On October 9, 2009, an inmate of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (WVRJA) filed a class-action lawsuit against the WVRJA and the executive director of the facility under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Huntington Division.
The plaintiff claimed that after his arrest on non-felony charges, he was taken to Western Regional Jail and required to undergo a visual cavity strip search and delousing pursuant to a WVRJA policy. Plaintiff argues that this strip search and delousing policy as applied to pretrial detainees charged with misdemeanors or other minor crimes is unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiff brings this action on behalf of himself and others similarly situated seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees and costs.
On October 28, 2009, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the action. On August 05, 2010, Judge Robert C. Chambers denied the defendants' motion to dismiss.
Discovery proceeded in this case until June 1, 2011, when Judge Chambers signed the parties’ proposed stipulation to stay further proceedings in this matter until after the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders
, another strip search case in a jail setting. The court's decision in Florence
, delivered on April 12, 2012, held that correctional officials have a significant interest in searching detainees to ensure they are not bringing any contraband into a facility, even when detainees are held for minor offenses.
On September 13, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint and the parties proceeded with discovery. On August 12, 2013, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgement. On August 27, 2013, the plaintiffs responded with a cross-motion for summary judgement. On October 4, 2013, Judge Robert C. Chambers released an order granting the defendant's motion for summary judgement and denying the plaintiff's. Judge Chambers ruled that based on the precedent set in Florence
, defendant's strip search and delousing of plaintiff was not unconstitutional, and in doing so denied plaintiff's class-action certification. The case is now closed. Xin Chen - 05/09/2011
Kat Brausch - 03/20/2016