In 2001, private attorneys representing individual plaintiffs filed several civil rights lawsuits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The cases challenged allegedly improper strip searches and unsanitary and inhumane conditions of ...
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In 2001, private attorneys representing individual plaintiffs filed several civil rights lawsuits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The cases challenged allegedly improper strip searches and unsanitary and inhumane conditions of confinement at the Brooklyn Central Booking facility. Plaintiffs alleged that police had a blanket policy of strip searching all individuals who entered the Brooklyn Central Booking facility, regardless of the crime for which they were charged and without reasonable suspicion to believe that the individuals were concealing weapons or contraband. After being strip searched, detainees were allegedly placed in filthy, disease-ridden, and overcrowded jail cells. Plaintiffs asserted that the policy and conditions violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and class certification for the thousands of individuals that suffered the same alleged indignities. Defendants answered by generally denying the allegations.
The lawsuits, which involved over 20 plaintiffs, were consolidated under the lead case, Spinner v. City of New York.
On October 6, 2003, the District Court (Senior District Judge Charles P. Sifton) certified the case as a class action, with the class defined as all persons since 1998 who (1) were charged with misdemeanor or non-criminal offenses in Kings County, (2) then were detained at the Brooklyn Central Booking, and (3) while detained, were subjected to strip searches without regard to the existence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion that the detainees possessed weapons or contraband. Plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction was denied. Plaintiffs subsequently withdrew their claims for injunctive relief and the Court issued an order decertifying the class on the injunctive relief claims.
Discovery and motion practice ensued, until the parties eventually reached a settlement of the case. Under the settlement, the City agreed to pay approximately $654,000 to settle claims of the 20 remaining plaintiffs. Approximately $323,000 of the total amount would be divided among the 20 plaintiffs (in varying amounts, ranging from approximately $12,250 to $21,500) and the remaining $331,000 would be award to plaintiffs' attorneys as fees. The District Court (Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak) approved the settlement on June 4, 2004.
We have no information showing post-settlement activity in the case.Dan Dalton - 03/05/2008