University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Doan v. Watson JC-IN-0011
Docket / Court 99-0004 ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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 actuall

Dan Dalton - 02/16/2008


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Floyd County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description All persons arrested for offenses not greater than a misdemeanor between 1/13/1997 and 1/13/1999 who were strip searched by the Floyd County Jail without a reasonable belief that they were carrying concealed weapons or contraband
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2002
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
NA99-C-0004 -B/S (S.D. Ind.) 09/27/2006
JC-IN-0011-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Order [Re: Cross Motions for Summary Judgment] 10/10/2001 (168 F.Supp.2d 932) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0011-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement] 12/04/2002 (2002 WL 31730917 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 23333) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0011-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Barker, Sarah Evans (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002 | JC-IN-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Betteau, Bart M. (Indiana)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002 | JC-IN-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brightwell, Bruce A (Kentucky)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002 | JC-IN-0011-9000
Huddleston, Stephen L (Indiana)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002
Mullineaux, Richard T (Indiana)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002 | JC-IN-0011-9000
Whalin, Dave (Kentucky)
JC-IN-0011-0001 | JC-IN-0011-0002 | JC-IN-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -