University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mason v. Village of Babylon JC-NY-0038
Docket / Court 0:98-cv-04894-JS ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On July 27, 1998, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of Babylon, a Suffolk County Police Officer, the County of Suffolk, and the Babylon Village Court Clerk in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Plaintiff, represented by ... read more >
On July 27, 1998, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of Babylon, a Suffolk County Police Officer, the County of Suffolk, and the Babylon Village Court Clerk in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, requested damages, alleging false arrest, unconstitutional search, and denial of due process.

On May 8, 1997, Defendant Officer arrested Plaintiff on an outstanding warrant for a traffic violation and took her to the Second Precinct. Plaintiff alleged Defendant Court Clerk failed to carry out her duties because Plaintiff was arrested pursuant to a warrant that had been recalled on October 9, 1996, but had remained in the active warrant list. At the precinct, Defendant Officer searched Plaintiff. Plaintiff was asked to remove her clothing and reposition her underwear. Plaintiff alleged she was searched at the Fourth Precinct and the Central Islip courthouse but Plaintiff did not identify the officers who conducted these searches. Plaintiff alleged the officer searched her without reasonable suspicion that she concealed contraband. Plaintiff alleged the County was liable because the searches were performed pursuant to County policy.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on August 7, 2000.

On December 20, 2000, the District Court (Judge Leonard D. Wexler) granted summary judgment to Defendants on Plaintiff's false arrest and due process violation claims. The Court granted summary judgment to Plaintiff as to the illegality of her search. The Court held: (1) mistaken arrest on recalled warrant was not due process violation because a County employee must have been deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's rights in order to be a Constitutional violation, rather than a mistake; (2) arresting officer had qualified immunity against false arrest claim because the officer acted pursuant to an arrest warrant; but (3) partial strip search violated Fourth Amendment, since neither nature of offense nor circumstances of arrest created suspicion that would justify the search. The Court left for trial issues of damages on strip-search, qualified immunity and municipal liability. The Court did not have sufficient information to decide whether the search was conducted pursuant to County policy. Mason v. Village of Babylon, 124 F.Supp.2d 807 (E.D.N.Y. 2000).

On November 30, 2001, the parties filed a stipulation of discontinuance, dismissing the case without costs or attorney's fees to either party. The case was closed on January 7, 2002.

Shira Gordon - 04/06/2012


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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) New York Police Department
Suffolk County
The Village of Babylon
Plaintiff Description Female arrestee taken into custody based on a warrant that was later recalled. Was allegedly strip-searched without reasonable suspicion of contraband.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2002 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2002
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)
0:98-cv-04894-JS (E.D.N.Y.) 01/07/2002
JC-NY-0038-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 12/20/2000 (124 F.Supp.2d 807) (E.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0038-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Seybert, Joanna (E.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0038-0001 | JC-NY-0038-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Graseck, Arthur V. Jr. (New York)
JC-NY-0038-9000
Tenzer, Leslie (New York)
JC-NY-0038-0001 | JC-NY-0038-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cernitz, Henry J. (New York)
JC-NY-0038-0001
Cimino, Robert J. (New York)
JC-NY-0038-0001
Ferretti, John R. (New York)
JC-NY-0038-9000
Zwilling, Arlene S. (New York)
JC-NY-0038-0001 | JC-NY-0038-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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