Case: Amaechi v. West

1:99-cv-00783 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Filed Date: June 2, 1999

Closed Date: 2001

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 2, 1999, the Plaintiff, a 29-year-old woman, filed a complaint against three Defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Defendants were the arresting officer, the officer that supervised the arresting officer, and the Town of Dumfries. The Plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Virginia state law. The Plaintiff alleged that the arresting officer's touching of her genitals in strip search fashion while arresting her constituted assault, battery, an…

On June 2, 1999, the Plaintiff, a 29-year-old woman, filed a complaint against three Defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Defendants were the arresting officer, the officer that supervised the arresting officer, and the Town of Dumfries. The Plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Virginia state law. The Plaintiff alleged that the arresting officer's touching of her genitals in strip search fashion while arresting her constituted assault, battery, and unreasonable search. The Plaintiff was represented by private counsel, and the case was assigned to Judge Gerald B. Lee. The available court records do not reveal what relief the Plaintiff sought.

The Plaintiff was a 29 year-old resident of Dumfries and mother of five children. She lived with her husband and children. The Defendants were members of the Dumfries Police Department. One served as the supervising officer for the other, newly-commissioned officer. On August 12, 1997, the two officers arrested the Plaintiff at her residence pursuant to a valid arrest warrant for her violation of a local noise ordinance. The Plaintiff did not resist to the arrest, but asked if she may get dressed as she was wearing nothing underneath her night gown. However, the officers rejected this request. The arresting officer proceeded to search the Plaintiff before allowing her to enter the police car, running his hands over her hips and swiping across her groin area. The Plaintiff subsequently commenced this lawsuit, which was comprised of a seven-count complaint.

Between June 1999 and December 2000, the parties engaged in discovery.

In December 1999, all three Defendants moved for summary judgment. Judge Lee on January 13, 2000 granted their motion for summary judgment only for two Defendants: the Town of Dumfries and the supervising officer. He denied the motion with respect to the arresting officer. The arresting officer appealed this decision on January 24, 2000. The case was stayed pending the appeal.

It is important to note the reasoning behind Judge Lee's decision. In a February 28, 2000 memorandum, Judge Lee explained that his main reason for denying the arresting officer's motion for summary judgment was that a reasonable officer in the arresting officer's position would not have conducted a vaginal search on the Plaintiff. By conducting such an intrusive search, the officer violated the Plaintiff's clearly established rights. Consequently, Judge Lee held that the officer is not entitled to a defense of qualified immunity. 87 F.Supp.2d 556.

Thus, the arresting officer remained the only Defendant on this case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on January 1, 2001 affirmed the above decision of the District Court. The Court of Appeals also remanded for further proceedings. Circuit Judge Karen J. Williams affirmed that: (1) the Plaintiff sufficiently alleged deprivation of constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search; and (2) the Plaintiff's right to be free from public, sexually intrusive search was clearly established, thereby precluding summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. 237 F.3d 356.

The jury trial was set to occur in April 2001. However, on March 26, 2001, the Plaintiff withdrew all claims including those for attorneys' fee and cost. The records do not reveal why the Plaintiff withdrew all claims and whether there was a settlement. In 2001, Judge Lee dismissed the case with prejudice.

Summary Authors

Lisa Koo (5/25/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Anderson, Joseph Fletcher Jr. (South Carolina)

Lee, Gerald Bruce (Virginia)

Michael, James Harry Jr. (Virginia)

Williams, Karen J. (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Glasberg, Victor Michael (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brandt, John J. (Virginia)

Corish, Robert S. (Virginia)

Judge(s)

Anderson, Joseph Fletcher Jr. (South Carolina)

Lee, Gerald Bruce (Virginia)

Michael, James Harry Jr. (Virginia)

Williams, Karen J. (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Glasberg, Victor Michael (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Brandt, John J. (Virginia)

Corish, Robert S. (Virginia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Amaechi v. West, et al

March 26, 2001 Docket
31

Memorandum Opinion

Amaechi v. West et al.

87 F.Supp.2d 556, 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 2161

Feb. 28, 2000 Order/Opinion

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

237 F.3d 356

Jan. 9, 2001 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link

Jury Trial Flag (clerk) (Entered: 06/03/1999)

June 2, 1999

NOTICE of Lawsuit and Waiver of Service Forms given to atty. for service as to the defts by mail. (clerk) Modified on 06/03/1999 (Entered: 06/03/1999)

June 2, 1999
2

ANSWER to Complaint by Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries (Attorney John J. Brandt),; jury demand (clerk) (Entered: 08/02/1999)

Aug. 2, 1999
3

SCHEDULING ORDER setting Discovery cutoff 11/26/99 ; Pretrial Conference for 11:45 12/16/99 ; ( signed by Judge Claude M. Hilton ) Copies Mailed: yes (pmil) (Entered: 08/12/1999)

Aug. 11, 1999
4

OBJECTION by plaintiff Lisa Amaechi to defts' Discovery. (clerk) (Entered: 09/20/1999)

Aug. 14, 1999
5

Designation of Expert Witnesses by Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries (clerk) (Entered: 10/27/1999)

Oct. 26, 1999
6

NOTICE by Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries to take deposition of Lisa Amaechi (clerk) (Entered: 10/27/1999)

Oct. 26, 1999
7

NOTICE by Lisa Amaechi to take deposition of Town of Dumfries/Town Manager, Michael Reilly (clerk) (Entered: 11/09/1999)

Nov. 5, 1999

Pre-Trial Conference held; Judge Hilton. Appearances of Counsel. Case set for trial by JURY on 02/01/00. (clerk) (Entered: 12/20/1999)

Dec. 16, 1999

Jury Trial set at 10:00 2/1/00 (clerk) (Entered: 12/20/1999)

Dec. 16, 1999
8

Pretrial Statement (Witness List and Exhibit List) by Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries (clerk) (Entered: 12/20/1999)

Dec. 16, 1999
9

Exhibit list by Lisa Amaechi (clerk) (Entered: 12/20/1999)

Dec. 16, 1999
10

Witness list by Lisa Amaechi (clerk) (Entered: 12/20/1999)

Dec. 16, 1999
14

OBJECTION by plaintiff Lisa Amaechi to [8-1] Pretrial Submission by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West (klau) (Entered: 12/28/1999)

Dec. 20, 1999
15

OBJECTIONS by plaintiff Lisa Amaechi to [8-1]Defendants' Pretrial Submission by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West (clerk) (Entered: 12/29/1999)

Dec. 21, 1999
11

MOTION by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment (klau) (Entered: 12/28/1999)

Dec. 23, 1999
12

BRIEF by Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries in support of [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment together with one blue binder (LARGE PLEADING) (klau) Modified on 12/28/1999 (Entered: 12/28/1999)

Dec. 23, 1999
13

NOTICE of Hearing: Motion Hearing set for 10:00 1/14/00 for [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment (klau) (Entered: 12/28/1999)

Dec. 23, 1999
16

OBJECTION by defendant Matthew West, defendant Bernard R. Pfluger to [9-1] exhibits list by Lisa Amaechi (clerk) (Entered: 01/04/2000)

Jan. 3, 2000
18

SUPPLEMENTARY Trial Exhibit list by Lisa Amaechi (clerk) (Entered: 01/10/2000)

Jan. 5, 2000
17

MEMORANDUM by Lisa Amaechi in partial opposition to [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment (together w/1 Bound appendix in support of memo) (clerk) (Entered: 01/07/2000)

Jan. 7, 2000
20

Response by Lisa Amaechi to [12-1] support memorandum by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West (clerk) (Entered: 01/11/2000)

Jan. 7, 2000

MEMORANDUM by Lisa Amaechi in Partial opposition to [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment (clerk) (Entered: 01/11/2000)

Jan. 7, 2000
19

SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTARY APPENDIX filed by plaintiff Lisa Amaechi [17-1] opposition memorandum to defts motion for summary judgment (clerk) (Entered: 01/10/2000)

Jan. 10, 2000
21

Rebuttal Brief In Support of [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment Town of (clerk) (Entered: 01/12/2000)

Jan. 12, 2000

Minute entry: (GBL) r: McCoy. Appearances: Counsel. On for hearing on defts' motion for SJ - argued and granted in part (Counts3,4,1) and denied in part (Counts5,6) Order to follow. (jsol) (Entered: 01/13/2000)

Jan. 13, 2000
25

ORDER for reasons stated in open court, [11-1] motion by Town of Dumfries, Bernard R. Pfluger, Matthew West for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part - granted as to Counts 1,3,4 and denied as to Counts 5 & 6. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: y [EOD Date: 1/21/00] (jsol) (Entered: 01/21/2000)

Jan. 13, 2000
22

MOTION by Lisa Amaechi in Limine , and in the alternative by Lisa Amaechi for Reconsideration of Dismissal of deft Town of Dumbries (clerk) (Entered: 01/18/2000)

Jan. 14, 2000

Motion hearing re: [22-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine set at 10:00 1/21/00, [22-2] motion by Lisa Amaechi for Reconsideration of Dismissal of deft Town of Dumbries set at 10:00 1/21/00 (clerk) (Entered: 01/18/2000)

Jan. 14, 2000
23

RESPONSIVE Brief by Matthew West, Town of Dumfries to [22-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine , [22-2] motion by Lisa Amaechi for Reconsideration of Dismissal of deft Town of Dumfries (clerk) (Entered: 01/20/2000)

Jan. 19, 2000
24

REPLY MEMORANDUM in support by Lisa Amaechi of [22-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine [22-2] motion by Lisa Amaechi for Reconsideration of Dismissal of deft Town of Dumbries (clerk) (Entered: 01/20/2000)

Jan. 19, 2000
27

PLAINTIFF'S SUPPLEMENTAL OBJECTIONS by plaintiff Lisa Amaechi to Deft. West's Proposed Witnesses & Trial Exhibits. (clerk) (Entered: 01/21/2000)

Jan. 19, 2000
28

ORDER granting [26-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine to exclude evidence, granting [22-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine, denying [22-2] motion by Lisa Amaechi for Reconsideration of Dismissal of deft Town of Dumbries.-ent. & filed. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: yes [EOD Date: 1/24/00] (clerk) (Entered: 01/24/2000)

Jan. 20, 2000
26

MOTION by Lisa Amaechi in Limine to exclude evidence (clerk) (Entered: 01/21/2000)

Jan. 21, 2000

NOTICE of Hearing: Motion Hearing Deadline set for 10:00 1/28/00 for [26-1] motion by Lisa Amaechi in Limine to exclude evidence (clerk) (Entered: 01/21/2000)

Jan. 21, 2000
29

NOTICE OF APPEAL OF [25-1] order dated 1/13/00 by Matthew West . FILING FEE $ 105.00 RECEIPT # 100134081 Copies sent to Lisa Amaechi, Matthew West, Bernard R. Pfluger, Town of Dumfries. Copy of docket entries, notice of appeal, order and transmittal forwarded to the USCA. (clerk) (Entered: 01/27/2000)

Jan. 24, 2000
30

ORDERED that this matter is STAYED pending deft West's appeal; further ORDERED that the Court will retain jurisdiction over this matter until it supplements the record with the Memorandum Opinion referenced in its 1/13/00 Order.-ent. & filed. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: yes [EOD Date: 2/1/00] (clerk) (Entered: 02/01/2000)

Jan. 27, 2000

USCA Case Number Re: [29-1] appeal by Matthew West CASE MANAGER: Jean St.John USCA NUMBER: 00-1129 (clerk) (Entered: 02/09/2000)

Feb. 8, 2000
31

MEMORANDUM OPINION, filed. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: yes (clerk) (Entered: 03/02/2000)

Feb. 28, 2000

Copy of GBL Memorandum Opinion forwarded to the USCA. (clerk) Modified on 05/02/2000 (Entered: 03/03/2000)

March 3, 2000
32

TRANSCRIPT for dates of 1/13/00 (GBL), filed. (clerk) (Entered: 04/07/2000)

April 6, 2000

Certification of completion sent to USCA re: [29-1] appeal by Matthew West. Copies of certificate, docket entries and transmittal sent to counsel. (jsol) (Entered: 04/24/2000)

April 24, 2000
34

JUDGMENT OF USCA (certified copy) together with the Opinion, decided 1/9/01, Affirmed and Remanded for further proceeding consistent with the Opinion of this Court, Re: [29-1] appeal by Matthew West (clerk) (Entered: 02/02/2001)

Feb. 1, 2001
35

COPY of Memo from Chambers of Judge Lee that this case is set for trial by jury on 4/30/01 @ 10 AM. Is is red docket book. (jsol) (Entered: 02/07/2001)

Feb. 6, 2001

Jury Trial set at 10:00 4/30/01 before Judge Gerald B. Lee - set per memo (e-mail) from Judge Lee's chambers. (jsol) (Entered: 02/07/2001)

Feb. 6, 2001
36

ORDERED that this matter shall be set for trial by jury on 4/30/01 at 10:00 am. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: yes [EOD Date: 2/8/01] (clerk) (Entered: 02/08/2001)

Feb. 6, 2001
37

FINAL ORDER of DISMISSAL, with Prejudice, pltf and attorney withdraw all claims, including those for attorneys' fee and cost.-ent. & filed. ( signed by Judge Gerald B. Lee ) Copies Mailed: yes [EOD Date: 3/28/01] (clerk) (Entered: 03/28/2001)

March 26, 2001

CASE assigned to Judge Gerald B. Lee (clerk) (Entered: 03/28/2001)

March 26, 2001

Case closed (clerk) (Entered: 03/28/2001)

March 26, 2001

State / Territory: Virginia

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 2, 1999

Closing Date: 2001

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A 29-year-old female arrested pursuant to a valid arrest warrant. During the arrest, the plaintiff was wearing a "light house dress" with nothing on underneath and was patted down in a strip-search like fashion in public.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Dumfries Police Department (Dumfries, Prince William), None

Town of Dumfries (Dumfries, Prince William), None

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female