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Case Name Miller v. Kennebec County JC-ME-0005
Docket / Court 1:98-cv-00078-GZS ( D. Me. )
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This strip search case was filed on April 10, 1998 in the United States District Court for the District of Maine by a woman who claimed Fourth Amendment and state law violations arising out of her arrest and incarceration by the Rockport police and the county sheriff. The plaintiff was arrested on ... read more >
This strip search case was filed on April 10, 1998 in the United States District Court for the District of Maine by a woman who claimed Fourth Amendment and state law violations arising out of her arrest and incarceration by the Rockport police and the county sheriff. The plaintiff was arrested on a two-year-old outstanding warrant for driving with an expired inspection sticker and for failing to appear in court. During intake, she was strip searched and, while naked, required to squat and cough. This procedure was repeated after a visit from her husband. She and her husband sued the officers involved, the county, the town and the sheriff.

Plaintiffs' motions for sanctions resulting from discovery disputes (and for default judgment against the county) were referred to the Magistrate (Mag. Judge Eugene W. Beaulieu) who recommended, and the Court (Judge George Z. Singal) agreed, that Defendants' counsel personally satisfy a $2500 sanction.

On August 30, 1999, the Court (Judge Brody) granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claims, finding that the multiple strip searches were completely unjustified, but that none of the Defendants could be held liable, due to qualified immunity and the absence of municipal and supervisory liability. The Court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the Plaintiffs' pendent state claims.

On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Court overturned the District Court's grant of summary judgment as to the arresting officer's liability, and held that factual issues regarding the Sheriff's involvement precluded summary judgment the claim against the County. Miller v. Kennebec County, 219 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2000)

The case was remanded for further proceedings, but we have no information as to the result.

Denise Heberle - 04/18/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) City of Rockport
Kennebec County
Knox County
Plaintiff Description Woman strip-searched several times in Knox County Jail after having been arrested during a routine traffic stop for having an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:98-cv-00078-GZS (D. Me.) 03/21/2001
JC-ME-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order and Memorandum of Decision 08/30/1999 (63 F.Supp.2d 75) (D. Me.)
JC-ME-0005-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Recommended Decision 03/03/2000 (2000 WL 864177) (D. Me.)
JC-ME-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Appellate Decision 07/17/2000 (219 F.3d 8)
JC-ME-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Beaulieu, Eugene W. (D. Me.) [Magistrate]
JC-ME-0005-0003
Brody, Morton Aaron (D. Me.)
JC-ME-0005-0001
Lipez, Kermit Victor (First Circuit)
JC-ME-0005-0002
Schwarzer, William W (N.D. Cal.)
JC-ME-0005-0002
Singal, George Z. (D. Me.)
JC-ME-0005-9000
Torruella, Juan R. (D.P.R., First Circuit)
JC-ME-0005-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Thistle, Dale F. (Maine)
JC-ME-0005-0001 | JC-ME-0005-0002 | JC-ME-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benjamin, Edward R. Jr. (Maine)
JC-ME-0005-0001 | JC-ME-0005-0002 | JC-ME-0005-9000
Fisher, William R. (Maine)
JC-ME-0005-0001 | JC-ME-0005-0002 | JC-ME-0005-9000
Marchesi, Peter T. (Maine)
JC-ME-0005-9000
Robbin, Leanne (Maine)
JC-ME-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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