University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bull v. City and County of San Francisco JC-CA-0007
Docket / Court 3:03-cv-01840-CRB ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On April 23, 2003, nine plaintiffs, acting through private attorneys, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the strip search policy of the City and County of San Francisco ("CCSF"). Specifically, Plaintiffs ... read more >
On April 23, 2003, nine plaintiffs, acting through private attorneys, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the strip search policy of the City and County of San Francisco ("CCSF"). Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that, under CCSF policy, all prisoners who were placed in the general jail population at the CCSF's jails were subjected to strip and visual body cavity searches, with those refusing to consent being placed naked in "cold rooms." Plaintiffs complained that this policy violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as several provisions of California state law.

Although Defendants generally denied the allegations, the policy at issue was discontinued by the Sheriff on January 21, 2004.

On June 10, 2004, the District Court certified a plaintiff class consisting of all persons who were arrested "on any charge not involving weapons, controlled substances, or a charge of violence, and not involving a violation of parole or a violation of probation (where consent to search is a condition of such probation), and who were subjected to a blanket visual body cavity strip search by defendants before arraignment at a San Francisco County jail facility without any individualized reasonable suspicion that they were concealing contraband."

Discovery followed and the Court was called upon to resolve several discovery disputes. See Bull v. City and County of San Francisco, 2003 WL 23857823 (N.D.Cal. Oct 27, 2003); Bull v. City and County of San Francisco, 2005 WL 40072 (N.D.Cal. Jan 05, 2005).

On June 24, 2005, Plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment with respect to the issue of whether the Sheriff's blanket policy of subjecting certain categories of plaintiff-arrestees to pre-arraignment strip searches, violated the Fourth Amendment. Defendants opposed Plaintiffs' motion and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing, in part, that the Sheriff was entitled to the defense of qualified immunity. The District Court issued a September 22, 2005 Memorandum and Order, which it subsequently amended on February 23, 2006, in order to grant in part and deny in part both parties' motions for summary judgment.

Specifically, the Court found that Defendants' former blanket policy of conducting strip searches without regard to individualized suspicion was unconstitutional as applied to members of the plaintiff-class who were (a) classified for housing in the general jail population; (b) probation violators for whom consent to search was not a condition of probation; or (c) certain categories of safety-cell detainees. With regard to the Defendants' former policy of strip searching (a) arrestees with a criminal history relating to drugs, weapons or violence; (b) arrestees who were transferred to or from other jurisdictions; or (c) certain other types of safety-cell detainees, however, the Court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that such searches were justified under the reasonable suspicion standard. The court also granted the Sheriff's motion for qualified immunity with regard to safety cell searches, criminal history searches, and consent searches but denied the motion with regard to classification searches. The Court also dismissed the claims of named plaintiffs Jonah Zern and Marcie Corneau, because it determined that the violent nature of their crimes provided reasonable suspicion for their strip searches. Bull v. City & County of San Francisco, 2006 WL 449148 (N.D.Cal. Feb 23, 2006).

The defendants filed an appeal, but lost in the 9th Circuit in an opinion by Circuit Judge Sydney Thomas. 539 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 2008). Judge Tallman dissented; Judge Ikuta concurred, noting his "grave concern" that the holding, though compelled by prior 9th Circuit case law, stood in tension with Supreme Court precedent and might endanger the safety of people in the jail system subject to harm by jail contraband.

On a petition for rehearing, the Court vacated the panel's decision and set the case for reargument before 11 judges. 558 F.3d 887 (9th Cir. 2009). Argument occurred in March 2009.

On February 9, 2010, the 9th Circuit issued its opinion en banc, holding that the San Francisco strip search policy was reasonable and did not violate the class members' Fourth Amendment rights. The case was held in abeyance, pending the United States Supreme Court's decision in Florence v. County of Burlington (posted in the Clearinghouse as JC-NJ-0022.)

On April 2, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court in Florence held that a blanket policy of strip searching detainees does not violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments, whether or not there is reasonable suspicion that the detainee is concealing contraband, and regardless of the severity of the charges under which he or she is being held. Florence v. Burlington County, 132 S.Ct. 1510 (2012). In their April 19th Joint Case Management Statement, the parties debated the scope of this decision's impact on the present case.

After a status conference, the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero for settlement on April 20, 2012. On June 14, 2012, the Court approved a stipulation to extend the plaintiff's deadline for filing a motion to redefine the class until September 15, 2012. After deciding that the Supreme Court's decision in Florence was not applicable to this case, the parties settled, and on June 28, 2013, the Court dismissed the case and approved the settlement agreement. The agreement required defendants to pay $450,000 to plaintiffs and to pay for the cost of notifying the class of the dismissal. Though one member of the class objected to the settlement, as of July 5, 2014, there has been no other activity after the dismissal.

Timothy Shoffner - 06/17/2012
Maurice Youkanna - 07/05/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of San Francisco
County of San Francisco
San Francisco County Sheriff's Department
San Francisco County Sheriff's Deputies
Plaintiff Description All persons who from 2/10/00 - present were arrested and subjected to a pre-arraignment strip search at the San Francisco Jail without defendants having a reasonable suspicion that the search would be productive of contraband or weapons.
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 2013
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing JC-CA-0022 : Flick v. San Francisco, California (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0051 : Yourke v. City & County of San Francisco (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0110 : Amador v. Baca (C.D. Cal.)
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)
3:03-cv-01840-CRB (N.D. Cal.) 04/04/2013
JC-CA-0007-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 04/23/2003
JC-CA-0007-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Compel Production of Documents and Denying Motion for Protective Order 10/27/2003 (2003 WL 23857823) (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0027 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
First Amended Class Action Complaint 01/12/2004
JC-CA-0007-0014 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Compel Interrogatory No. 1 and Denying Interrogatory No. 9 and Production of Documents No. 5, Set One 01/13/2004 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Request for Preliminary Injunction 01/21/2004
JC-CA-0007-0004 PDF | Detail
Cross Complaint by Defendants [] for Declaratory Relief 01/22/2004
JC-CA-0007-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Class Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 01/22/2004
JC-CA-0007-0006 PDF | Detail
Defendants' Notice of Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum of Points and Authorities 03/05/2004
JC-CA-0007-0007 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on Cross-Complaint for Declaratory Judgment 03/19/2004
JC-CA-0007-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction 03/19/2004
JC-CA-0007-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Responses to Interrogatories 04/15/2004 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum & Order 06/10/2004 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plantiffs' Second Motion to Compel Responses to Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions 01/05/2005 (2005 WL 40072) (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0028 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendant Sheriff Michael Hennessey's Motion for Partial Summary RE: Qualified Immunity 08/12/2005
JC-CA-0007-0011 PDF | Detail
Memorandum and Order RE: Motions for Summary Judgment 09/22/2005 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Memorandum and Order RE: Motions for Summary Judgment 02/23/2006 (2006 WL 449148 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 9120) (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0013 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 08/22/2008 (539 F.3d 1193)
JC-CA-0007-0017 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Defendants'/Appellants' Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc 10/03/2008
JC-CA-0007-0018 PDF | Detail
Application for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Appellant's Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc 10/10/2008
JC-CA-0007-0019 PDF | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae California State Association of Counties and League of California Cities in Support of the Petition for Panel Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Submitted by the City and County of San Francisco 10/15/2008
JC-CA-0007-0020 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs'/Appellees' Response to Defendants'/Appellants' Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc 11/20/2008
JC-CA-0007-0021 PDF | Detail
Opinion (9th Circuit en banc) 02/09/2010 (595 F.3d 964)
JC-CA-0007-0022 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Opinion 04/02/2012 (132 S.Ct. 1510 / 182 L.Ed.2d 566)
JC-CA-0007-0023 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Joint Status Conference Report 04/20/2012
JC-CA-0007-0024 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement & Full and Final Release 03/20/2013
JC-CA-0007-0025 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
NOTICE OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE OF CLASS ACTION AGAINST THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO 03/20/2013
JC-CA-0007-0026 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Dismissing Class Claims and Approving Stipulated Settlement] 06/28/2013 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0029 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0007-0010 | JC-CA-0007-0012 | JC-CA-0007-0013 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0029 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Chen, Edward Milton (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0016 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Ikuta, Sandra Segal (Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0022
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS)
JC-CA-0007-0023
Tallman, Richard C. (FISCR, Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0007-0017
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0007-0017
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Liberty, Micha Star (California)
JC-CA-0007-0008
Merin, Mark E. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0001 | JC-CA-0007-0004 | JC-CA-0007-0008 | JC-CA-0007-0011 | JC-CA-0007-0014 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0018 | JC-CA-0007-0021 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0024 | JC-CA-0007-0025 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California)
JC-CA-0007-0004 | JC-CA-0007-0008 | JC-CA-0007-0011 | JC-CA-0007-0014 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0021 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0024 | JC-CA-0007-0025 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Schwarzschild, Jeffrey I. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0001 | JC-CA-0007-0008 | JC-CA-0007-0011 | JC-CA-0007-0014 | JC-CA-0007-0018 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Seaton, Thomas Andrew (California)
JC-CA-0007-0004 | JC-CA-0007-0008 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0022
Williams, Cathleen A. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0011 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0022
Defendant's Lawyers Bonta, Robert A. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0005 | JC-CA-0007-0006 | JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0018 | JC-CA-0007-0021 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0024 | JC-CA-0007-0025 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Choi, Jennifer E. (California)
JC-CA-0007-9000
Evans, Ingrid M. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0005 | JC-CA-0007-0006 | JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Herrera, Dennis J. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0005 | JC-CA-0007-0006 | JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0018 | JC-CA-0007-0021 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0024
Hoeper, Joanne (California)
JC-CA-0007-0005 | JC-CA-0007-0006 | JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0021 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0024
Kaiser, Sherri Sokeland (California)
JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Katz, Rebecca Lynn (California)
JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Newdorf, David Blake (California)
JC-CA-0007-0005 | JC-CA-0007-0007 | JC-CA-0007-0009 | JC-CA-0007-0015 | JC-CA-0007-0017 | JC-CA-0007-0022 | JC-CA-0007-0027 | JC-CA-0007-0028 | JC-CA-0007-9000
Other Lawyers Haddad, Michael J. (California)
JC-CA-0007-9000
Henning, Jennifer B. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0019 | JC-CA-0007-0020 | JC-CA-0007-0021
Mayer, Martin J. (California)
JC-CA-0007-0021

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