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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Price v. Jefferson County JC-KY-0005
Docket / Court 3:91-cv-00144-EHJ-CCG ( W.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
Inmates at the Jefferson County Corrections Department, represented by private attorneys, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 7, 1991, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleging that they were strip-searched by county corrections officials in violation of the ... read more >
Inmates at the Jefferson County Corrections Department, represented by private attorneys, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 7, 1991, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleging that they were strip-searched by county corrections officials in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs alleged that the Department of Corrections maintained an unconstitutional blanket policy to strip-search all arrestees regardless of individual suspicion. Plaintiffs further alleged that they were required to remove their socks, shoes and belts, lift their shirts, drop their pants and open the waistbands of their underpants for inspection of their genital areas. In the first half of 1991, about two dozen individuals sued Jefferson County alleging their right to be free of strip-searches after arrest. By the middle of 1992, several other plaintiffs filed similar claims. These cases were subsequently consolidated. Until the end of 1992, the parties were engaged in settlement discussions. In June 1993, Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaints and to certify the case as a class action. The motion was granted in September 1993. The District Court (Judge Edward H. Johnstone) granted class certification on August 11, 1994. The Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal, which was granted in Eddleman v. Jefferson County, 96 F.3d 1448 (6th Cir. 1996) (Judge Gilbert S. Merritt). The 6th Circuit held that the District Court did not err by allowing Plaintiffs to amend their complaint. It also did not err in allowing the class certification.

The parties subsequently entered into settlement negotiations, and the District Court (Judge Johnstone) approved the settlement on May 24, 1999. All remaining class members who had not made a timely request to be excluded from the class had their claims dismissed with prejudice.

The settlement fund totaled $11.5 million settlement for a class of about 50,000 people. Approximately 6,000 claims were allowed -- a participation rate of 12%. Settlement distribution was based on a point system where women received twice the amount of award that men received and where class members with multiple strip searches were paid for up to three searches. Settlement funds were distributed based on a point system where the "partial" strip search of a male warranted 4 points and a "full" strip search of a male was 8 points. For females, the points were 8 for "partial" and 16 for "full" strip searches. A second strip search was worth one-half the points of a first search and the third search was one-quarter of a first search. The average award was between $1,000 and $2,000 per class member. The court awarded one-third of the settlement fund for attorney's fees, litigation costs and claims administration expenses. The court also awarded incentive bonuses of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 to the three class representatives.

David Terry - 03/08/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Jefferson County Corrections Department
Plaintiff Description All individuals who were arrested for non-violent minor offenses between April 25, 1990 and the present that were required by the Defendant to remove their clothing for visual inspection of all or part of their exposed bodies at the Jefferson County Jail.
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 Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1999 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2001
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)
3:91-cv-00216-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:91-cv-00594-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:91-cv-00611-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9003.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:91-cv-00612-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9004.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:91-cv-00739-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9005.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:92-cv-00284-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 07/19/1994
JC-KY-0005-9006.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:93-cv-00538-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 06/27/1995
JC-KY-0005-9007.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:94-cv-00058-EHJ (W.D. Ky.) 06/27/1995
JC-KY-0005-9008.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
91-144 (W.D. Ky.) 10/01/2002
JC-KY-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Reported Opinion 08/29/1996 (96 F.3d 1448)
JC-KY-0005-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Johnstone, Edward Huggins (W.D. Ky.)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9001 | JC-KY-0005-9002 | JC-KY-0005-9003 | JC-KY-0005-9004 | JC-KY-0005-9005 | JC-KY-0005-9006 | JC-KY-0005-9007 | JC-KY-0005-9008
Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
JC-KY-0005-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barber, Oliver H. Jr. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9001 | JC-KY-0005-9007
Coan, Marvin L. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9008
Davis, O. Curt (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9005
Gray, Mark K. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Hawkins, Nicholas G. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Hawkins, George Terry (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Kellerman, Dana Wells (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Mallon, Vincent F. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Miller, J. Bruce (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Norris, Christina R. Logsdon (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9008
Rogers, Wallace N. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9002 | JC-KY-0005-9003 | JC-KY-0005-9004
Watson, Thomas H. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9006
Defendant's Lawyers Chuppe, Frank F. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Cordery, Suzanne D. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Lilly, N. Scott (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9001 | JC-KY-0005-9002 | JC-KY-0005-9003 | JC-KY-0005-9004
McCartney, R. Allen (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000 | JC-KY-0005-9001 | JC-KY-0005-9002 | JC-KY-0005-9003 | JC-KY-0005-9004 | JC-KY-0005-9006 | JC-KY-0005-9007 | JC-KY-0005-9008
Snell, Virginia Hamilton (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Townes, W. Waverley (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Other Lawyers Brown, William Lewis (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9008
Frentz, Thomas W. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Longmeyer, John M. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000
Rogers, Fred A. III (Louisiana)
JC-KY-0005-9002
Stone, Alec G. (Kentucky)
JC-KY-0005-9000

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