University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Helton v. United States JC-DC-0009
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-00385-JDB ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On February 20, 2001, five women who were arrested in connection with an "anti-fur" demonstration at a Washington, D.C. Neiman Marcus store filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Marshalls Service. Plaintiffs alleged that following their arrest, they ... read more >
On February 20, 2001, five women who were arrested in connection with an "anti-fur" demonstration at a Washington, D.C. Neiman Marcus store filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Marshalls Service. Plaintiffs alleged that following their arrest, they were subjected to strip and squat searches without a reasonable individualized suspicion that they were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiffs further alleged that the Marshals Service routinely subjected women, but not men, to pre-arraignment strip and squat searches, as was the case with six men who were arrested with Plaintiffs but not searched. Plaintiffs proceeded under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and sought compensatory damages of one million dollars each.

The Government moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim. On March 21, 2002, the District Court (Judge Bates) granted the Government's motion in part and denied it in part, holding that Plaintiffs could not state a FTCA claim for wrongful arrest or violation of equal protection but that they could maintain a FTCA claim for invasion of privacy (specifically, the tort of intrusion upon seclusion). Helton v. U.S. 191 F.Supp.2d 179 (D.D.C. 2002).

On November 8, 2002, the parties entered into a Stipulation for Settlement and Dismissal. Under the terms of the settlement, each of the five plaintiffs (together with their attorneys) received $8,000, for a total settlement amount of $40,000.

Dan Dalton - 02/05/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. ยง 2674
Defendant(s) United States of America
Plaintiff Description Five women arrested for unlawful entry in connection with an "anti-fur" demonstration who were placed in United States Marshals Service custody and compelled "to remove clothing and submit to a strip and squat search" prior to arraignment.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
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
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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)
1:01-cv-00385-JDB (D.D.C.) 11/08/2002
JC-DC-0009-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion [Re: Motion to Dismiss] 03/21/2002 (191 F.Supp.2d 179) (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0009-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation of Settlement and Order of Dismissal 11/08/2002
JC-DC-0009-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges Bates, John D. (FISC, D.D.C., D.C. Circuit)
JC-DC-0009-0001 | JC-DC-0009-0002 | JC-DC-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Day, Sean Robert (Maryland)
JC-DC-0009-0001 | JC-DC-0009-0002 | JC-DC-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Howard, Roscoe (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0009-0001
Manning, Meredith (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0009-0002 | JC-DC-0009-9000
Nagle, Mark Earl (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0009-0001 | JC-DC-0009-0002
Sullivan, Diane M. (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0009-0001 | JC-DC-0009-9000
Wainstein, Kenneth L. (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0009-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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