). A judgment was entered holding Terry and Operation Rescue jointly and severally liable for $ 50,000 in civil contempt sanctions, payable to the National Organization for Women ("N.O.W.").
On October 7, 1988, plaintiffs moved to modify the Court's prior order to cover the dates October 28, 29, and 31, 1988, in response to defendants' publicized plan to conduct a "National Day of Rescue" at the end of October. The Court granted plaintiffs' motion after an evidentiary hearing, converting the TRO to a preliminary injunction on October 27, 1988 (the "Preliminary Injunction"). Defendants' applications to this Court and the Court of Appeals for a stay pending appeal of the Preliminary Injunction were denied. In spite of this, defendants proceeded with their plan, conducting two demonstrations on October 29, 1988 within the geographical area covered by the Preliminary Injunction.
One demonstration was held at the Women's Pavilion medical clinic in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., 250 Operation Rescue protestors blocked ingress into and egress from the clinic. During those same hours, 130 protestors blocked access to the Women's Pavilion clinic in Deer Park, New York. All 130 participants in the Deer Park blockade were arrested. Both clinics provide abortions and family planning counseling.
In retaliation for the Court's October 27, 1988 Opinion, Operation Rescue organized blockades of abortion providers in the New York City area from January 12 through January 14, 1989. N.O.W. v. Terry, 732 F. Supp. 388, 395 (S.D.N.Y. 1990). Upon learning of Operation Rescue's plan, plaintiffs moved the Court for summary judgment on their claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and state law, and for a permanent injunction on December 21, 1988. The Court heard oral argument on January 6, 1989. On January ...