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Case Name Cazenave v. Foti JC-LA-0022
Docket / Court 2:00-cv-01246-ALC ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On April 25, 2000, three named plaintiffs in Louisiana and Kentucky filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court the Eastern District of Louisiana. Represented by private council, they sued the Orlean's Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office (OPCSO), ... read more >
On April 25, 2000, three named plaintiffs in Louisiana and Kentucky filed this class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court the Eastern District of Louisiana. Represented by private council, they sued the Orlean's Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office (OPCSO), challenging the strip and visual body cavity search policy of the Orleans Parish Jail in Louisiana. The plaintiffs, who were arrested for minor offenses, alleged that they were strip searched pursuant to a blanket policy of OPCSO. The policy required all pretrial detainees entering the jail to be strip searched, even if the police lacked reasonable suspicion to believe the detainees were concealing weapons or contraband. The plaintiffs alleged that the policy violated the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and sought monetary damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs moved for class certification on the injunctive and damages claims.

The parties consented to Magistrate Judge Alma Chasez hearing the case.

Initial discovery proceeded and, on January 14, 2002, the District Court (Judge Chasez) entered a Consent Decree agreed upon by the parties as to the injunctive claims. Under the Decree, the Sheriff agreed to end the challenged blanket strip search policy and issued a new policy, which allowed for the strip search of new arrestees charged with minor offenses only when reasonable suspicion existed to believe the arrestee possessed weapons or contraband. Prior to initiating the strip search under the new policy, deputies were required to fill out an agreed-upon form (Arrestee Strip Search Log) and obtain a supervisor's approval. An injunctive class of people arrested for minor offenses and detained pending the posting of bond who were strip-searched in facilities operated by OPCSO was certified pursuant to the Consent Decree. A Supplemental Consent Decree was entered on May 16, 2002, under which the Sheriff agreed to install "changing booths" for men and women so that they could change their clothes in privacy when ordered to do so.

The decree stated that monitoring would proceed for one year following the implementation of the agreement.

Litigation of the case continued on the damage claims. Per the agreement of the parties, Magistrate Judge Chasez certified the case as a class action for people arrested only on minor offenses, confined in any facility of OPCSO and required to submit to the strip searches prior to his or her first court appearance resulting in exposure of the arrestee’s genital area, anus, buttocks, and/or breasts. The certification was for liability purposes only and granted on January 3, 2003. While trial preparation continued, the parties began settlement discussions, which continued in an on-again/off-again fashion for years until a proposed Settlement Agreement was reached. Under the Agreement, the Sheriff agreed to pay $9.375 million, plus interest earned since June 2, 2004, to settle all class damage claims. The settlement class members included every person arrested only on "minor offenses" who entered the Intake and Processing Center operated by the Sheriff and who fit into one of 3 subclasses:

Sub-Class A: Those subjected to strip and visual body cavity searches in the presence of deputies and/or other prisoners from April 25, 1999 through February 14, 2002.

Sub-Class B: Those subjected to strip searches when being ordered to change into jail clothes in the presence of deputies and/or other prisoners from February 15, 2002 through May 31, 2002.

Sub-Class C: Those subjected to strip searches when ordered to take off jail garments, in the presence of deputies and/or other prisoners, while being admitted to Templeman III from the Intake Center from June 1, 2002 through May 31, 2003.
Payments to individual class members would be calculated on a point system: 3 points for Sub-Class A, 1 point for Sub-Class B, and 1.5 points for Sub-Class C. Class representatives received incentive awards ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, based on their involvement and participation. Class counsel were to request an award of attorneys' fees in the amount of 35% of the settlement fund, plus expenses.

Judge Chasez preliminarily approved the settlement on January 11, 2007 and held a fairness hearing on September 13, 2007. The final judgment approving the settlement was filed on July 17, 2008.

Over the next several years, the parties worked together to distribute the funds to the class. By 2017, there was still unclaimed money remaining in the fund, and the parties moved to have it deposited in the Court's Registry as a Cy Pres Fund, to later be used for the next best purpose. The court approved the motion on July 31, 2017 and ordered the remaining settlement funds to be put in custody of the Orleans Parish Sheriff to be disbursed upon further order of the court. The court also ordered appointed claims administrators to prepare a final report documenting the state of all unclaimed property funds made to authorized claimants by July 17, 2017.

On February 6, 2018, $2,793.28 was transferred to the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) to be used to support enrichment classes through the Travis Hill School at the Orleans Justice Center.

After the settlement money was disbursed, an unrepresented individual class member displeased with the settlement appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on April 5, 2018. On June 22, 2018, Judge Clement, Elrod and Higginson dismissed the appeal because it was filed too late. The case is now closed.

Dan Dalton - 02/29/2008
Katherine Reineck - 02/14/2016
Averyn Lee - 04/11/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Corrections
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) Orlean's Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description Every person arrested on a 'minor offense' and confined in the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office starting 04/25/1999 who, before his/her first court appearance, was made to expose his/her privates in the presence of deputies or other detainees.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2002 - 2003
Filing Year 2000
Case Closing Year 2018
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 ]

Docket(s)
2:00-CV-01246-ALC (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Consent Decree for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief Only
JC-LA-0022-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2002
Supplemental Consent Decree Regarding "Change Out" Procedure
JC-LA-0022-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/17/2002
Judgment [Certifying Class] (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2003
Joint Memorandum in Support of Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement
JC-LA-0022-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2006
Proposed [Granted 1/11/07] Order of Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement Agreement (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2007
Proof of Claim and Release Form
JC-LA-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2007
Class Action Notice
JC-LA-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2007
Class Action Settlement Agreement Presented to the Court for Preliminary Approval
JC-LA-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2007
Final Judgment Pursuant to Rule 54(B) Approving Class Action Settlement and Award of Common-Benefit Fees and Expenses [ECF# 183] (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 186] (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 211] (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Regarding Funds in Court Registry [ECF# 221] (E.D. La.)
JC-LA-0022-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
USCA Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [Ct. of App. ECF# 223]
JC-LA-0022-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Chasez, Alma L. (W.D. La., E.D. La.) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0002 | JC-LA-0022-0005 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-0008 | JC-LA-0022-0009 | JC-LA-0022-0010 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Clement, Edith Brown (Fifth Circuit, E.D. La.) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0013
Elrod, Jennifer Walker (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0013
Higginson, Stephen Andrew (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0013
North, Michael B. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0011 | JC-LA-0022-0012
Sear, Morey Leonard (E.D. La.) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0006
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allweiss, Michael Richard (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-9000
Dalton, Samuel S. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0002 | JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Howell, Mary E. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Norris, Christina R. Logsdon (Kentucky) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Snead, Deborah Majeda (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hassinger, Lambert Joseph Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-9000
Matthews, Freeman Rudolph (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-9000
Seago, John Emory (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-9000
Usry, Thomas Allen (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0002 | JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000
Weeks, John F. II (Louisiana) show/hide docs
JC-LA-0022-0003 | JC-LA-0022-0004 | JC-LA-0022-0006 | JC-LA-0022-0007 | JC-LA-0022-9000

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