On September 24, 2002, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under K.S.A. 22-2521, K.S.A. 22-2522, and K.S.A. 22-2523 against the City of Lawrence and Lawrence police officers in the Douglas District Court. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for actual damages and costs, alleging that Lawrence ...
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On September 24, 2002, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under K.S.A. 22-2521, K.S.A. 22-2522, and K.S.A. 22-2523 against the City of Lawrence and Lawrence police officers in the Douglas District Court. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for actual damages and costs, alleging that Lawrence police officers illegally subjected him to a strip and body cavity search.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that on June 9, 1999, Lawrence police officers arrested him and put him in the back of a patrol car. Plaintiff alleged he was then removed from the car, ordered to remove his clothing and lie in a body bag, and the officer used a vacuum to vacuum and touch his genitals and buttocks. Plaintiff alleged his strip search violated Kansas law because the strip search was conducted so that others could observe it and the officers did not write a report of the strip search. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleged his body cavity search was conducted without a warrant specifically authorizing a body cavity search and the search was not conducted by a doctor or nurse.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. In May 2003, the Douglas District Court (Judge Robert W. Fairchild) dismissed suit on statute of limitations grounds. Plaintiff appealed.
On May 14, 2004, the Court of Appeals of Kansas (Judges G. Joseph Pierron, Jr., Christel E. Marquardt, and Henry W. Green, Jr.) affirmed. The Court held that the suit was outside the statute of limitations because Plaintiff's claims existed under common law and were not created by statute. McCormick v. City of Lawrence, 89 P.3d 657 (Kan. Ct. App. 2004).
On January 21, 2005, the Supreme Court of Kansas (Justices Marla J. Luckert and Robert L. Gernon and Judge Edward Larson) reversed the judgments of the Court of Appeals and District Court and held that Plaintiff's complaint was within the statute of limitations that applies when a statute creates a new, substantive right not recognized at common law. Plaintiff's claim that police violated state law was different from a 4th Amendment 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim because a strip-search could violate state law without being unreasonable under the 4th Amendment. Furthermore, the state statutes created substantive rights not recognized at common law that strip-searches must be conducted in private and body-cavity searches must be performed by a licensed health care provider. McCormick v. City of Lawrence, 104 P.3d 991 (Kan. 2005).Shira Gordon - 03/24/2012