On July 12, 2004, four female arrestees filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the Marin County Sheriff's policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of pre-arraignment strip and visual body cavity searches in Marin County Jails. Plaintiffs, who had been arrested for minor criminal infractions, alleged that officers routinely subjected detainees to strip and visual body cavity searches prior to arraignment and in the absence of any reasonable suspicion that the detainees possessed contraband. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, claimed that such practice violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as provisions of California state law. To remedy the alleged violations, Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, and class certification.
Later in 2004, Defendants moved to dismiss the suit on grounds that (a) Plaintiffs' claims were time barred and (b) Defendants were immune from liability. The District Court (Judge Mark J. Jenkins), by order dated December 14, 2004, granted Defendants' motion in part and denied it in part. Although the Court dismissed some of Plaintiffs' state law claims for failure to comply with the California Tort Claims Act, all of their federal law claims as well as several of their state law claims survived the motion to dismiss. Discovery ensued.
On January 1, 2006, the named defendants moved for summary judgment. Plaintiffs filed opposition papers, and the Court thereafter issued an order requesting supplemental briefing on the issues. Chatoian v. County of Marin, 2006 WL 568312 (N.D.Cal. Mar 03, 2006). After further briefing, the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of all named Defendants on all counts. The Court, however, did not enter summary judgment as to the unnamed individual defendants, who were identified as "Deputies for Does 1 through 25."
On June 5, 2007, Plaintiffs moved to amend the complaint to substitute the names of individual deputies for the unnamed Doe defendants. The Doe defendants objected to the proposed amendment, arguing that it was barred by the statute of limitations. On December 21, 2007, the District Court found that, because Plaintiffs had failed to comply with California law requiring that they serve the individual defendants with the lawsuit within three years of its initial filing, Plaintiffs' claims against the Doe defendants were time barred. As such, the Court denied Plaintiffs' request to amend its complaint and entered final judgment in favor of the Doe defendants. Chatoian v. County of Marin, 2007 WL 4557792, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95438 (N.D.Cal. Dec 21, 2007).
On January 18, 2008, Plaintiffs appealed the Court's final judgment. On September 2, 2008, the Ninth Circuit was informed that the parties had reached a tentative settlement, and ordered the appellant to submit a motion or stipulation to dismiss. On September 18, 2008, the Ninth Circuit deemed the appeal voluntarily dismissed because the appellant failed to obey that order.Timothy Shoffner - 06/07/2012