The Real Deal New York

Brookfield not in cahoots with cops on OWS evictions: judge

Federal ruling keeps REIT out of civil rights lawsuit

October 01, 2013 08:40AM

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Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street and Dennis Friedrich (inset)

Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street and Dennis Friedrich (inset)

A New York federal judge threw out a lawsuit against Brookfield Office Properties on Thursday which alleged that the real estate investment trust wrongfully worked with police to evict Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zuccotti Park in November 2011.

The REIT isn’t liable for alleged civil rights violations, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald found. The police acted independently from both Brookfield — which owns Zuccotti Park — and Mitsui Fudosan, another landlord in the area, the judge added.

“Summoning police or requesting that police take action to disperse [Occupy Wall Street] protestors simply does not suffice to constitute joint action or to convert the private party into a state actor,” the order, seen by Law360 states. “The evictions from Brookfield and Mitsui properties in no way involved the type of improper abdication of decision-making authority from police to a private party that would give rise to an inference of joint action.”

Representatives for Brookfield declined to comment to Law360, and representatives for the plaintiff did not respond to the website by press time.

On Monday, Bermuda-based Brookfield Property Partners made a $5 billion offer to buy the remaining shares of Brookfield Office, an acquisition that would create a combined entity with 330 million square feet of office, retail and industrial space on four continents, the company said. [Law360]  – Hiten Samtani

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