Case: Price v. Jefferson County

3:91-cv-00144 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky

Filed Date: March 7, 1991

Closed Date: 2001

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Inmates at the Jefferson County Corrections Department, represented by private attorneys, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 7, 1991, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleging that they were strip-searched by county corrections officials in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs alleged that the Department of Corrections maintained an unconstitutional blanket policy to strip-search all arrestees regardless of …

Inmates at the Jefferson County Corrections Department, represented by private attorneys, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 7, 1991, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, alleging that they were strip-searched by county corrections officials in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs alleged that the Department of Corrections maintained an unconstitutional blanket policy to strip-search all arrestees regardless of individual suspicion. Plaintiffs further alleged that they were required to remove their socks, shoes and belts, lift their shirts, drop their pants and open the waistbands of their underpants for inspection of their genital areas. In the first half of 1991, about two dozen individuals sued Jefferson County alleging their right to be free of strip-searches after arrest. By the middle of 1992, several other plaintiffs filed similar claims. These cases were subsequently consolidated. Until the end of 1992, the parties were engaged in settlement discussions. In June 1993, Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaints and to certify the case as a class action. The motion was granted in September 1993. The District Court (Judge Edward H. Johnstone) granted class certification on August 11, 1994. The Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal, which was granted in Eddleman v. Jefferson County, 96 F.3d 1448 (6th Cir. 1996) (Judge Gilbert S. Merritt). The 6th Circuit held that the District Court did not err by allowing Plaintiffs to amend their complaint. It also did not err in allowing the class certification.

The parties subsequently entered into settlement negotiations, and the District Court (Judge Johnstone) approved the settlement on May 24, 1999. All remaining class members who had not made a timely request to be excluded from the class had their claims dismissed with prejudice.

The settlement fund totaled $11.5 million settlement for a class of about 50,000 people. Approximately 6,000 claims were allowed -- a participation rate of 12%. Settlement distribution was based on a point system where women received twice the amount of award that men received and where class members with multiple strip searches were paid for up to three searches. Settlement funds were distributed based on a point system where the "partial" strip search of a male warranted 4 points and a "full" strip search of a male was 8 points. For females, the points were 8 for "partial" and 16 for "full" strip searches. A second strip search was worth one-half the points of a first search and the third search was one-quarter of a first search. The average award was between $1,000 and $2,000 per class member. The court awarded one-third of the settlement fund for attorney's fees, litigation costs and claims administration expenses. The court also awarded incentive bonuses of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 to the three class representatives.

Summary Authors

David Terry (3/8/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Johnstone, Edward Huggins (Kentucky)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barber, Oliver H. Jr. (Kentucky)

Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)

Coan, Marvin L. (Kentucky)

Davis, O. Curt (Kentucky)

Gray, Mark K. (Kentucky)

Hawkins, George Terry (Kentucky)

Kellerman, Dana Wells (Kentucky)

Mallon, Vincent F. (Kentucky)

Judge(s)

Johnstone, Edward Huggins (Kentucky)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barber, Oliver H. Jr. (Kentucky)

Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)

Coan, Marvin L. (Kentucky)

Davis, O. Curt (Kentucky)

Gray, Mark K. (Kentucky)

Hawkins, George Terry (Kentucky)

Kellerman, Dana Wells (Kentucky)

Mallon, Vincent F. (Kentucky)

Miller, J. Bruce (Kentucky)

Norris, Christina R. Logsdon (Kentucky)

Stone, Alec G. (Kentucky)

Watson, Thomas H. (Kentucky)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Chuppe, Frank F. (Kentucky)

Cordery, Suzanne D. (Kentucky)

Lilly, N. Scott (Kentucky)

McCartney, R. Allen (Kentucky)

Snell, Virginia Hamilton (Kentucky)

Townes, W. Waverley (Kentucky)

Other Attorney(s)

Brown, William Lewis (Kentucky)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Frentz, Thomas W. (Kentucky)

Longmeyer, John M. (Kentucky)

Rogers, Fred A. III (Louisiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Rogers v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Rader v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Moore v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Cooper v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Bell v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Luce v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

July 19, 1994 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Strong v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

June 27, 1995 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Blankenship v. Jefferson County, Kentucky

June 27, 1995 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Oct. 1, 2002 Docket

Reported Opinion

Eddleman v. Jefferson County

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

96 F.3d 1448, 1196 WL 495013

Aug. 29, 1996 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT filed. Service to counsel. Filing fee pd - receipt # 036176 (PAC) (Entered: 04/28/1992)

Nov. 6, 1991
3

ORDER by Judge Edward H. Johnstone consolidating case 3:91-cv-144 with member case 3:91-cv-739. All future pleading to be filed in Lead C91-144-L(J) (cc: all counsel) (KDN) (Entered: 04/29/1992)

Nov. 21, 1991
4

STIPULATION and ORDER by Judge Edward H. Johnstone : dismissing case as settled w/prej. Parties to pay own costs. Final and Appealable. (cc: all counsel) (KDN) (Entered: 01/14/1993)

Jan. 14, 1993

State / Territory: Kentucky

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 7, 1991

Closing Date: 2001

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All individuals who were arrested for non-violent minor offenses between April 25, 1990 and the present that were required by the Defendant to remove their clothing for visual inspection of all or part of their exposed bodies at the Jefferson County Jail.

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Jefferson County Corrections Department (Jefferson), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1999 - None

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Type of Facility:

Government-run