In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Los Angeles Police Department and two LAPD officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Southern California, claimed she was arrested without ...
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In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Los Angeles Police Department and two LAPD officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Southern California, claimed she was arrested without probable cause and was subjected to a body-cavity search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Specifically, Plaintiff claimed Defendants arrested her and took her to the Van Nuys Jail where she was subjected to a body cavity strip search. The officers found no drugs or weapons. Plaintiff sued the City of Los Angeles alleging that their blanket policy of subjecting all those arrested for felonies to a body-cavity search was unconstitutional.
After a jury trial, Plaintiff was awarded $5,000 in actual damages against each arresting officer, and an additional $3,000 in punitive damages from one officer, and $1,000 from the other officer. The jury awarded $25,000 in actual damages against the City of Los Angeles.
Defendants moved for a new trial claiming the Court (Judge Stephen V. Wilson) improperly instructed the jury.
On August 14, 1987, the Court (Judge Wilson) denied Defendants' motion for a new trial. The Court held that the LAPD's policy of doing a visual body-cavity search of all felony arrest detainees violated the fourth amendment and that the jail officials' body cavity strip search of Plaintiff was improper because the jail officials did not suspect that Plaintiff was concealing contraband. Kennedy v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 667 F. Supp. 697 (C.D. Cal. 1987). Defendants appealed.
On October 11, 1989, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall, Edward Leavy, and Lloyd D. George) affirmed the jury verdict and judgment for Plaintiff. The Court held: (1) Defendant police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity because they lacked probable cause to arrest plaintiff, (2) this arrest justified the jury's award of punitive damages against arresting officers, and (3) Defendant city's blanket policy subjecting all felony arrestees to visual body-cavity search was unconstitutional. Kennedy v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 901 F.2d 702 (9th Cir. 1989).
The 9th Circuit first issued its order as 887 F.2d 920 (9th Cir. 1989) but then amended its opinion after denying rehearing en banc as 901 F.2d 702 (9th Cir. 1989).
Docket: CV 83-7050-SVWShira Gordon - 03/03/2012