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Case Name Gamino v. Ventura County JC-CA-0053
Docket / Court 2:02-cv-09785-CBM-E ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On December 24, 2002, Plaintiff Gamino filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, raising Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment challenges against the Ventura County Sheriff's blanket policy of strip searching all individuals booked ... read more >
On December 24, 2002, Plaintiff Gamino filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, raising Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment challenges against the Ventura County Sheriff's blanket policy of strip searching all individuals booked into the Ventura County Jail on suspicion of being under the influence of illegal drugs. Defendants answered Plaintiff's complaint by generally denying the allegations.

On September 17, 2003, the District Court (Judge Consuelo B. Marshall) entered a stipulated order certifying the case as a class action. The class was defined as consisting of all person who were arrested under Health and Safety Code subsection 11550 and strip searched in Ventura County between December 24, 2001, and March 27, 2003.

This case was a companion case to Way v. County of Ventura (located in this database at JC-CA-40), which challenged the same practice. In Way, the District Court entered summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, finding that (a) the challenged strip search, conducted pursuant to the County's policy, violated the Fourth Amendment and (b) Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Defendants appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

The District Court in Gamino (Judge Marshall) entered an order providing that the liability in the Gamino case would be ultimately controlled by the appellate outcome in Way. Consequently Judge Marshall removed the Gamino case from the active docket while the Way appeal was pending in the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its opinion in Way on April 20, 2006. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's determination that the strip search was unconstitutional, and that the qualified immunity defense was unavailable to Ventura County. The Ninth Circuit determined, however, that the individual defendant deputies were entitled to qualified immunity. Way v. County of Ventura, 445 F.3d 1157 (9th Cir.2006). Certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court. Ventura County v. Way, 127 S.Ct. 665 (2006).

Following the Ninth Circuit's decision in Way, the parties in Gamino engaged in extensive settlement negotiations. They agreed to have the Honorable Edward A. Infante act as the settlement officer and special master. In March 2007, the District Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick for settlement purposes. Judge Eick subsequently conducted numerous settlement conferences with the parties.

On July 25, 2008, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which was approved by the court on February 5, 2009. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants agreed to pay each of the class representatives $50,000. Tier 1 class plaintiffs were to be paid $250 each, Tier 2 class plaintiffs were to be paid $650 each, Tier 3 class plaintiffs were to be paid $2300 if they were wrongfully searched only once and $3000 if they were searched twice. The defendants also agreed to pay a lump attorney fee sum to the plaintiff class counsel in the amount of $1.4 million. The defendants agreed to pay up to $250,000 in administrative costs for the settlement.

Kristen Sagar - 06/10/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Ventura County
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description All persons who were arrested under Health and Safety Code subsection 11550 and strip searched in Ventura County between 12/24/01 and 3/27/03.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2009 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-CA-0040 : Way v. Ventura County (C.D. Cal.)
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)
2:02-cv-09785-CBM-E (C.D. Cal.) 02/10/2009
JC-CA-0053-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Stipulation and Order to Certify Class 09/17/2003 (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0053-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Third Cause of Action 12/13/2004 (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0053-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Action Settlement Agreement 07/25/2008
JC-CA-0053-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Awarding Class Counsel Attorneys' Fees and Costs 02/05/2009 (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0053-0004.pdf | Detail
Final Approval Order of Class Settlement 02/05/2009
JC-CA-0053-0005.pdf | Detail
Judges Eick, Charles F. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0053-9000
Marshall, Consuelo Bland (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0053-0001 | JC-CA-0053-0002 | JC-CA-0053-0004 | JC-CA-0053-0005 | JC-CA-0053-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bell, Earnest C. S. (California)
JC-CA-0053-0001 | JC-CA-0053-0005 | JC-CA-0053-9000
Litt, Barrett S. (California)
JC-CA-0053-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Held, Jeffrey (California)
JC-CA-0053-0001 | JC-CA-0053-0005 | JC-CA-0053-9000
Wisotsky, Alan E. (California)
JC-CA-0053-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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