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Case Name Smook v. Minehaha County JI-SD-0003
Docket / Court 4:00-cv-04202-LLP ( D.S.D. )
State/Territory South Dakota
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On November 1, 2000, a juvenile who had been arrested for violating curfew filed a civil rights class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of South Dakota, challenging the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center policy of strip- ... read more >
On November 1, 2000, a juvenile who had been arrested for violating curfew filed a civil rights class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of South Dakota, challenging the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center policy of strip-searching all juveniles admitted to the Detention Center, without any reasonable suspicion that the juveniles were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiff sought damages and injunctive relief. The County and individual County officials denied the allegations and argued that the individual officials were entitled to qualified immunity.

On March 20, 2002, the District Court (Judge Lawrence L. Piersol) certified the case as a class action, establishing a damages class and an injunctive relief class, consisting of: "All persons ... who, when they were under the age of eighteen years, were charged with minor offenses at any time on or after November 1, 1997 and up to a date in the future to be set by the Court, or who were charged with non-felony offenses at any time on or after April 16, 1999 and up to a date in the future to be set by the Court, and were strip searched at the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center."

After discovery, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment claim. The District Court (Judge Piersol) entered summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on the Fourth Amendment claim and denied the individual officials' motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. Smook v. Minnehaha County, 340 F. Supp. 2d 1037 (D.S.D. 2004). Reconsideration was denied. Smook v. Minnehaha County, S.D., 353 F.Supp. 2d 1059 (D.S.D. 2005), and the defendants appealed.

On appeal, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that (1) the search of the named plaintiff, requiring her to strip to her undergarments, was not a full strip search and did not violate the Fourth Amendment; (2) county officials were immune from suit even if the search was deemed illegal, because it did not vindicate a clearly established right; and (3) the plaintiff class lacked standing to seek injunctive relief. Since the claim of the named plaintiff was dismissed, the case was remanded to the District Court to determine whether the class should be redefined or decertified and whether there was an adequate class representative to replace the named plaintiff. Smook v. Minnehaha County, 457 F.3d 806 (8th Cir.(S.D.) Aug 09, 2006), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied (Sep 27, 2006). Plaintiff's petition for certiorari was denied. Smook v. Minnehaha County, S.D., 127 S.Ct. 1885 (2007).

On remand, the plaintiffs added three additional individuals as named plaintiffs for the class. In an effort to avoid having to litigate the case again, the two sides agreed to a monetary settlement. The agreement included a payment of $450,000 by the defendants, including $182,500 in attorneys' fees and $182,500 to be divided among members of the class.

Dan Dalton - 03/03/2008
Jonathan Forman - 06/30/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
General
Juveniles
Religious programs / policies
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Minnehaha County
Plaintiff Description Minors who have been arrested for alleged violations of curfew laws or other minor offenses and detained at the Minnehaha County Detention Center and strip searched and/or questioned about their religious beliefs or practices.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:00−cv−04202 (D.S.D.) 11/24/2009
JI-SD-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/01/2000
JI-SD-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 05/22/2001 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (granting class certification) 03/20/2002 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 01/14/2003 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's motion to Amend Class Definition) 06/06/2003 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/27/2004 (340 F.Supp.2d 1037) (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 01/20/2005 (353 F.Supp.2d 1059) (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Court of Appeals Opinion (Aug 9, 2006) 08/14/2006 (457 F.3d 806)
JI-SD-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter from Supreme Court 04/02/2007 (549 U.S. 1317)
JI-SD-0003-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint (Proposed) 06/08/2007
JI-SD-0003-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/25/2007 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Proposed Settlement Agreement 08/03/2009
JI-SD-0003-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order Approving Class Settlement and Approving Certification of Class FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES 11/24/2009 (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Colloton, Steven M. (Eighth Circuit)
JI-SD-0003-0008
Piersol, Lawrence L. (D.S.D.)
JI-SD-0003-0002 | JI-SD-0003-0003 | JI-SD-0003-0004 | JI-SD-0003-0005 | JI-SD-0003-0006 | JI-SD-0003-0007 | JI-SD-0003-0010 | JI-SD-0003-0012 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abourezk , James G. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-0001 | JI-SD-0003-0013 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Berger-White, Juliet (Illinois)
JI-SD-0003-0013 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Karsh, Joshua (Illinois)
JI-SD-0003-9000
Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)
JI-SD-0003-0001 | JI-SD-0003-0013 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Rowland, Mary M. (Illinois)
JI-SD-0003-0001 | JI-SD-0003-0013 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Akkerman, Mary A. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-0011 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Falon, Shannon (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-9000
Heidepriem, Scott N. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-9000
Nelson, David R. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-9000
Sabers, Susan M. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-9000
Thimsen, Gary P. (South Dakota)
JI-SD-0003-0011 | JI-SD-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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