In 1993, Plaintiff, represented by several private attorneys, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, challenging the strip search policies in effect in the jails of Merrimack County, Carroll County, and Strafford County, New ...
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In 1993, Plaintiff, represented by several private attorneys, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, challenging the strip search policies in effect in the jails of Merrimack County, Carroll County, and Strafford County, New Hampshire. Plaintiff claimed that the challenged policies, which required that all inmates be strip searched upon admission to jail, were unconstitutional. Plaintiff requested class certification in addition to other relief.
Our information on this case is limited to the PACER docket and one published opinion. We do not have copies of pleadings filed with the Court.
According to the docket, the District Court (Judge Paul J. Barbadoro) certified the case as a class action on September 30, 1996. The parameters of the class were not set out in the docket entries. A discovery schedule was set and it appears that the Court ordered that the case proceed in phases, with Phase I presumably dealing with liability issues.
Strafford County moved for summary judgment, which the Court denied, finding that the County's blanket policy of strip searching all inmates upon admission to the jails was unconstitutional. Moser v. Anderson, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22637 (D.N.H. Nov. 25, 1996). The remaining Phase I issues were resolved on April 10, 1998 when Judge Barbadoro granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs.
Settlement negotiations ensued, with the parties agreeing to mediation. The case was ultimately settled and the settlement was preliminarily approved by the court on August 20, 1999. Judge Barbadoro issued a final order approving the settlement on January 14, 2000. The precise settlement terms are not apparent from the docket, but news accounts reported that the case settled for $3 million. Claims were paid on an agreed point system. It was estimated that there were 2,000 class members, 356 of whom made claims for a participation rate of 17.8%. The Court also awarded 33.3% of the settlement fund for attorney's fees, litigation costs, and claims administration expenses.
A final report on settlement administration was filed in April 2000 and the case was then closed.Dan Dalton - 02/23/2008