University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McCormick v. Lawrence, Kansas JC-KS-0005
Docket / Court 2:03-cv-02195-GTV ( State Court )
State/Territory Kansas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On September 24, 2002, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under K.S.A. 22-2521, K.S.A. 22-2522, and K.S.A. 22-2523 against the City of Lawrence and Lawrence police officers in the Douglas District Court. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for actual damages and costs, alleging that Lawrence ... read more >
On September 24, 2002, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under K.S.A. 22-2521, K.S.A. 22-2522, and K.S.A. 22-2523 against the City of Lawrence and Lawrence police officers in the Douglas District Court. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for actual damages and costs, alleging that Lawrence police officers illegally subjected him to a strip and body cavity search.

Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that on June 9, 1999, Lawrence police officers arrested him and put him in the back of a patrol car. Plaintiff alleged he was then removed from the car, ordered to remove his clothing and lie in a body bag, and the officer used a vacuum to vacuum and touch his genitals and buttocks. Plaintiff alleged his strip search violated Kansas law because the strip search was conducted so that others could observe it and the officers did not write a report of the strip search. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleged his body cavity search was conducted without a warrant specifically authorizing a body cavity search and the search was not conducted by a doctor or nurse.

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. In May 2003, the Douglas District Court (Judge Robert W. Fairchild) dismissed suit on statute of limitations grounds. Plaintiff appealed.

On May 14, 2004, the Court of Appeals of Kansas (Judges G. Joseph Pierron, Jr., Christel E. Marquardt, and Henry W. Green, Jr.) affirmed. The Court held that the suit was outside the statute of limitations because Plaintiff's claims existed under common law and were not created by statute. McCormick v. City of Lawrence, 89 P.3d 657 (Kan. Ct. App. 2004).

On January 21, 2005, the Supreme Court of Kansas (Justices Marla J. Luckert and Robert L. Gernon and Judge Edward Larson) reversed the judgments of the Court of Appeals and District Court and held that Plaintiff's complaint was within the statute of limitations that applies when a statute creates a new, substantive right not recognized at common law. Plaintiff's claim that police violated state law was different from a 4th Amendment 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim because a strip-search could violate state law without being unreasonable under the 4th Amendment. Furthermore, the state statutes created substantive rights not recognized at common law that strip-searches must be conducted in private and body-cavity searches must be performed by a licensed health care provider. McCormick v. City of Lawrence, 104 P.3d 991 (Kan. 2005).

Shira Gordon - 03/24/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) City of Lawrence
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff's are self-proclaimed civil rights activists and critics of the practices and policies of the contemporary ’law-enforcement growth industry' who were arrested for their protest.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion (Court of Appeals of Kansas) 05/14/2004 (89 P.3d 657)
JC-KS-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion [Kansas Supreme Court] 01/21/2005 (104 P.3d 991)
JC-KS-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Green, Henry W. Jr. (State Appellate Court)
JC-KS-0005-0004
Luckert, Marla J. (State Supreme Court)
JC-KS-0005-0003
Marquardt, Christel E. (State Appellate Court)
JC-KS-0005-0004
Pierron, Joseph Jr. (State Appellate Court)
JC-KS-0005-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Cooley, Gerald L (Kansas)
JC-KS-0005-0003
Larkin, Randall F. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0005-0003
Lickteig, Theodore J. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0005-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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