University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lopez v. Youngblood JC-CA-0063
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-00474-DLB ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On March 27, 2007, Plaintiffs, individually and as class representatives, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, against Kern County California, the Kern County Sheriff's Department ("KCSD"), and ... read more >
On March 27, 2007, Plaintiffs, individually and as class representatives, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, against Kern County California, the Kern County Sheriff's Department ("KCSD"), and officials in their supervising capacity. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief and damages resulting from the strip and/or visual body cavity searches of prisoners by Defendants.

The complaint, later amended, pursues causes of action for violations of the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, violation of Article I, §§ 1, 7, 13 and 17 of the California Constitution and state law violations. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants maintained a policy of indiscriminately strip/body cavity searching all or a large number of persons being processed into the jail without limitation on the number of persons who can see, hear or observe the searches. Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants improperly strip searched detainees who had been ordered released.

On July 17, 2008, Defendants filed a joint motion for summary adjudication regarding liability of entities and individuals as to group strip searches. Defendants contend that the group strip searches at issue do not violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. In addition, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' equal protection claim and state law claims fail as a matter of law.

On June 17, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, seeking certification of two classes--the Post-Release Class and the Group Strip Search Class.



On November 7, 2008, Defendants filed a second joint motion for summary adjudication regarding court returnees, qualified immunity and Eleventh Amendment immunity. Defendants contend that (1) the searches of certain Plaintiffs who assert that their constitutional rights were violated when they were subjected to strip searches after returning to the jail following a court appearance in which they were ordered released were reasonable; (2) Defendants are immune from liability because the law was not clearly established that searching post-arraignment detainees in small groups violates Plaintiffs' rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and violates the Equal Protection Clause; (3) the Sheriff is a state actor and immune from a § 1983 suit; and (4) the County should be dismissed from the action.

On November 7, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment and/or summary adjudication. Plaintiffs sought a determination that (1) KCSD's policy of strip searching persons ordered released from custody violated the Fourth Amendment; (2) KCSD's policy of group strip searching prisoners violated the Fourth Amendment; (3) the strip search policies violated Plaintiffs' state constitutional rights pursuant to Cal. Const. Art. I, § 1 (privacy), Cal. Const. Art. I, § 13 (unreasonable searches) and Cal. Const. Art. I, § 7 (equal protection); and (4) the entity defendants are liable under federal and state law.

On March 31, 2009, in a published order, the Court (Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck) granted in part and denied in part the parties' motions for partial summary judgment/summary adjudication and on April 01, 2009, certified the two putative Plaintiff classes.

Plaintiffs and Defendants sought interlocutory appeals to the Ninth Circuit. However, pursuant to the stipulation of the parties and the supplemental letter filed by counsel on January 21, 2011, these consolidated appeals were voluntarily dismissed without prejudice. On January 21, 2011, the parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a class settlement in the District Court.

On February 23, 2011, the District Court preliminarily approved the Settlement Agreement. In a nutshell, the Settlement Agreement provides that: (1) each Post-Release Class Member who files a claim shall receive $1500; (2) each Group Strip Search Class Member shall receive $200; (3) Post-Release Class Members may receive an additional $750 if s/he was subjected to a second such search during the class period; (4) the class payment figures are subject to certain aggregate maximums to be paid each class (totaling approximately $4,350,000 for the two classes combined), after which payments would be prorated; (5) Defendants shall separately pay $30,000 to each of the three named plaintiffs, pay the cost of class administration, pay class counsel costs not to exceed $65,000, and pay class counsel attorneys' fees of $2 million.

On August 31, 2011, the District Court issued a final order to approve the Settlement. On September 02, 2011, the District Court awarded the class counsels attorneys' fees in the amount of $2 million, and costs in the amount of $44,393.60.

(Updated on April 21, 2012)

Xin Chen - 04/21/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Kern
Kern County Jail
Kern County Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs represent a class of persons who were forced to undergo unlawful strip and/or visual body cavity searches in Kern County’s jails which are operated, maintained and under the control of the County and the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
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 Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
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)
1:07−cv−00474 (E.D. Cal.) 09/02/2011
JC-CA-0063-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Damages 03/27/2007
JC-CA-0063-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Damages 06/21/2007
JC-CA-0063-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Class Certification 06/17/2008
JC-CA-0063-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants Joint Motion for Summary Adjudication; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Summary Adjudication 07/17/2008
JC-CA-0063-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Joint Motion for Summary Adjudication Regarding Court Returnees, Qualified Immunity and Eleventh Amendment Immunity 11/07/2008
JC-CA-0063-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and/or Summary Adjudication 11/07/2008
JC-CA-0063-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Orders re: Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment; Defendants' Joint Motion for Summary Adjudication; Defendants' Joint Motion for Summary Adjudication re: Court Returnees, Qualified Immunity and 11th Amendment Immunity 03/31/2009 (609 F.Supp.2d 1125) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint 03/31/2009 (2009 WL 900727) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification/Denying as Moot Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike/Setting Status Conference 04/01/2009 (2009 WL 909817) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0001 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Entry of Judgment on Specified Claims and Certification for Appeal and Application for Stay 04/28/2009
JC-CA-0063-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Regarding Motion for Entry of Judgment on Specified Claims and Certification of Claims for Appeal 07/01/2009 (2009 WL 1924788) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0011 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Approval Order 02/23/2011 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Action Settlement Agreement Presented to the Court for Preliminary Approval 02/23/2011
JC-CA-0063-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order of Approval and Settlement 08/31/2011 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0063-0014 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Beck, Dennis L. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0063-0001 | JC-CA-0063-0002 | JC-CA-0063-0003 | JC-CA-0063-0011 | JC-CA-0063-0012 | JC-CA-0063-0014 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cassidy, Terence J (California)
JC-CA-0063-0007 | JC-CA-0063-0008 | JC-CA-0063-0010 | JC-CA-0063-0013 | JC-CA-0063-9000 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Cook, Donald W. (California)
JC-CA-0063-0004 | JC-CA-0063-0005 | JC-CA-0063-0006 | JC-CA-0063-0009 | JC-CA-0063-0013
Estuar, Paul J. (California)
JC-CA-0063-0004 | JC-CA-0063-0005 | JC-CA-0063-0006 | JC-CA-0063-0009 | JC-CA-0063-0013 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Litt, Barrett S. (California)
JC-CA-0063-0004 | JC-CA-0063-0005 | JC-CA-0063-0006 | JC-CA-0063-0009 | JC-CA-0063-0013 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Mann, Robert Frederick (California)
JC-CA-0063-0004 | JC-CA-0063-0005 | JC-CA-0063-0006 | JC-CA-0063-0009 | JC-CA-0063-0013
Defendant's Lawyers Hall, Kristina M. (California)
JC-CA-0063-0007 | JC-CA-0063-0008 | JC-CA-0063-0013
Nations, Mark Lloyd (California)
JC-CA-0063-0013 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Thurston, Jennifer Leigh (California)
JC-CA-0063-0007 | JC-CA-0063-0008 | JC-CA-0063-0010 | JC-CA-0063-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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