On July 5, 2001, plaintiff, twenty six year old Nicole Sarnicola, filed a civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the County of Westchester and individual police officers, alleging that she was subjected to false ...
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On July 5, 2001, plaintiff, twenty six year old Nicole Sarnicola, filed a civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the County of Westchester and individual police officers, alleging that she was subjected to false arrest and an illegal strip search. Plaintiff sought monetary and injunctive relief. The complaint was amended on October 16, 2001.
On January 8, 2002, the parties agreed to a partial dismissal of certain individually named officer defendants. The case remained pending against Westchester County and one individual officer, who then moved for summary judgment on February 7, 2002. On February 22, 2002, plaintiff responded by filing a cross-motion for summary judgment.
On October 24, 2002, district judge Colleen McMahon issued her memorandum decision, granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment, and granting in part, denying in part defendants' motion for summary judgment. Judge McMahon ruled that on the record presented the police had probable cause to arrest plaintiff for suspicion of drug related activity and that plaintiff was not subjected to excessive detention, thereby defeating plaintiff's false arrest claim. The court further held that the defendant officer was not constitutionally justified in ordering a strip search of plaintiff, when there was no particularized reasonable belief that she was secreting drugs or other contraband and that he was not entitled to qualified immunity for his actions. The court denied Westchester County's motion, finding that there was a factual dispute in the record as to whether the strip search was conducted pursuant to an unconstitutional custom or practice of the County's police department.
On November 14, 2005, defendants filed a notice of appeal. The parties then arrived at a settlement and the case was voluntarily dismissed by the parties on January 13, 2003 and defendants' appeal was withdrawn.Dan Dalton - 12/29/2006