On May 8, 2003, an individual mistakenly arrested on an erroneous warrant filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated by the Sheriff of Will County in that he had been unlawfully detained at the Will County Jail after being ordered released by a judge. On August 8, 2003, an amended complaint was filed, adding a second named plaintiff and adding Will County, Illinois as a defendant. The amended complaint also added allegations challenging the Jail's shackling and strip search policies and seeking class certification. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff's "strip search/ shackling" policy deprived them of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and sought certification of two subclasses: (1) all persons who were handcuffed, shackled, and strip searched at the Will County Jail after being ordered to be immediately released by a judge; and (2) all individuals who were held at the Will County Jail on a recalled or already executed warrant issued after they complained that they were being wrongfully held in custody. Plaintiffs sought class certification, declaratory judgment, compensatory damages, and costs. A second amended complaint adding a third named plaintiff was filed on February 12, 2004.
On May 12, 2004, the District Court (Judge Robert W. Gettleman) certified the case as a class action, establishing two subclasses: (1) all individuals who, between May 8, 2001 and the date of the judgment, were arrested for failure to appear in a misdemeanor or traffic case and, who, upon arrival at the Will County Jail, were strip searched without any individualized finding of reasonable suspicion or probable cause that he or she was concealing contraband or weapons (the "post-arrest strip search" subclass); and (2) all traffic or misdemeanor arrestees who, between May 8, 2001 and the date of the judgment, became entitled to release from the Will County Jail, and who, while being processed out of the Sheriff's custody, were strip searched without any individualized finding of reasonable suspicion that he or she was concealing contraband or weapons (the "post-release strip search" subclass). The court refused to certify a third subclass consisting of those arrested on "bad warrants" because it found that the numerosity requirement had not been met. Calvin v. Sheriff of Will County, 2004 WL 1125922, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8717 (N.D.Ill. May 12, 2004).
Plaintiffs subsequently moved for summary judgment. On December 16, 2005, the District Court (Judge Gettleman) granted the Plaintiffs' motion, holding that both (1) the blanket policy of strip searching persons arrested for failure to appear in misdemeanor or traffic cases, and (2) the blanket policy of strip searching persons who were returned to jail for processing after being ordered released on traffic or misdemeanor charges violated Fourth Amendment. Calvin v. Sheriff of Will County, 405 F.Supp.2d 933 (N.D.Ill. Dec 16, 2005). On April 14, 2006, the Court, at the request of Defendants, amended its December 16 order to make it immediately appealable. Calvin v. Sheriff of Will County, 2006 WL 1005141, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27341 (N.D.Ill. Apr 14, 2006).
While the case was on interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the parties settled the lawsuit. Under the Settlement Agreement, Will County agreed to pay $2.15 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 40% of the total payout. Each of the three named plaintiffs was to receive $25,000 as an incentive payment. The remainder of the fund would be used to pay class claims. It was anticipated that each class member would receive about $700.
On September 20, 2006, the District Court (Judge Virginia M. Kendall) preliminarily approved the settlement. After holding a November 17, 2006 fairness hearing, the Court issued a November 27, 2006 order finally approving the settlement. Subsequent proceedings established the procedure for the final distribution of settlement funds. No further proceedings are apparent from the docket.Dan Dalton - 03/02/2008