Jason Ploof, a born and bred Burlingtonian, has frequented Burlington's central park, City Hall Park, throughout his life, coming to visit the farmers' market, listen to musicians and speakers, view art installations, meet with friends, and generally enjoy the happenings at the heart of Burlington.
In July 2015, the City of Burlington stripped Mr. Ploof of his right to be present and participate in the public square for a substantial period of time. Acting pursuant to City policy, the City's police officers issued a no-trespass order prohibiting Mr. Ploof from entering City Hall Park for 90 days for allegedly twice possessing an open container in the park. No hearing rights were afforded Mr. Ploof to challenge the no-trespass order. The police subsequently arrested Mr. Ploof for being "near the fountain" in City Hall Park during the 90-day period.
Mr. Ploof brought this action to address the violation of his rights under the U.S. and Vermont constitutions and Vermont common law.
The City of Burlington moved to dismiss on statutue of limitations groups, contending that the action accrued when the no-trespass notice was issued, rather than when Mr. Ploof was arrested 10 days later.
The City's motion to dismiss was denied by Vermont Superior Court.
The result was a settlement -- bringing the case to a close in July 2019. In settlement, the City of Burlington agreed to pay Mr. Ploof and his attorneys a sum of $13,500, to adopt interim procedures that would end the practice of making arrests for entering City Hall Park during a no trespass period and significantly curtail the timelines of possible bans, and to propose amendments the City Hall Park Tresspass Ordinance that included significant due process protections going forward for all alleged trespasses violations on public property.