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Case Name Levka v. City of Chicago JC-IL-0010
Docket / Court 83 C 2283 ( C.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Chicago in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff was represented by private counsel. Plaintiff asked for compensatory damages and alleged her constitutional rights were ... read more >
In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Chicago in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff was represented by private counsel. Plaintiff asked for compensatory damages and alleged her constitutional rights were violated when she was strip-searched.

The parties stipulated that on December 2, 1975, police arrested Plaintiff, then 53, for a misdemeanor. Police strip-searched Plaintiff at the Women's Central Detention facility. At the time of the incident, Defendant's policy subjected every arrestee to a strip search.

The City admitted that Plaintiff's strip search violated her constitutional rights because the Seventh Circuit previously held that Defendant's former policy searching female arrestees violated the Fourth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. The jury trial (Judge Milton I. Shadur) was limited to damages, and the jury awarded Plaintiff $50,000 in compensatory damages. The District Court (Judge Shadur) denied Defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and Defendant appealed.

On April 27, 1984, the District Court (Judge Shadur) awarded Plaintiff $24,475 in attorney fees for the trial. Roe v. City of Chicago, 586 F.Supp. 513 (N.D.Ill. 1984).

On November 19, 1984, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Wilbur F. Pell, Jr., William J. Bauer and Franklin T. Dupree, Jr.) held that Plaintiff's award of $50,000 was excessive in comparison to awards in other strip-search cases. Furthermore, Plaintiff's age was not an aggravating factor. The Court ordered Plaintiff to accept a remittitur reducing the judgment to $25,000 or alternatively to retry the case. Levka v. City of Chicago, 748 F.2d 421 (7th Cir. 1984).

On January 2, 1985, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied rehearing en banc.

Plaintiff accepted the remittitur. Plaintiff moved for attorney fees for the appeal, stating she was the prevailing party in the litigation as a whole.

On March 27, 1985, the District Court (Judge Shadur) denied Plaintiff's motion for attorney fees because it held that Plaintiff was not the prevailing party on appeal. Levka v. City of Chicago, 605 F.Supp. 197 (N.D.Ill. 1985).

Docket: 83-C-2283.

Shira Gordon - 03/16/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Chicago
Plaintiff Description Female arrestee who was subjected to strip search while being detained on a misdemeanor charge.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1985
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 11/19/1984 (748 F.2d 421)
JC-IL-0010-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 03/27/1985 (605 F.Supp. 197) (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Bauer, William Joseph (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
JC-IL-0010-0001
Dupree, Franklin Taylor Jr. (E.D.N.C.)
JC-IL-0010-0001
Pell, Wilbur Frank Jr. (Seventh Circuit)
JC-IL-0010-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Letvin, David J. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0010-0001 | JC-IL-0010-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Montgomery, James D. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0010-0002
Rochford, Mary K. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0010-0001
Sullivan, Sharon M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0010-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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