University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Gary v. Sheahan JC-IL-0007
Docket / Court 1:96-cv-07294 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On November 7, 1996, on behalf of two named plaintiffs, Chicago attorney Thomas G. Morrissey filed a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging the Cook County Sheriff's policy of strip searching female ... read more >
On November 7, 1996, on behalf of two named plaintiffs, Chicago attorney Thomas G. Morrissey filed a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging the Cook County Sheriff's policy of strip searching female pretrial detainees upon returning to the Cook County Jail from court after there had been a judicial determination that there was no longer a basis for their detention, other than to be processed for release. Plaintiffs alleged that the searches violated their rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Illinois state law. They sought monetary damages, injunctive relief and class certification.

On March 17, 1997, the District Court (District Judge David H. Coar) entered a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the Sheriff's alleged strip search practice. The case was certified as a class action on April 10, 1997, with the class defined as: "All female inmates who have been or will be subjected to a strip search at the Cook County Department of Corrections (Jail) upon returning to the Jail from court after there is a judicial determination that there is no longer a basis for their detention, other than to be processed for release."

Litigation in the case continued over the next 5 years, with the District Court issuing a number of mostly electronically-published opinions. These include Gary v. Sheahan, 1997 WL 201590 (N.D. Ill. Apr 18, 1997) (granting the Sheriff's motion to dismiss in part as to plaintiffs' claims under the Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Amendment); Gary v. Sheahan, 1998 WL 245875 (N.D. Ill. May 04, 1998) (NO. 96 C 7294) (denying plaintiffs' motion to show cause to hold the Sheriff in contempt for violating the preliminary injunction); Gary v. Sheahan, 1998 WL 249225 (N.D. Ill. May 04, 1998) (denying motion to bar plaintiffs from taking Sheriff Sheahan's deposition); Gary v. Sheahan, 1998 WL 547116 (N.D. Ill. Aug 20, 1998) (granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on their Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim and Fourth Amendment search and seizure claim); Gary v. Sheahan, 1999 WL 703628 (N.D. Ill. Aug 26, 1999) (awarding plaintiffs interim attorneys' fees in the amount of $367,539.08 and costs of $56,434.80); Gary v. Sheahan, 1999 WL 281347 (N.D. Ill. Mar 31, 1999) (denying the Sheriff's motion to decertify the class) (the Sheriff's appeal of this denial was dismissed as untimely in Gary v. Sheahan, 188 F.3d 891 (7th Cir. 1999) (Circuit Judge Frank H. Easterbrook)); Gary v. Sheahan, 1999 WL 1021040 (N.D. Ill. Nov 03, 1999) (entering permanent injunction prohibiting the Sheriff from strip searching female inmate court returnees who have been judicially discharged from the Cook County Department of Corrections); Gary v. Sheahan, 2000 WL 889785 (N.D. Ill. Jun 26, 2000) (granting plaintiffs interim attorneys' fees in the amount of $257,786 .60 and costs of $26,412.05); Gary v. Sheahan, 2001 WL 1155087 (N.D. Ill. Sep 27, 2001) (award of $183,372.43 in interim fees and $64,462.97 in interim costs); and Gary v. Sheahan, 2001 WL 1543514 (N.D. Ill. Nov 30, 2001) (awarding plaintiffs' attorneys fees in the amount of three million dollars and an award of costs in the amount of $45,398.81 for work in the cases Gary v. Sheahan, 96 C 7294; Wilkes v. Sheahan, 01 C 1592; Wells v. Sheahan, 95 C 5918; and Quarrels v. Sheahan, 96 C 1215, less the credit due defendant of $875,337.35 for prior payments of interim attorneys' fees)

The case was ultimately settled in 2001 for $6.8825 million. Of that amount, 6 class representative were to receive incentive payments of $25,000 each. Cook County agreed to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees as ordered by the Court, in addition to the $6.8825 million.

The Court preliminarily approved the settlement on July 18, 2001 and issued an order of final judgment after a fairness hearing on September 18, 2001. Settlement disbursement continued through the end of 2002. We have no information about further activity in the case.

Dan Dalton - 03/03/2008


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Cook County Department of Corrections
Cook County Sheriff's Dept.
Plaintiff Description All female inmates who have been or will be subjected to a strip search at the Cook County Department of Corrections (Jail) upon returning to the Jail from court after there is a judicial determination that there is no longer a basis for their detention.
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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1997 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-IL-0008 : Wilkes v. Sheahan (N.D. Ill.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
97-1802 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 06/15/1998
JC-IL-0007-9001.pdf | Detail
89-2244 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 03/01/1999
JC-IL-0007-9002.pdf | Detail
99-3443 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 06/16/2000
JC-IL-0007-9003.pdf | Detail
00-3600 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 06/28/2001
JC-IL-0007-9005.pdf | Detail
99-4039 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 03/20/2002
JC-IL-0007-9004.pdf | Detail
1:96-cv-07294 (N.D. Ill.) 04/13/2005
JC-IL-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 04/18/1997 (1997 WL 201590 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 5270) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 05/04/1998 (1998 WL 245875 / 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7179) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 05/04/1998 (1998 WL 249225 / 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7295) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 08/20/1998 (1998 WL 547116 / 1998 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13378) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 03/31/1999 (1999 WL 281347 / 1999 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 5616) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 08/19/1999 (188 F.3d 891)
JC-IL-0007-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 10/07/1999 (1999 U.S.App.LEXIS 25192)
JC-IL-0007-0017.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/03/1999 (1999 WL 1021040 / 1999 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17305) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 06/23/2000 (2000 WL 889785) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Approval Order 07/18/2001 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment 09/18/2001 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 09/26/2001 (2001 WL 1155087) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Emergency Motion to Enforce Settlement 11/28/2001
JC-IL-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/30/2001 (2001 WL 1543514) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Emergency Motion to Enforce Settlement 12/26/2001
JC-IL-0007-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion of Defendant for Permission to Stop Payment on Certain Settlement Drafts 02/20/2002
JC-IL-0007-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/22/2002 (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Coar, David H. (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0007-0001 | JC-IL-0007-0002 | JC-IL-0007-0003 | JC-IL-0007-0005 | JC-IL-0007-0006 | JC-IL-0007-0007 | JC-IL-0007-0008 | JC-IL-0007-0009 | JC-IL-0007-0011 | JC-IL-0007-0012 | JC-IL-0007-0013 | JC-IL-0007-0014 | JC-IL-0007-0015 | JC-IL-0007-0016 | JC-IL-0007-9000
Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Seventh Circuit)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-0017
Evans, Terence Thomas (Seventh Circuit, E.D. Wis.)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-0017
Guzman, Ronald A. (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
JC-IL-0007-0005 | JC-IL-0007-0008
Wood, Diane Pamela (Seventh Circuit)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-0017
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Farley, Robert Hugh Jr. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0002 | JC-IL-0007-0005 | JC-IL-0007-0007 | JC-IL-0007-9000 | JC-IL-0007-9002 | JC-IL-0007-9004 | JC-IL-0007-9005
Morrissey, Thomas Gerard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0002 | JC-IL-0007-0004 | JC-IL-0007-0005 | JC-IL-0007-0007 | JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-9000 | JC-IL-0007-9001 | JC-IL-0007-9002 | JC-IL-0007-9003 | JC-IL-0007-9004
Defendant's Lawyers Burnham, Thomas M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0008
Castiglione, Paul Anthony (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-9000
Devine, Richard Arthur (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-9001
Driscoll, Patrick T. Jr. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0004
Jacobs, Michael David (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-0010 | JC-IL-0007-9000 | JC-IL-0007-9001 | JC-IL-0007-9002 | JC-IL-0007-9003 | JC-IL-0007-9004 | JC-IL-0007-9005
Kennedy, John Francis (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9000 | JC-IL-0007-9002
McDonald, Terry L. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9000
Meyerson, David S. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9000 | JC-IL-0007-9001
Moser, Patricia M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9000
Quinlan, William R. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9000
Other Lawyers O'Connell, James C. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0007-9005

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -