Council Votes to Settle Mitchell Case and Limit Property Seizures on Skid Row

The Mitchell case was filed in 2016 by homeless individuals and activist groups, citing the seizing and destruction of identifications, medicine and other personal belongings by the city.

Earlier this week a federal judge rejected a legal challenge to the city of Los Angeles’ settlement to a lawsuit regarding cleanings and removals of homeless encampments on Skid Row. On Wednesday, Aug. 28, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero, who has overseen the Mitchell v. City of Los Angeles case since its initial 2016 filing rejected the challenge, concluding that the issue was closed and that the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter.

A group of Downtown Los Angeles business owners and residents filed the settlement challenge in court in July, arguing that the city’s settlement will make the homelessness crisis worse and that the deal was negotiated in secret.

Under the settlement, filed with the district court in May, the city “will not seize property as part of a cleanup of an area where homeless people’s property is located, absent an objectively reasonable belief that it is abandoned, presents an immediate threat to public health or safety, is evidence of a crime, or is contraband” for three years. A 24-hour advance notice of any cleaning on Skid Row must be given, and if someone left medicine or identification at the scene and requests it, authorities must hand the items over.