On January 13, 1999, attorneys from Indiana and Kentucky filed a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, challenging the Floyd County Sheriff's blanket policy of requiring a strip and body cavity search as part of ...
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On January 13, 1999, attorneys from Indiana and Kentucky filed a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, challenging the Floyd County Sheriff's blanket policy of requiring a strip and body cavity search as part of a delousing procedure of every detainee that entered the Floyd County Jail for booking/intake, irrespective of the nature of the charge against the detainee and whether or not there was any reasonable suspicion that the detainee was concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiffs contended that suspicionless strip and body cavity searches of detainees accused of misdemeanors and other minor offenses violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs sought monetary damages, injunctive relief and class certification.
The Sheriff and County maintained that the delousing procedure did not constitute a strip search and was nevertheless lawful. They also contended that the suit was barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and that the Sheriff was protected by the defense of qualified immunity.
The case was certified as a class action on March 2, 2000, with the class defined as: "all persons arrested for offenses not greater than a misdemeanor or Operating While Intoxicated, as a class D felony, between January 13, 1997, and January 13, 1999, and who were required by the Floyd County Jail to remove their clothing for visual inspection of all or part of their exposed bodies, unless there existed reasonable cause to believe they were carrying concealed weapons or contraband."
Following discovery, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. By order dated October 10, 2001, the District Court (Judge Barker) granted plaintiffs' motion, finding that the delousing procedure constituted a strip search and that it violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court denied defendants' motion was denied, finding that the PLRA did not apply and that the Sheriff was not entitled qualified immunity. Shortly thereafter, the parties settled the case.
After a fairness hearing on December 4, 2002, the Court (Judge Barker) formally approved the settlement. Doan v. Watson, 2002 WL 31730917 (S.D.Ind. Dec 04, 2002) Under the terms of the settlement, the County agreed to pay up to $2,591,000 for settlement of all class claims. Each class member that participated in the settlement was to receive $1000.00. It was estimated that there were 2,591 eligible class members. $700,000 was allocated for attorney's fees, litigation costs and claims administration expenses. The County actuallDan Dalton - 02/16/2008