University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Kelleher v. New York State Trooper Fearon JC-NY-0047
Docket / Court 7:97-cv-07105-CM-LMS ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On September 23, 1997, an arrestee subjected to a mandatory strip search, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against a New York State Trooper in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the ... read more >
On September 23, 1997, an arrestee subjected to a mandatory strip search, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against a New York State Trooper in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for damages for Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment violations stemming from a compulsory strip search and alleged false arrest. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that he was touched by the searching officer, and was unlawfully arrested during a traffic stop.

On January 30, 1997, Plaintiff was driving with a passenger who was the owner of the car when he was pulled over by a state trooper in Brewster, New York. Narcotics and hypodermic needles were found in the trunk of the car, and both occupants denied ownership. The Plaintiff and passenger were both arrested and taken back to a New York State Police Barracks, where Plaintiff was strip searched, and the arresting officer ordered him to spread his buttocks, while another officer probed him. Thereafter the passenger claimed the narcotics and hypodermic needles were his. Plaintiff was released, and he was never charged with a crime.

On January 18th and 19th, 2000, a jury trial was held. The court granted Judgment as a Matter of Law on the false arrest claim at the close of the plaintiff's case. The jury returned a verdict against the defendant for $125,000.

On March 23, 2000, the Court (Judge McMahon) ruled on the Defendant's post trial motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Remittitur. The Court found that while JMOL was inappropriate, the verdict was excessive and remitted the damages to $25,000. The case was closed on September 5, 2000.

Blase Kearney - 05/01/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Denzil Fearon
Plaintiff Description Arestee who was trip-searched upon entry to the New York State Police Department, but was never charges with any offenses.
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 Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2000
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)
7:97-cv-07105-CM-LMS (S.D.N.Y.) 09/05/2000
JC-NY-0047-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Order Denying Defendant's Motion for a Matter of Law [in part] 03/23/2000 (90 F.Supp.2d 354) (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0047-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges McMahon, Colleen (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0047-0001 | JC-NY-0047-9000
Smith, Lisa Margaret (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
JC-NY-0047-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abrahams, Solomon (New York)
JC-NY-0047-0001 | JC-NY-0047-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hueston, Michael Oliver (New York)
JC-NY-0047-9000
Sabbatini, Stacy (New York)
JC-NY-0047-0001
Sanders, Charles F. (New York)
JC-NY-0047-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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