United States District Court Judge Percy Anderson recently dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Glendale, which sought the removal of a monument in Glendale’s Central Park that memorializes the more than 200,000 Dutch and Asian women who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army between 1932 and 1945.
The Lawsuit (Michiko Shiota Gingery, et al. v. City of Glendale, et al.) was filed against the City by Michiko Shiota Gingery, a Glendale resident and the so-called Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT-US), a nonprofit corporation. The plaintiffs claimed that the placement of the monument interfered with the Executive Branch’s primary authority to conduct foreign relations and was an unconstitutional interference with the federal government’s Foreign Affairs Power.
In response to the City’s motion to dismiss the case, the court ruled in the City’s favor. Preliminarily, the court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have “standing” to bring suit as they suffered no tangible harm from the City’s placement of the monument in the park. Substantively, the court ruled that the plaintiffs could not articulate a clear conflict between the City’s approval of the monument and the federal government’s policies regarding recognition of the plight of the Comfort Women. The court noted that, even according to the facts in the plaintiffs’ complaint, “Glendale’s placement of the statue is entirely consistent with the federal government’s foreign policy.” The judge also dismissed the plaintiffs’ procedural claim as being outside federal jurisdiction.
Michael Garcia, Glendale’s City Attorney, stated that, “The City Attorney’s Office and the attorneys from Sidley Austin LLP, the firm who provided pro bono legal services to assist the City’s litigation efforts, always believed that this lawsuit was without merit.” He stated, “We are pleased that the Court recognized our City Council’s right to make public pronouncements on matters important to our community.”
Andrew Rawcliffe and Miah Yun of the Glendale City Attorney’s Office defended the City in the case, along with the Sidley Austin team of Bradley H. Ellis, Frank J. Broccolo, Christopher S. Munsey, and Laura L. Richardson.