University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name DiMattesa v. Davies JC-PA-0026
Docket / Court 85-3426 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
Plaintiffs in this 1985 strip search case were arrested and charged with prostitution by the Delaware County Pennsylvania Detective's Office and forced to undergo "gynecological examination/strip search[es]." They filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ... read more >
Plaintiffs in this 1985 strip search case were arrested and charged with prostitution by the Delaware County Pennsylvania Detective's Office and forced to undergo "gynecological examination/strip search[es]." They filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claiming the searches were conducted without probable cause to believe that any contraband was hidden on their bodies. Additionally, plaintiffs claimed that the physician who conducted the searches removed their clothing, fondled them and inserted a speculum into the plaintiff[s'] vagina and anus.

On defendants' motion to dismiss, the court (Judge O'Neill) found that the prosecutor defendants had failed to recognize the difference between those prosecutorial activities which receive absolute immunity and those which receive qualified immunity, and so could not rule on the defense. The court also let stand the plaintiffs' claims that defendants were liable even if they did not personally participate in the examinations; all that is necesary to survive a motion to dismiss is the allegation that defendants had personal knowledge of and acquiesced in the alleged acts.

The court thus allowed plaintiffs' claims, except those that claimed tortious acts, and allowed amendment of claims that insufficiently plead existence of a policy or practice. We have no further information about this case.

Denise Heberle - 08/14/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Delaware County
Delaware County Detective's Office
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were arrested and charged with prostitution by the Delaware County Detective's Office and were forced by defendants, against their wills, to undergo "gynecological examination/strip search[es]."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum 11/22/1985 (1985 WL 3854 / 1985 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13614) (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0026-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges O'Neill, Thomas Newman Jr. (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0026-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Peruto, A. Charles Sr. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0026-0001
Schwartz, Stacey L. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0026-0001
Defendant's Lawyers D'Iorio, Ralph B. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0026-0001
Pratter, Gene E.K. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0026-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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