Update 2 on Possible Eagle Raid Settlement
(APN) ATLANTA — Yesterday, the Atlanta Progressive News reported that according to two anonymous sources, the Plaintiffs in the Eagle Raid lawsuit had received settlement letters from the City of Atlanta.
Since then, two additional sources have confirmed–one to APN and one to Georgia Voice magazine–that the Plaintiffs did receive letters on Thursday, November 18, 2010; however, these sources have stated that the letters were in fact from one of the Plaintiffs’ attorneys [likely Dan Grossman].
Indeed, the two original sources did say that the letters were sent by Grossman; however, due to context clues, APN believed that they were settlement offers from the City merely being passed on by Grossman.
Therefore, a correction is in order to hereby note that the letters were likely from Grossman and not the City.
There is also more background not provided in APN’s original story: APN first learned of a possible settlement a couple months ago when two sources said that the City of Atlanta had begun to inquire what it is that the Plaintiffs would want.
The dollar figure that was being floated around at that time was 50,000 dollars per person.
Yesterday, APN reported that the letters received by Plaintiffs on Thursday referenced different dollar amount ranges, which were different for each person depending on the circumstances of the cases. The overall range had been from about 8,000 to 20,000 dollars.
The first two sources regarding the Thursday letters had told APN that the lower offers were from the City of Atlanta, and we have every reason to believe that that was their understanding of the letters.
The third source APN spoke with yesterday, who is familiar with the matter, said that in actuality, the lower offers were a proposed floor, or absolute minimum, of what the Plaintiffs may be willing to accept. Presumably, the Judge asked them to decide upon such a floor in preparation for the mediation coming up on Monday.
So which source is correct about the origin of the dollar figures? There is no way to know at this point and no news agency has been able to obtain a copy of one of the letters.
APN made a decision to move forward with the story yesterday based on our confidence in the two sources. What we have learned since then is that, in a fast-moving, complex lawsuit involving almost 30 Plaintiffs, the Plaintiffs have different levels of understanding, or different interpretations, of the documents that are being presented to them, something which is quite understandable.
In addition, the City of Atlanta and attorney Dan Grossman have declined to speak with other media outlets–such as Creative Loafing Atlanta, Sunday Paper, Georgia Voice, and Project Q Atlanta–citing a gag order on the parties in the lawsuit.
APN did not learn of any gag order until yesterday, after the settlement letter story was published.
“Did you know that there is an order for anyone that is associated with this case not to talk to the media?” Plaintiff Brian Hughes wrote in an email to APN. “You can be held in contempt of the court for publishing this article and also along with the two individuals that you will not name be held in contempt of court!”
Georgia Voice magazine also spoke with an anonymous source yesterday.
APN promised to maintain the confidentiality of those sources and is determined to keep that promise, in order to maintain the integrity of the publication’s relationship with sources.
Laura Douglas-Brown, editor of Georgia Voice magazine, tells APN in a text message “Yes we will” also protect confidential sources.
(END / 2010)