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Case Name Schaffer v. Alameda County JC-CA-0029
Docket / Court 06-00310 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On January 17, 2006, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging Alameda County's policies and practices concerning strip searches in Alameda County jails. Specifically, ... read more >
On January 17, 2006, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging Alameda County's policies and practices concerning strip searches in Alameda County jails. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that he was subjected to a group strip search prior to arraignment and in the absence of any reasonable suspicion of contraband or weapons. Plaintiff alleged that such a practice violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution as well as California state law. To remedy the alleged violations, Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, and class certification.

The District Court (Judge Maxine M. Chesney) held an initial scheduling conference and submitted the case to the Court's alternative dispute resolution program. Mediation was held on November 28, 2006, but did not produce a settlement. Through subsequent negotiations, the parties eventually settled.

Following a November 16, 2007 fairness hearing, the District Court approved the class action settlement. Under the settlement, two separate classes of claimants were created: (1) those booked into the Santa Rita Jail from 1/17/04 to 12/31/06 who were strip searched in groups; and (2) those booked into Santa Rita Jail or Glenn Dyer Jail from 1/17/04 to 12/31/06 on charges not involving violence, drugs, or weapons who were strip searched, except for those who were required to submit to such searches as a condition of parole or probation. Defendants agreed to pay a maximum of $6.15 million to settle all claims of both classes. Of that sum, $1.175 million went to class counsel Mark Merin for attorneys' fees. Up to $275,000 was allocated for the costs of claims administration. Finally, a total of $4.7 million would be used to pay individual claims, based on an agreed distribution formula.

Timothy Shoffner - 06/12/2012


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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
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) Alameda County Sheriff's Department
County of Alameda
Plaintiff Description Class 1: Arrestees booked into Santa Rita Jail during 1/17/04-12/31/06 who underwent a GROUP SEARCH prior to arraignment. Class 2: Arrestees booked into Santa Rita or Glenn Dyer Jails during 1/17/04-8/31/06 on a non-VDW Felony or Misdemeanor Offense who underwent an ILLEGAL SEARCH prior to arraignment, except those who had been arrested in the 5 years prior on a VDW Felony or Misdemeanor Offense, or who were required to submit to a search of their person as a condition of parole/probation.
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 n/a
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)
3:06-cv-00310-MMC (N.D. Cal.) 06/20/2007
JC-CA-0029-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 01/17/2006
JC-CA-0029-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Stipulation of Settlement 06/18/2007
JC-CA-0029-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Preliminary Approval of Settlement of Class Action 06/20/2007 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0029-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Protective Order for Disclosure of Records and Information 06/20/2007 (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0029-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Judgment of Dismissal 11/16/2007
JC-CA-0029-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chesney, Maxine M. (N.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0029-0002 | JC-CA-0029-0004 | JC-CA-0029-0005 | JC-CA-0029-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Merin, Mark E. (California)
JC-CA-0029-0001 | JC-CA-0029-0002 | JC-CA-0029-0003 | JC-CA-0029-0004 | JC-CA-0029-9000
Rockwell, Gregory James (California)
JC-CA-0029-0002 | JC-CA-0029-0003 | JC-CA-0029-0004 | JC-CA-0029-9000
Schwarzschild, Jeffrey I. (California)
JC-CA-0029-0001 | JC-CA-0029-9000
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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