University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Gentry v. Floyd County JC-IN-0026
Docket / Court 4:14-cv-00054-TAB-RLY ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On June 12, 2014, six individuals formerly held in the Floyd County Jail filed a class action complaint in the Southern District of Indiana, against Floyd County, Indiana, the Sheriff in his official and unofficial capacities, corrections officers of Floyd County Jail and other sheriff department ... read more >
On June 12, 2014, six individuals formerly held in the Floyd County Jail filed a class action complaint in the Southern District of Indiana, against Floyd County, Indiana, the Sheriff in his official and unofficial capacities, corrections officers of Floyd County Jail and other sheriff department workers under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought actual and punitive damages for themselves and the other members of their class as well as a declaratory judgment stating all policies enforcing humiliating and torturous practices were unconstitutional and to enjoin the defendants from practicing or enforcing those policies. The plaintiffs claimed their Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights were violated. Specifically, they claimed that during detention in Floyd County Jail, through use of excessive force, they were stripped of their clothing and kept in a state of undress in a padded cell in violation of their Constitutional rights.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs claimed they were stripped of their clothing without probable cause or provocation. They claimed this action was done in front of members of the opposite sex, in view of Jail employees, and on surveillance tapes containing images of the plaintiffs' naked bodies. The plaintiffs were kept in a padded room without access to a phone or bathroom and left in the state of undress until given a smock. The plaintiffs additionally claimed the defendants used excessive and unnecessary force through pepper spray or taser absent provocation or probable cause. The plaintiffs claimed, that the defendants were using the same policies and practices implemented against them on other detained individuals. The plaintiffs alleged these abuses were a result of policies and practices implemented by the jail. The plaintiffs later amended their complaint on November 12, 2014 to include three more representatives. One of the new plaintiffs moved to sever their claim, which Chief Judge Richard Young granted on February 17, 2016.

On June 15, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification. The final approved designated class was “All inmates confined from June 12, 2012, to present in the Floyd County Jail who were not on a suicide watch, but were housed in a padded cell where they were deprived of clothing, bedding, and hygiene products.” The proposed subclass would have been “Those class members who were subjected to weapons deployment while confined and secured in the padded cells.”

On February 16, 2016, Judge Young granted the plaintiffs motion for class certification, finding their class definitions. 313 F.R.D. 72. On March 1, 2016, the defendants filed a motion for reconsideration of the class certification arguing that the main class did not meet the requirements for commonality and predominance. Additionally, the defendants argued the subclass did not contain enough members. On July 25, 2016, Chief Judge Young granted the defendants' motion in part and denied in part. He found the court did not err with respect to the main class but the subclass did not include enough members. 2016 WL 4088748. The plaintiffs appealed the redetermination of the subclass on July 29, 2016, arguing there would be enough members. The motion was denied on October 27, 2016 because Chief Judge Young found the subclass definition involved an officer’s choice to use force and therefore could not be used for class certification.

The defendants filed an appeal regarding the plaintiffs' main class certification. Accordingly, the defendants filed a motion for stay pending the 7th circuit appeal on August 8, 2016. On August 24, 2016 the appeal in the 7th circuit was denied. On August 26, 2016 the motion for stay was denied.

On February 6, 2017, the parties moved jointly to approve settlement. Magistrate Judge Baker approved the settlement on August 2, 2017. The settlement detailed the creation of a settlement fund for $1,230,000. Attorney fees amounted to 37% of the settlement fund, and each plaintiff was paid an additional $15,000 for their time as class representative in the litigation. The rest of the settlement fund was to be distributed to the class. Each member who was subjected to the deployment of taser or pepper spray with a valid claim were to receive an additional $3,000. Any remaining funds were to be redistributed evenly among class members with each member not getting more than $25,000. Any remaining funds were to be returned to the defendants.

The settlement fund was agreed to be explicitly for damages resulting from alleged personal injuries and not as a form of punitive damages. The settlement also detailed the policy advising the treatment of individuals in this manner was to be suspended. Additionally, Field Training Officers were to be independently certified, and new employees are to go through orientation and receive training on how to handle new inmates. Finally, the facility supervisor, security supervisor, and classification officer needed to attend Inmate Behavior Management and Training conducted by the National Institute of Corrections.

The parties were to notify the court when all terms of the settlement were finalized, at which point the court would dismiss the case with prejudice. As of January 30, 2018, the court had not received notice.

Taylor Brook - 01/25/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : chemical
Strip search policy
Torture
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Floyd County
Sheriff of Floyd County
Plaintiff Description All inmates confined from June 12, 2012, to [October 26, 2016] in the Floyd County Jail who were not on a suicide watch, but were housed in a padded cell where they were deprived of clothing, bedding, and hygiene products.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  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 ]

Docket(s)
4:14−cv−00054−TAB−RLY (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-IN-0026-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 17]
JC-IN-0026-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class [ECF# 75] (313 F.R.D. 72) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Defendants' Motion For Reconsideration of Court's Entry on Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class [ECF# 87] (2016 WL 4088748) (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion to Approve Class Certification Notice [ECF# 112] (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Entry on Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider De-Certification of Subclass [ECF# 111] (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 125]
JC-IN-0026-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement [ECF# 129] (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Baker, Tim A. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
JC-IN-0026-0008 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Young, Richard L. (S.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0026-0001 | JC-IN-0026-0005 | JC-IN-0026-0006 | JC-IN-0026-0007 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Canon, Daniel J. (Kentucky)
JC-IN-0026-0002 | JC-IN-0026-0003 | JC-IN-0026-0004 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Landenwich, Laura E. (Kentucky)
JC-IN-0026-0002 | JC-IN-0026-0003 | JC-IN-0026-0004 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Walton, Theodore Wendover (Kentucky)
JC-IN-0026-0003 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fox, Richard R (Indiana)
JC-IN-0026-0003 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Lowe, Robert Jeffrey (Indiana)
JC-IN-0026-0003 | JC-IN-0026-0004 | JC-IN-0026-9000
Mullineaux, Richard T (Indiana)
JC-IN-0026-9000

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