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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McDaniel v. Schenectady County JC-NY-0027
Docket / Court 1:04-cv-00757-GLS-RFT ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On June 29, 2004, two females who, earlier, had been arrested for misdemeanors and now were represented, for civil case purposes, by private attorneys from Washington, D.C. and New York, filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North ... read more >
On June 29, 2004, two females who, earlier, had been arrested for misdemeanors and now were represented, for civil case purposes, by private attorneys from Washington, D.C. and New York, filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North District of New York. They alleged that the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department had an unconstitutional blanket policy and/or practice of strip searching all individuals who entered the Schenectady County Jail, including those charged with misdemeanors or held on civil matters, regardless of the crime for which they were charged and without reasonable suspicion to believe that the individuals were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiffs alleged that the policy violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and class certification for the thousands of individuals that suffered the same alleged indignities. Defendants, the County and the Sheriff, answered by generally denying all allegations.

The case was assigned to District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe.

A settlement conference was held on May 17, 2005 before Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece. The case was not immediately settled and discovery continued. Defendants moved to dismiss the claims of one of the named plaintiffs, Nichole McDaniel, alleging that she failed to appear for scheduled depositions on numerous occasions. Magistrate Judge Treece recommended that her claims be dismissed and that, should the case settle, the Court would decide whether to forfeit any class claim she had. McDaniel v. County of Schenectady, 2005 WL 1745566 (N.D. N.Y. Jul 21, 2005). In November 2005, the Court (Judge Gary L. Sharpe) entered an order staying all activity in the case pending ongoing settlement negotiations. The stay order was continued several times until the case was ultimately settled.

On November 29, 2006, the Court preliminarily approved the parties' Settlement Agreement and, later, set the matter for a fairness hearing on August 14, 2007. Final approval was granted on November 5, 2007, on all issues except attorneys' fees. Instead of awarding 26% of the settlement as fees, the Court awarded class counsel payment for the time spent at the hourly rates traditionally charged in their native jurisdiction. McDaniel v. County of Schenectady, 2007 WL 3274798 (N.D. N.Y. Nov 05, 2007).

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, as approved, Schenectady County agreed to institute an appropriate strip search policy and pay $2.5 million into a settlement fund to resolve all class claims. From the fund, the Court awarded class counsel attorneys' fees in the amount of $343,744.50 and reimbursement of pre-settlement litigation expenses of $10,053.31. The sum of $296,202.19 (the disputed amount of attorneys' fees) was ordered to be placed into an escrow account by the Settlement Administrator, pending further litigation. The Court approved $12,000 and $1,500 to class representatives for a total of $13,500 in incentive awards. Administration expenses and costs in the amount of $107,233.40 were granted.

Dan Dalton - 02/26/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Schenectady
County of Schenectady
Plaintiff Description Persons who were placed into the custody of the Schenectady County Jail from 6/29/2001 through 06/29/2005, after being charged with misdemeanors, violations, traffic violations, violations of probation or parole, etc., and were strip searched.
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
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)
1:04-cv-00757-GLS-RFT (N.D.N.Y.) 05/05/2011
JC-NY-0027-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 06/29/2004
JC-NY-0027-0001 PDF | Detail
Protective Order 01/11/2005 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0002 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Law 01/31/2005
JC-NY-0027-0007 PDF | Detail
Order [re: Various Discovery Motions] 02/09/2005 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0003 PDF | Detail
Report-Recommendation and Order 07/21/2005 (2005 WL 1745566 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 14852) (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0017 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Motion Hearing Minutes 09/29/2005
JC-NY-0027-0008 PDF | Detail
Notice of Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (with attached exhibits) 08/18/2006
JC-NY-0027-0009 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement 08/18/2006
JC-NY-0027-0010 PDF | Detail
[Brief] 09/12/2006
JC-NY-0027-0011 PDF | Detail
Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement 10/25/2006 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0004 PDF | Detail
In-Court Conference Minutes 11/22/2006
JC-NY-0027-0012 PDF | Detail
Amended Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement 11/29/2006 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0005 PDF | Detail
Order 04/12/2007 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0013 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement [Includes Terms of Settlement] 07/24/2007
JC-NY-0027-0006 PDF | Detail
Decision and Order 11/05/2007 (2007 WL 3274798) (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER 02/27/2009 (2009 WL 499536) (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/05/2011 (N.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0027-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sharpe, Gary L. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
JC-NY-0027-0004 | JC-NY-0027-0005 | JC-NY-0027-0013 | JC-NY-0027-0014 | JC-NY-0027-0015 | JC-NY-0027-0016 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Treece, Randolph F. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
JC-NY-0027-0002 | JC-NY-0027-0003 | JC-NY-0027-0017 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barnett, Alexander E. (New York)
JC-NY-0027-0006
Cuneo, Jonathan W. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0002 | JC-NY-0027-0003 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0008 | JC-NY-0027-0009 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-0012 | JC-NY-0027-0017 | JC-NY-0027-9000
LaDuca, Charles Joseph (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Menken, Bruce E. (New York)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Rozger, Jason J. (New York)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0006 | JC-NY-0027-0008 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Schneider, Charles A. (District of Columbia)
JC-NY-0027-0001 | JC-NY-0027-0010 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Greagan, William J. (New York)
JC-NY-0027-0002 | JC-NY-0027-0003 | JC-NY-0027-0007 | JC-NY-0027-0008 | JC-NY-0027-0009 | JC-NY-0027-0011 | JC-NY-0027-0012 | JC-NY-0027-0017 | JC-NY-0027-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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