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Case Name Williams v. Kaufman County JC-TX-0018
Docket / Court 3:97-cv-00875 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas by persons subjected to strip-searches which occurred at a nightclub during a drug bust. 17 people sued; four were later dismissed. Most plaintiffs settled for $65,400 to be distributed among them. Three went on to ... read more >
This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas by persons subjected to strip-searches which occurred at a nightclub during a drug bust. 17 people sued; four were later dismissed. Most plaintiffs settled for $65,400 to be distributed among them. Three went on to trial, and were awarded $100 each in nominal damages and $15,000 each in punitive damages against the sheriff. The court denied the injunction, saying it would be unnecessary/redundant. Williams v. Kaufman County, 86 F.Supp.2d 586 (N.D.Tex. Feb 07, 2000) (NO. CIV.A.3:97-CV-0875-L).

The judgment was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit in Williams v. Kaufman County, 352 F.3d 994 (5th Cir.(Tex.) Dec 09, 2003) (NO. 02-10500). The court (Judge Weiner) held that (1) absent individualized reasonable suspicion
or probable cause, the strip searches were unlawful; (2) the law was clearly established by the relevant time that strip-searching individuals, absent particularized reasonable suspicion or probable cause, was unlawful, thus precluding sheriff's entitlement to qualified immunity; (3) although the prolonged detention of plaintiffs was unlawful, the law was not clearly stablished that sheriff's generalized law enforcement safety interests
were insufficient to permit the detention until search's completion, and so
the district court properly granted qualified immunity on the unlawful detention
claims; (4) plaintiffs' invasion-of-privacy claim was redundant, to the extent based on the Fourth Amendment; (5) plaintiffs failed to assert a separate,
equal protection claim arising from officers' use of racial epithets; (6) plaintiffs established county's municipal liability for their strip search and
detention; (7) the district court did not err in imposing nominal damages of $100.00 per plaintiff; (8) the record supported the district court's conclusion that sheriff acted with reckless indifference toward plaintiffs' constitutional rights, thus justifying an award of punitive damages; (9) punitive damages of $15,000.00 per plaintiff were not excessive; and (10) declaratory relief granted plaintiffs for defendants' violation of the Texas Constitution was appropriate.

Denise Heberle - 08/14/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Kaufman County
Plaintiff Description 13 individuals (male and female) that were strip-searched and temporarily detained by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department during a cocaine raid on a nightclub in Terrell, TX.
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
Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2004
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)
3:97-cv-00875 (N.D. Tex.) 10/07/2004
JC-TX-0018-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [Granting Defendant's Motion to Compel] 04/28/1998 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0001 PDF | Detail
Order Denying Motion to Compel [] 06/03/1998 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0002 PDF | Detail
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Quash Deposition Notice and Motion for Protective Order 06/03/1998 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0003 PDF | Detail
Order [Denying Motion to Dismiss; Granting Motion for Sanctions] 07/24/1998 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0004 PDF | Detail
Findings and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge 09/18/1998 (1998 WL 34190568) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0012 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Findings and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge 09/18/1998 (1998 WL 34190569) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0013 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Adopting Recommendation of Mag.; Granting Def's Motion to Dismiss] 10/14/1998 (1998 WL 34188819) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [Re: Motions for S/J] 11/12/1998 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0006 PDF | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion for S/J] 02/07/2000 (86 F.Supp.2d 586) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Awarding Damages, Denying Injunction, Granting Atty's Fees] 03/29/2002 (2002 WL 519814 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 5555) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0014 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
[Superseded Opinion] 04/09/2003 (2003 WL 21500401) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Amended Memorandum Opinion and Order 07/30/2003 (2003 WL 21755913) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0016 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
[Circuit Court Opinion] 08/19/2003 (343 F.3d 689)
JC-TX-0018-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [On Plaintiff's Revised Supplemental for Atty's Fees] 11/26/2003 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0007 PDF | Detail
Opinion (Fifth Circuit) 12/09/2003 (352 F.3d 994)
JC-TX-0018-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Re: Atty's Fees] 05/24/2004 (2004 WL 1161380) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0017 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Entry of Dismissal 10/07/2004
JC-TX-0018-0008 PDF | Detail
Judges Barksdale, Rhesa Hawkins (Fifth Circuit)
JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011
Furgeson, William Royal Jr. (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011
Kaplan, Jeff (N.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
JC-TX-0018-0001 | JC-TX-0018-0002 | JC-TX-0018-0003 | JC-TX-0018-0004 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013
Lindsay, Sam A. (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0018-0005 | JC-TX-0018-0006 | JC-TX-0018-0007 | JC-TX-0018-0009 | JC-TX-0018-0014 | JC-TX-0018-0016 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Wiener, Jacques Loeb Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Birnberg, Gerald M. (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Bundren, William Charles (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0001 | JC-TX-0018-0002 | JC-TX-0018-0003 | JC-TX-0018-0004 | JC-TX-0018-0008 | JC-TX-0018-0009 | JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Wood, Dan Jr. (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Carson, Caryn L. (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0001 | JC-TX-0018-0004 | JC-TX-0018-0009 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Carter, Edgar Leon (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Hawkins, Robert Allen (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0008 | JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011
Rizo, John B. Sr. (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Weiland, S. Cass (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0001 | JC-TX-0018-0002 | JC-TX-0018-0003 | JC-TX-0018-0004 | JC-TX-0018-0008 | JC-TX-0018-0009 | JC-TX-0018-0010 | JC-TX-0018-0011 | JC-TX-0018-0012 | JC-TX-0018-0013 | JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000
Other Lawyers Levy, Jerome S. (Texas)
JC-TX-0018-0017 | JC-TX-0018-9000

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