University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Moya v. City of Albuquerque JC-NM-0008
Docket / Court 1:96-cv-01257-DJS-RLP ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On September 12, 1996, two female prisoners filed a Section 1983 lawsuit in U.S. District Court District of New Mexico, seeking damages for being subjected to strip searches by male guards at the Bernalillo County Detention Center. Plaintiffs claimed that the strip searches were unconstitutional ... read more >
On September 12, 1996, two female prisoners filed a Section 1983 lawsuit in U.S. District Court District of New Mexico, seeking damages for being subjected to strip searches by male guards at the Bernalillo County Detention Center. Plaintiffs claimed that the strip searches were unconstitutional and in violation of jail policy and that women at the jail were subjected to strip searches more than male prisoners. Plaintiffs asserted claims for violations of their rights secured by the Fourth Amendment, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and New Mexico state law.

A jury trial was held on October 27 though 30, 1997. The District Court (Magistrate Judge Don J. Svet) granted judgment as a matter of law in favor of the defendants on Counts I (Fourth Amendment claim), II (Substantive Due Process claim) and III (Equal Protection claim) on the grounds that those claims were barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. Judge Svet held that plaintiffs' claimed injuries, migraine headaches and emotional distress that induced attempted suicide, did not satisfy the physical injury requirement of the PLRA. The court stated: "a few hours of lassitude and nausea and the discomfort of having her stomach pumped is no more than a de minimus physical injury." Plaintiffs also failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as further required by the PLRA. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Count IV and a mistrial was declared. In its Memorandum Opinion and Order dated November 11, 1996, the District Court memorialized the basis for entry of judgment for defendants on Counts I, II and III.

The case was reset for trial on Count IV.

The PACER docket indicates that a settlement conference was held before Magistrate Robert J. DeGiacomo on February 9, 1998 at which time the case settled. The parties were given two weeks to prepare the necessary closing papers. On April 3, 1998, the Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the case. We do not have copies of the closing papers, so the terms of the settlement are unknown.

Dan Dalton - 11/06/2007


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Bernalillo County Detention Center
City of Albuquerque
Plaintiff Description Two females subjected to unlawful strip searches.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1998
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
1:96-cv-01257-DJS-RLP (D.N.M.) 04/03/1998
JC-NM-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/17/1997 (D.N.M.)
JC-NM-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges Puglisi, Richard L. (D. Haw., D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
JC-NM-0008-9000
Svet, Don J. (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
JC-NM-0008-0001 | JC-NM-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kennedy, Shannon L. (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0008-9000
Kennedy, Joseph P. (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0008-9000
Nichols, Carolyn (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baker, Jeanne (Florida)
JC-NM-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -