On April 17, 1987, a female arrestee filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging the constitutionality of the strip-search policy of Calumet City, Illinois. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that the Calumet City Police Department policy of strip-searching women who had been arrested for non-felony offenses, without any particularized belief that the arrestee possessed either a weapon or contraband violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as applied to state actors via the Fourteenth Amendment. On September 4, 1987, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint which added class action allegations.
The class certification issue was effected by the question of whether the §1983 statute of limitations period was two years or five years. On October 1, 1987, the District Court (Judge Milton Shadur) certified the case as a class action, conditionally defining the class as all women who had been arrested on a misdemeanor or ordinance violation in Calumet City, Illinois on or after April 17, 1982. The class, so defined, would consist of all women arrested less than five years before the action was brought. On February 6, 1989, the District Court (Judge Shadur) finally determined that the five-year limitation period applied and, therefore, permanently re-confirmed the five-year plaintiff class. Doe v. Calumet City, Ill., 707 F.Supp. 343 (N.D.Ill. 1989).
Following the District Court's re-confirmation of the five-year class, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Kalimara v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 879 F.2d 276, 277 (7th Cir. 1989), established that the limitations period under §1983 was two years rather than five years. In response, the District Court (Judge Shadur), on September 19, 1989, modified its prior certification of the plaintiff class by substituting a starting date of April 17, 1985 in place of April 17, 1982. Plaintiffs, however, immediately filed a motion for reconsideration on grounds that the District Court, in its September 19 opinion, had made an error of reasoning in applying the relation-back doctrine because, at the time the Complaint was filed, a five-year statute of limitations period applied for Illinois-grounded §1983 actions. The Court (Judge Shadur) reconsidered the matter and, concluding that Plaintiffs were correct, let stand its prior certification of the five year-class with an opening-class date of April 17, 1982. Doe v. Calumet City, Ill., 128 F.R.D. 93 (N.D.Ill. 1989).
Following resolution of the class certification issue, Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability. Judge Shadur granted Plaintiffs' motion on December 12, 1990. Doe v. Calumet City, Ill., 754 F.Supp. 1211 (N.D.Ill. 1990). Plaintiffs then moved for an award of interim attorneys fees in the amount of $300,000. Judge Shadur granted the fee request on February 15, 1991. Doe v. Calumet City, 1991 WL 22537 (N.D.Ill. Feb 15, 1991).
Settlement negotiations followed and the parties arrived at a Settlement Agreement. Under the Agreement, Calumet City agreed to pay $6.013 million into a common fund to settle all claims for damages, expenses, and attorneys' fees. Attorneys' fees and expenses were to be paid from the fund and were not to exceed 30% of the total. The remainder of the fund would be used to pay class claims based on an agreed distribution formula. The amount paid to each individual would depend on the intrusiveness of the search to which the individual was allegedly subjected. Individual awards were anticipated to range from $3000 to $24,000. The Court preliminarily approved the settlement on September 10, 1993 and, after conducting an October 22, 1993 fairness hearing, issued a final order of approval.
The Court thereafter issued several post settlement rulings resolving issues relating to the claims of individual members of the plaintiff class. See Doe v. Calumet City, Ill., 1993 WL 157602 (N.D.Ill. May 12, 1993) (denying request to reverse the exclusion of certain class members from participation in the damages) and Doe v. Calumet City, Ill., 1993 WL 512788 (N.D.Ill. Dec 9, 1993) (responding to complaint from individual about lack of notice of the settlement). According to the docket, the last of such proceedings was resolved in 1994. No further proceedings are currently underway.Dan Dalton - 03/01/2008