Case: Smook v. Minehaha County

4:00-cv-04202 | U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota

Filed Date: Nov. 1, 2000

Closed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 1, 2000, a juvenile who had been arrested for violating curfew filed a civil rights class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of South Dakota, challenging the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center policy of strip-searching all juveniles admitted to the Detention Center, without any reasonable suspicion that the juveniles were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiff sought damages and injunctive relief. The Coun…

On November 1, 2000, a juvenile who had been arrested for violating curfew filed a civil rights class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of South Dakota, challenging the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center policy of strip-searching all juveniles admitted to the Detention Center, without any reasonable suspicion that the juveniles were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiff sought damages and injunctive relief. The County and individual County officials denied the allegations and argued that the individual officials were entitled to qualified immunity.

On March 20, 2002, the District Court (Judge Lawrence L. Piersol) certified the case as a class action, establishing a damages class and an injunctive relief class, consisting of: "All persons ... who, when they were under the age of eighteen years, were charged with minor offenses at any time on or after November 1, 1997 and up to a date in the future to be set by the Court, or who were charged with non-felony offenses at any time on or after April 16, 1999 and up to a date in the future to be set by the Court, and were strip searched at the Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center."

After discovery, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the Fourth Amendment claim. The District Court (Judge Piersol) entered summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on the Fourth Amendment claim and denied the individual officials' motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. Smook v. Minnehaha County, 340 F. Supp. 2d 1037 (D.S.D. 2004). Reconsideration was denied. Smook v. Minnehaha County, S.D., 353 F.Supp. 2d 1059 (D.S.D. 2005), and the defendants appealed.

On appeal, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that (1) the search of the named plaintiff, requiring her to strip to her undergarments, was not a full strip search and did not violate the Fourth Amendment; (2) county officials were immune from suit even if the search was deemed illegal, because it did not vindicate a clearly established right; and (3) the plaintiff class lacked standing to seek injunctive relief. Since the claim of the named plaintiff was dismissed, the case was remanded to the District Court to determine whether the class should be redefined or decertified and whether there was an adequate class representative to replace the named plaintiff. Smook v. Minnehaha County, 457 F.3d 806 (8th Cir.(S.D.) Aug 09, 2006), rehearing and rehearing en banc denied (Sep 27, 2006). Plaintiff's petition for certiorari was denied. Smook v. Minnehaha County, S.D., 127 S.Ct. 1885 (2007).

On remand, the plaintiffs added three additional individuals as named plaintiffs for the class. In an effort to avoid having to litigate the case again, the two sides agreed to a monetary settlement. The agreement included a payment of $450,000 by the defendants, including $182,500 in attorneys' fees and $182,500 to be divided among members of the class.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (3/3/2008)

Jonathan Forman (6/30/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Colloton, Steven M. (Iowa)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abourezk , James G. (South Dakota)

Berger-White, Juliet (Illinois)

Falon, Shannon (South Dakota)

Karsh, Joshua (Illinois)

Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)

Rowland, Mary Margaret (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Akkerman, Mary A. (South Dakota)

Heidepriem, Scott N. (South Dakota)

Judge(s)

Colloton, Steven M. (Iowa)

Piersol, Lawrence L. (South Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abourezk , James G. (South Dakota)

Berger-White, Juliet (Illinois)

Falon, Shannon (South Dakota)

Karsh, Joshua (Illinois)

Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)

Rowland, Mary Margaret (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Akkerman, Mary A. (South Dakota)

Heidepriem, Scott N. (South Dakota)

Nelson, David R. (South Dakota)

Sabers, Susan M. (South Dakota)

Thimsen, Gary P. (South Dakota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
163

Docket

Smook v. Minnehana

Nov. 24, 2009 Docket
1

Complaint

Smook v. Minnehaha

Nov. 1, 2000 Complaint
24

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Smook v. Minnehaha

May 22, 2001 Order/Opinion
42

Memorandum Opinion and Order (granting class certification)

Smook v. Minnehaha

March 20, 2002 Order/Opinion
71

Order

Smook v. Minnehaha

Jan. 14, 2003 Order/Opinion
78

Memorandum Opinion and Order (granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's motion to Amend Class Definition)

Smook v. Minnehaha

June 6, 2003 Order/Opinion
116

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Smook v. Minnehaha

340 F.Supp.2d 1037

Sept. 27, 2004 Order/Opinion
140

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Smook v. Minnehaha

353 F.Supp.2d 1059

Jan. 20, 2005 Order/Opinion
149

Court of Appeals Opinion (Aug 9, 2006)

Smook v. Minnehaha

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

457 F.3d 806

Aug. 14, 2006 Order/Opinion
165-2

First Amended Complaint (Proposed)

Smook v. Minnehaha

June 8, 2007 Complaint

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: South Dakota

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 1, 2000

Closing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Minors who have been arrested for alleged violations of curfew laws or other minor offenses and detained at the Minnehaha County Detention Center and strip searched and/or questioned about their religious beliefs or practices.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Minnehaha County (Minnehaha), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Free Exercise Clause

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $450,000

Issues

General:

Juveniles

Religious programs / policies

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run