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Case Name Cottrell v. Kaysville City, Utah JC-UT-0005
Docket / Court 1:91-cv-00095-DB ( D. Utah )
State/Territory Utah
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
This is a case about whether a 1990 arrest for driving under the influence and subsequent strip search were legal. The plaintiff, a woman who had been arrested on drunk driving charges, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah on October 7, 1991. The case was ... read more >
This is a case about whether a 1990 arrest for driving under the influence and subsequent strip search were legal. The plaintiff, a woman who had been arrested on drunk driving charges, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah on October 7, 1991. The case was assigned to District Judge Dee Benson. The plaintiff sued the City of Kaysville, Utah, one of its police officers, and Davis County and two sheriff's deputies, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for wrongful arrest and an illegal strip search. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought damages and presumably attorneys' fees in compensation for the violation of her constitutional rights. We do not have access the complaint, but the case's opinions provided some of the important details.

On July 27, 1990, the plaintiff was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. The basis for those charges was disputed by the parties. After receiving a complaint, a Kaysville police officer pulled over the plaintiff's car. The officer then performed several field sobriety tests, though the parties did not agree on how many the plaintiff passed or failed. When the officers asked if she had consumed any substances, the plaintiff told the officers that she had taken a prescribed seizure medication. Based on that evidence, the officers arrested the plaintiff and booked her into the Davis County Jail. She alleged that during booking, one of the arresting officers ordered the deputies on duty that night to strip search her. This was in spite of the fact that she was wearing "light summer clothing" and had already been patted down, with no contraband found. She then sued the arresting officer and the sheriff's deputies who performed the search.

On January 7, 1992, the defendants moved for summary judgment. Judge Benson granted that motion on September 24, 1992. He found that the defendant officer had probable cause to arrest the plaintiff and that strip search was constitutional as the defendants were concerned that the plaintiff was concealing drugs and because she was going to be placed in the general population of the jail. 801 F. Supp. 572.

The plaintiff appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on October 6, 1992. On May 18, 1993, a Tenth Circuit panel consisting of Circuit Judges Diana Moore and Wade Brorby and District Judge George Thomas Van Bebber reversed the district court's opinion below. 994 F.3d. 730. The court found that summary judgment was improperly granted on the wrongful arrest claim because several factual disputes between the parties remained. It found the same with respect to the illegal strip search claim, but noted that it was "unclear in this situation what the purpose of the strip search was" given that the plaintiff was wearing light clothing, had previously been patted down, and it was unclear that she was going to be placed into the general population of the jail. The court then remanded the case back to the district court.

After an October 16, 1995 settlement conference, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of this case on November 21, 1995. Presumably there was a settlement, but it is not available on the docket.

According to the docket, the case was closed November 28, 1995.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 02/09/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Davis County, Utah
Kaysville City, Utah
Plaintiff Description Motorist arrested for driving under the influence who was strip searched at county jail
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Filed 10/07/1991
Case Closing Year 1995
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Utah
11/28/1995
1:91-cv-00095-DB
JC-UT-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Utah
09/24/1992
Memorandum Decision and Order [ECF# 26] (801 F.Supp. 572)
JC-UT-0005-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Court of Appeals
05/18/1993
Per Curiam Opinion (994 F.2d 730)
JC-UT-0005-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Benson, Dee Vance (FISC, D. Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000
Brorby, Wade (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001
Porfilio, John Carbone (D. Colo., Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001
VanBebber, George Thomas (D. Kan.) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fadel, George K. (Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001 | JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hess, Gerald E. (Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001 | JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000
Lambert, Dale J. (Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001 | JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000
Porter, Karra J. (Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0001 | JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000
Wilson, Melvin C. (Utah) show/hide docs
JC-UT-0005-0002 | JC-UT-0005-9000

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