University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Swart v. Scott County, Minnesota JC-MN-0002
Docket / Court 4-85-1052 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On August 13, 1985, an individual arrested for a minor offense filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, challenging the Scott County Jail's written policy of strip searching all detainees due to be placed in the general prison ... read more >
On August 13, 1985, an individual arrested for a minor offense filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, challenging the Scott County Jail's written policy of strip searching all detainees due to be placed in the general prison population regardless of whether there was any reasonable cause to believe that the detainee was carrying contraband. Plaintiff alleged that the policy was unconstitutional and requested that the District Court award monetary damages, injunctive relief, and class certification.

On August 27, 1985, two weeks after the suit was filed, Scott County changed its strip search policy to provide that detainees would be strip searched only when reasonable suspicion existed to believe that the inmate was concealing contraband which could not be discovered through a less intrusive search. Defendant admitted that its pre-August 17, 1985 policies were unconstitutional and Plaintiff granted that the post-August 17, 1985 policies were constitutional.

On September 2, 1986, the District Court denied Plaintiff's motion for class certification and ruled that Plaintiff did not have standing to seek injunctive relief because he failed to show that he was likely to be subjected to Defendant's strip search policy in the future. On October 22-28, 1986, the case proceeded to trial on Plaintiff's individual claim. The jury returned a verdict awarding Plaintiff no damages.

Plaintiff did not appeal the jury award, but both parties filed motions seeking attorneys' fees. On January 6, 1987, the District Court (Judge Harry Hunter MacLaughlin) granted Plaintiff limited attorneys' fees and costs in the amount $1,328.75. The Court denied Scott County's motion for attorneys' fees. Swart v. Scott County, Minn., 650 F.Supp. 888 (D.Minn. 1987).

We are aware of no further proceedings in this case. Though we have no court docket, it would appear that the case is now closed.

Dan Dalton - 02/17/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
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) Scott County
Plaintiff Description All persons who were strip-searched and detained at the Scott County jail for offenses no greater than traffic violations or misdemeanors, including all persons who were never charged with an offense.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
limited attorneys fees and costs awarded
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Closing Year 1987
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion (650 F.Supp. 888) (D. Minn.)
JC-MN-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/06/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Judges MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter Court not on record
JC-MN-0002-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Reed, Barry G. (Minnesota)
JC-MN-0002-0001
Zimmerman, Charles S. (Minnesota)
JC-MN-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Martin, James T. (Minnesota)
JC-MN-0002-0001

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