Striptease pays off: Boulder City council offers $10,000 to boxer-shorts-protester Seth Brigham
Back in February, we told you about Seth Brigham's nipple-baring appearance at a Boulder City Council meeting -- a protest of sorts against a proposed nudity ordinance that would have criminalized the display of female nipples in the city. Brigham, who remained in his boxers, was arrested -- a move Boulder will now be paying for, to the tune of $10,000.
In June, attorney David Lane took on Brigham's cause. In a letter to council, Lane argued that actions preventing Brigham from speaking or being heard violated his right to free speech and hinted that sans a settlement, Brigham would "file a civil rights case in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado."
Apparently, Boulder took this threat seriously -- although Brigham points out that "they didn't admit to doing anything wrong. When they refused to do anything other than offer us $10,000, we said, 'Perhaps you should pay us another $10,000, since you're unwilling to admit any wrongdoing.' But they didn't."
Nonetheless, he continues, "writing a check proves they were in the wrong, whether or not they want to deny any wrongdoing or not formally apologize. And there was no confidentiality agreement, so I'm completely free to speak about it."
And he does. He expresses disappointment with the city's actions back in February and since then, particularly in respect to council restrictions limiting members of the public to two minutes' worth of comment time if more than fifteen folks have signed up to expound, as well as proposed decorum rules that would ban everything from nudity to mask-wearing at council meetings.
These new regs haven't been enacted yet, and Brigham is hopeful that Boulder's branch of the ACLU, which also objects to many aspects of the decorum guidelines, will succeed at modifying or nixing them.
As for what he accomplished by taking on the council, Brigham says, "I think they're more aware of the dangers of usurping somebody's right to free speech, even if they're not consciously favoring free speech" in the way meetings are conducted.
Page down to read the settlement agreement, which gives Lane a generous 40 percent cut of the final amount, as well as the attorney's statement about the Brigham case:
GENERAL RELEASE AGREEMENT
1. This GENERAL RELEASE AGREEMENT ("Agreement") resolves all claims by Seth Brigham, his heirs, assigns, creditors or anyone else deriving any interest from Mr. Brigham, stemming from or related to: events that occurred at the February 16, 2010 City Council meeting, including his arrest and any related event that occurred thereafter, including, but not limited to, his arrest, charging, detention or release ("the incident") which occurred in or around the City of Boulder, County of Boulder, State of Colorado.
2. For the total consideration of $ 10,000, I release:
a. The City of Boulder, and
b. The City of Boulder's affiliates, corporations, entities, successors, elected officials, administrators, attorneys, employees, agents, servants, and insurers from all liability resulting from or related to the incident.
3. The acceptance of the above-mentioned sum is in full accord and satisfaction of a disputed claim. Payment of that sum is not an admission of liability on the part of the City of Boulder or of any other persons or parties released by this Agreement.
4. This Agreement releases the City of Boulder and others noted above from all:
a. Claims, demands, damages, costs, liabilities, losses of services, economic losses, expenses, compensations, reimbursements, actions, rights, and causes of action of any kind resulting from or related to the incident;
b. Known, unknown, foreseen and unforeseen damages;
c. Expenses, costs, losses, liabilities, and damages related to damage of property and all damages related to personal injuries including psychological injuries, and the consequences thereof, whether already incurred or incurred in the future; and
d. Claims related to the incident and to the consequences of the incident, whether or not those claims were previously made against the City of Boulder and others released by this Agreement.
5. I agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the City of Boulder, and others released by this Agreement, against claims by any person, firm, or corporation made pursuant to a theory of assignment, lien interest, subrogation right, or other right of substitution to my claims related to the incident, including claims already made and claims that may be made in the future. This provision shall have application to:
a. Claims, costs, expenses, damages, recoveries and deficiencies, including interest or penalties, that the City of Boulder and others released under this Agreement may incur as a result of such claims based upon actions, claims, or demands by lien holders or by holders of subrogated interests;
b. Claims by governmental entities or agencies, including but not limited to Medicare or Medicaid, or claims by other persons or third-party insurance carriers claiming a subrogation or other interest in the funds paid to me pursuant to this Agreement; and
c. Claims, actions, or liability for attorneys' fees or costs incurred on my behalf in connection with the incident or its aftermath, including any fees or costs with regard to which reimbursement may be permitted under Federal or State law.
If any other provision of this Agreement is deemed unenforceable or invalid for any reason, I understand that my obligation to indemnify, defend and hold harmless under this Agreement shall continue in full force and effect. This element of the Agreement is a separately bargained for benefit and is independently enforceable.
6. All of the understandings between the parties are included in this Agreement.
7. My signature on this Agreement shall be binding and no rescission, modification, or release from the terms of this General Release will be made for any mistakes.
8. I am legally competent to execute this Agreement. I assume the risk of any mistake of fact and law as to any damages, losses, or injuries, whether disclosed or undisclosed, that I may have sustained as a result of the above-mentioned incident and as a result of all matters related to the incident.
9. I have read this Agreement, I know what it means and I have signed it voluntarily.
10. Two checks will be paid, one for $6,000 to Seth Brigham and one for $4,000 to Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP
Dated: ______________________________________ Signature By : Seth Brigham
David Lane's statement on the Brigham case:
As many of you may recall, on February 16, 2010, Mr. Seth Brigham appeared before the Boulder City Council during a public comment session wearing nothing but his boxer shorts in an effort to communicate his concerns on a variety of political issues, including but not limited to campaign contributions to Council Member Suzy Ageton, Council Member George Karakehian's "open door policy" concerning his business on the Pearl Street Mall, and the City of Boulder's recent focus on public nudity issues. Mr. Brigham's speaking in only his boxers was largely symbolic, in order to assist in making his points. Mr. Brigham was recognized as a speaker who would be addressing the Boulder City Council prior to any comments he made.
Less than a minute into Mr. Brigham's comments, he was interrupted many times, and Deputy Mayor Ken Wilson caused scratching noises over the microphone system, effectively drowning out Mr. Brigham's ability to speak. Thereafter, Mr. Karakehian directed Boulder Police law enforcement officer Sterling Ekwo to remove Mr. Brigham. Mr. Brigham's microphone was turned off, and without any warning or communication from officer Ekwo, Mr. Brigham was immediately placed into handcuffs, and escorted outside. Mr. Brigham was charged with Obstruction and Trespassing, and transported to the Boulder County Jail. On February 25, 2010, all criminal charges against Mr. Brigham were dismissed on motion by Boulder's Office of the City Attorney.
Today, Mr. Brigham and Boulder have reached a settlement. In exchange for Mr. Brigham agreeing not to file a civil rights lawsuit against Boulder for violating his right to free speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and for violating his right to be free from an unlawful arrest under the Fourth Amendment, Boulder is writing a check for $10,000.
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