Case: K.A. v. Hobby

1:17-cv-00099 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia

Filed Date: June 1, 2017

Closed Date: July 11, 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case was brought in response to an event that occurred on April 14, 2017 in Worth County. That day, approximately 40 uniformed police officers arrived at Worth County High School and put the school on lockdown to conduct a drug search. They did not have a search warrant. Although the officers had a “target list” of thirteen suspected students, the officers subjected the entire student body of 900 students to hands-on body searches. The plaintiffs reported that officers had touched them ina…

This case was brought in response to an event that occurred on April 14, 2017 in Worth County. That day, approximately 40 uniformed police officers arrived at Worth County High School and put the school on lockdown to conduct a drug search. They did not have a search warrant. Although the officers had a “target list” of thirteen suspected students, the officers subjected the entire student body of 900 students to hands-on body searches. The plaintiffs reported that officers had touched them inappropriately, “manipulated” students’ breasts or genitals, and inserted their hands inside students’ undergarments.

On June 1, 2017, nine high school students filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The case was assigned to Judge Leslie Abrams. Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, the plaintiffs sued the Worth County Sheriff’s Office — specifically the officers who were involved in the searches. The plaintiffs alleged that the drug searches were an unconstitutional search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment; that they violated their right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment; and that they violated the Georgia State Constitution. Represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought damages, declaratory relief, and attorneys’ fees.

On June 20, 2017, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding additional officers as defendants; and on June 23, the court granted an unopposed motion to dismiss claims against 26 individual defendants. On August 4, the plaintiffs moved for class certification. The proposed class would consist of “all students seized and searched by Worth County Sheriff’s Office employees at Worth County High School on April 14, 2017, other than those identified on the Sheriff’s target list.”

On September 5, 2017, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ state law claims. They argued that Georgia law had no damages remedy for violating the state constitution and that the defendants were entitled to official immunity.

On October 10, 2017, the parties filed a motion to stay discovery because they had begun discussions regarding class certification and a possible settlement. The court granted this motion nine days later. On November 21, the court granted a motion to stay all proceedings. On December 4, the parties had reached a settlement agreement, and they filed a joint motion to certify the class.

Under the terms of the proposed $3 million settlement, the defendants agreed to notify the class members through mail and newspaper advertisements and collect response forms from the class members regarding the April 2017 drug search. They would pay damages between $1,000.00 and $6,000.00 to each class member and attorneys' fees of $450,000. The remaining funds would be used to start a fund to benefit Worth County High School students.

The court preliminarily approved this settlement agreement and certified the class on March 23, 2018. The last fairness hearing for class members to voice their concerns was held on July 11, 2018. There were no objections. The court approved the final settlement on January 9, 2019. The case is presumably now closed.

A similar case was filed in criminal court around the same time that this case was filed in civil court. On October 3, 2017, a grand jury in South Georgia indicted the Worth County Sheriff and two of his deputies for sexual battery, false imprisonment and violation of oath of office by a public officer. After subsequently being indicted two more times on a combined 156 charges involving events unrelated to this case, the sheriff pled guilty on July 25, 2018 to three counts of violation of oath of office, one of which stemmed from the school search. As part of his plea deal, he was sentenced to six months in prison (including time served), five years probation, and was barred from holding public office for five years, among other conditions.

Summary Authors

Rebecca Strauss (6/19/2018)

Alexander Walling (8/15/2018)

Jonah Feitelson (3/26/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6292894/parties/ka-v-hobby/


Judge(s)

Gardner, Leslie Abrams (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Begnaud, Mark Andrew (Georgia)

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Horsley, Nathanael A. (Georgia)

Littman, Aaron Michael (Georgia)

Redd, Crystal (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Rollins, Raleigh W. (Georgia)

Strickland, Richard K. (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Gardner, Leslie Abrams (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Begnaud, Mark Andrew (Georgia)

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Horsley, Nathanael A. (Georgia)

Littman, Aaron Michael (Georgia)

Redd, Crystal (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Rollins, Raleigh W. (Georgia)

Strickland, Richard K. (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:17-cv-00099

Docket [PACER]

July 10, 2019

July 10, 2019

Docket
1

1:17-cv-00099

Complaint

June 1, 2017

June 1, 2017

Complaint
10

1:17-cv-00099

Amended Complaint

June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

Complaint
40-2

1:17-cv-00099

Settlement Agreement

Dec. 4, 2017

Dec. 4, 2017

Settlement Agreement
48

1:17-cv-00099

Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement

March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018

Order/Opinion
61

1:17-cv-00099

Order

Jan. 24, 2019

Jan. 24, 2019

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6292894/ka-v-hobby/

Last updated May 30, 2022, 3:14 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants Fee paid: Receipt # 113G-2624097, $400 filed by All Plaintiffs (Attachments: # (1) Civil Cover Sheet, # (2) Summons John Brannen, # (3) Summons Ray Greene, # (4) Summons Jeff Hobby, # (5) Summons Tyler Turner, # (6) Summons Brandi Whiddon)(GERAGHTY, SARAH)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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2 Summons John Brannen

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3 Summons Ray Greene

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4 Summons Jeff Hobby

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5 Summons Tyler Turner

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6 Summons Brandi Whiddon

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June 1, 2017

June 1, 2017

RECAP
2

Consent Form (28 USC 636(c)(1)) sent to A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
3

Summons Issued as to JOHN BRANNEN. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
4

Summons Issued as to RAY GREENE. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
5

Summons Issued as to JEFF HOBBY. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
6

Summons Issued as to TYLER TURNER. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
7

Summons Issued as to BRANDI WHIDDON. (mdm)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
8

UNOPPOSED MOTION for Protective Order by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by AARON MICHAEL LITTMAN. (Attachments: # (1) Text of Proposed Order Proposed Protective Order)(LITTMAN, AARON)

1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Protective Order

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June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017

PACER
9

ORDER granting [8] Motion for Protective Order. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 06/16/2017. (mdm)

June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017

PACER
10

AMENDED COMPLAINT re [1] Complaint, against JOHN BRANNEN, JEFF HOBBY, TYLER TURNER, BRANDI WHIDDON, DAVID CARMICHAEL, CHRIS BALTENBERGER, WESLEY CHAMBLESS, ANTHONY CRAVEY, SKYLER DUKE, KEVIN FORD, LISA HOUSE, PAUL KLEIN, CLAY LAWSON, TRUITT ODOM, RICHARD SANDERS, LISA STOCKS, JOHN SUMNER, DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON by D.J., B.S., K.P., J.E., T.S., L.H., K.A., S.M., A.W. (Attachments: # (1) Summons David Carmichael, # (2) Summons Chris Baltenberger, # (3) Summons Wesley Chambless, # (4) Summons Anthony Cravey, # (5) Summons Skyler Duke, # (6) Summons Kevin Ford, # (7) Summons Lisa House, # (8) Summons Paul Klein, # (9) Summons Clay Lawson, # (10) Summons Truitt Odom, # (11) Summons Richard Sanders, # (12) Summons Lisa Stocks, # (13) Summons John Sumner, # (14) Summons Deidra Tucker Whiddon)(LITTMAN, AARON)

1 Summons David Carmichael

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2 Summons Chris Baltenberger

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3 Summons Wesley Chambless

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4 Summons Anthony Cravey

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5 Summons Skyler Duke

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6 Summons Kevin Ford

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7 Summons Lisa House

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8 Summons Paul Klein

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9 Summons Clay Lawson

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10 Summons Truitt Odom

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11 Summons Richard Sanders

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12 Summons Lisa Stocks

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13 Summons John Sumner

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14 Summons Deidra Tucker Whiddon

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June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

PACER
11

Summons Issued as to DAVID CARMICHAEL. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
12

Summons Issued as to CHRIS BALTENBERGER. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
13

Summons Issued as to WESLEY CHAMBLESS. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
14

Summons Issued as to ANTHONY CRAVEY. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
15

Summons Issued as to SKYLER DUKE. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
16

Summons Issued as to KEVIN FORD. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
17

Summons Issued as to LISA HOUSE. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
18

Summons Issued as to PAUL KLEIN. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
19

Summons Issued as to CLAY LAWSON. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
20

Summons Issued as to TRUITT ODOM. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
21

Summons Issued as to RICHARD SANDERS. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
22

Summons Issued as to LISA STOCKS. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
23

Summons Issued as to JOHN SUMNER. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
24

Summons Issued as to DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON. (mdm)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
25

UNOPPOSED MOTION to Dismiss Party RAY GREENE, JOHN or JANE DOES 1-25 by K.P., T.S., K.A., D.J., B.S., J.E., L.H., S.M., A.W. filed by AARON MICHAEL LITTMAN. (Attachments: # (1) Text of Proposed Order)(LITTMAN, AARON)

1 Text of Proposed Order

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June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

PACER
26

ORDER granting [25] Motion to Dismiss Party RAY GREENE and JOHN or JANE DOES 1-25. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 06/23/2017. (mdm)

June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017

PACER
27

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by All Plaintiffs. as to CHRIS BALTENBERGER, JOHN BRANNEN, DAVID CARMICHAEL, WESLEY CHAMBLESS, KEVIN FORD, JEFF HOBBY, LISA HOUSE, PAUL KLEIN, CLAY LAWSON, TRUITT ODOM, RICHARD SANDERS, LISA STOCKS, JOHN SUMNER (REDD, CRYSTAL)

July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017

PACER
28

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by All Plaintiffs. as to ANTHONY CRAVEY, SKYLER DUKE, TYLER TURNER, BRANDI WHIDDON, DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON (REDD, CRYSTAL)

July 25, 2017

July 25, 2017

PACER
29

MOTION to Certify Class by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by CRYSTAL REDD. (Attachments: # (1) Memorandum in Support Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Motion for Class Certification)(REDD, CRYSTAL)

1 Memorandum in Support Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Motion for Class Cert

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Aug. 4, 2017

Aug. 4, 2017

PACER
30

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by RICHARD K STRICKLAND on behalf of ANTHONY CRAVEY, SKYLER DUKE, TYLER TURNER, BRANDI WHIDDON, DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON Attorney RICHARD K STRICKLAND added to party ANTHONY CRAVEY(pty:dft), Attorney RICHARD K STRICKLAND added to party SKYLER DUKE(pty:dft), Attorney RICHARD K STRICKLAND added to party TYLER TURNER(pty:dft), Attorney RICHARD K STRICKLAND added to party BRANDI WHIDDON(pty:dft), Attorney RICHARD K STRICKLAND added to party DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON(pty:dft) (STRICKLAND, RICHARD)

Sept. 1, 2017

Sept. 1, 2017

PACER
31

MOTION to Dismiss Complaint re [10] Amended Complaint,,, : by ANTHONY CRAVEY, SKYLER DUKE, TYLER TURNER, BRANDI WHIDDON, DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON filed by RICHARD K STRICKLAND. (Attachments: # (1) Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (in Part) Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint)(STRICKLAND, RICHARD)

1 Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (in Part) Plaintiffs' Amended Co

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Sept. 5, 2017

Sept. 5, 2017

PACER
32

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by RALEIGH ROLLINS on behalf of CHRIS BALTENBERGER, JOHN BRANNEN, DAVID CARMICHAEL, WESLEY CHAMBLESS, KEVIN FORD, JEFF HOBBY, LISA HOUSE, PAUL KLEIN, CLAY LAWSON, TRUITT ODOM, RICHARD SANDERS, LISA STOCKS, JOHN SUMNER Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party CHRIS BALTENBERGER(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party JOHN BRANNEN(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party DAVID CARMICHAEL(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party WESLEY CHAMBLESS(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party KEVIN FORD(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party JEFF HOBBY(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party LISA HOUSE(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party PAUL KLEIN(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party CLAY LAWSON(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party TRUITT ODOM(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party RICHARD SANDERS(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party LISA STOCKS(pty:dft), Attorney RALEIGH ROLLINS added to party JOHN SUMNER(pty:dft) (ROLLINS, RALEIGH)

Sept. 5, 2017

Sept. 5, 2017

PACER
33

UNOPPOSED MOTION for Extension of Time to File RESPONSE by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by CRYSTAL REDD.(REDD, CRYSTAL)

Sept. 13, 2017

Sept. 13, 2017

PACER
34

RULES 16/26 ORDER:Proposed Scheduling/Discovery order due by 10/26/2017. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 9/26/2017. (Attachments: # (1) Required Form)(far)

1 Required Form

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Sept. 26, 2017

Sept. 26, 2017

PACER
35

JOINT MOTION to Stay Scheduling Order and Discovery/Rule 26 obligations by ANTHONY CRAVEY, SKYLER DUKE, TYLER TURNER, BRANDI WHIDDON, DEIDRA TUCKER WHIDDON filed by RICHARD K STRICKLAND. (Attachments: # (1) Text of Proposed Order re Motion to Stay)(STRICKLAND, RICHARD)

1 Text of Proposed Order re Motion to Stay

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Oct. 10, 2017

Oct. 10, 2017

PACER
36

ORDER granting [33] Motion for Extension of Time to File RESPONSE re [31] MOTION to Dismiss Complaint re [10] Amended Complaint; granting [35] Motion to Stay. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 10/19/2017. (mdm)

Oct. 19, 2017

Oct. 19, 2017

PACER
37

JOINT MOTION to Stay All Proceedings by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by AARON MICHAEL LITTMAN.(LITTMAN, AARON)

Nov. 17, 2017

Nov. 17, 2017

RECAP
38

ORDER granting [37] JOINT MOTION to Stay All Proceedings. The stay will automatically lift if the parties fail to file the proposed motion by December 4, 2017. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 11/21/2017. (mdm)

Nov. 21, 2017

Nov. 21, 2017

RECAP
39

JOINT MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages for MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF JOINT MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL CERTIFCATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by MARK A BEGNAUD. (Attachments: # (1) Proposed Order Proposed Order)(BEGNAUD, MARK)

1 Proposed Order Proposed Order

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Nov. 30, 2017

Nov. 30, 2017

RECAP
40

JOINT MOTION to Certify Class by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by CRYSTAL REDD. (Attachments: # (1) Memorandum in Support Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion, # (2) Exhibit Exhibit A-Settlement Agreement, # (3) Appendix Appendix A-Notice to Category 1, # (4) Appendix Appendix B- Notice to Category 2, # (5) Appendix Appendix C-Response Form, # (6) Appendix Appendix D-Opt Out Form, # (7) Exhibit Exhibit B-Attendance Records-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER, # (8) Exhibit Exhibit C-Enrollment Spreadsheet-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER, # (9) Exhibit Exhibit D-Notice for Publication, # (10) Proposed Order Exhibit E-Proposed Order, # (11) Exhibit Exhibit F-Categorization Methodology-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER)(REDD, CRYSTAL)

1 Memorandum in Support Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion

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2 Exhibit Exhibit A-Settlement Agreement

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3 Appendix Appendix A-Notice to Category 1

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4 Appendix Appendix B- Notice to Category 2

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5 Appendix Appendix C-Response Form

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6 Appendix Appendix D-Opt Out Form

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7 Exhibit Exhibit B-Attendance Records-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER

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8 Exhibit Exhibit C-Enrollment Spreadsheet-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER

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9 Exhibit Exhibit D-Notice for Publication

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10 Proposed Order Exhibit E-Proposed Order

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11 Exhibit Exhibit F-Categorization Methodology-UNDER SEAL PLACEHOLDER

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Dec. 4, 2017

Dec. 4, 2017

PACER
41

ORDER granting [39] Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 12/04/2017. (mdm)

Dec. 4, 2017

Dec. 4, 2017

PACER
42

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. re [40] MOTION to Certify Class (REDD, CRYSTAL)

Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
43

JOINT MOTION to Seal Document(s) [40] MOTION to Certify Class by A.W., B.S., D.J., J.E., K.A., K.P., L.H., S.M., T.S. filed by CRYSTAL REDD. (Attachments: # (1) Proposed Order Proposed Order)(REDD, CRYSTAL)

1 Proposed Order Proposed Order

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Dec. 5, 2017

Dec. 5, 2017

PACER
44

Order on Motion to Seal Document

Dec. 13, 2017

Dec. 13, 2017

PACER
45

Sealed Document

Dec. 13, 2017

Dec. 13, 2017

PACER
46

Sealed Document

Dec. 13, 2017

Dec. 13, 2017

PACER
47

Sealed Document

Dec. 13, 2017

Dec. 13, 2017

PACER
48

Order

March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018

RECAP
49

Motion to Seal Document(s)

April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018

PACER
50

Order on Motion to Seal Document

April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018

PACER
51

Sealed Document

April 4, 2018

April 4, 2018

PACER
52

Notice (Other)

April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018

PACER
53

Notice (Other)

1 Exhibit (Copy of Affidavit of Publication of Notice)

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May 3, 2018

May 3, 2018

PACER
54

Status Conference

July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

PACER
55

Motion to Certify Class

1 Exhibit Exhibit A - Proposed Order

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July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018

PACER
56

Motion to Seal Document(s)

July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018

PACER
57

Motion for Attorney Fees

1 Affidavit Declaration of Aaron Littman

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2 Affidavit Declaration of Mark Begnaud

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July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018

PACER
58

Order on Motion to Seal Document

Jan. 9, 2019

Jan. 9, 2019

PACER
60

Sealed Document

Jan. 11, 2019

Jan. 11, 2019

PACER
61

Order on Motion for Attorney Fees

Jan. 24, 2019

Jan. 24, 2019

PACER
62

Notice (Other)

Feb. 14, 2019

Feb. 14, 2019

RECAP
63

Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

1 Proposed Order

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July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

PACER
64

Order on Motion to Withdraw as Attorney

July 10, 2019

July 10, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 1, 2017

Closing Date: July 11, 2018

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All students seized and searched by Worth County Sheriff’s Office employees at Worth County High School on April 14, 2017, other than those identified on the Sheriff's target list.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Worth County Sheriff's Office (Sylvester, Worth), County

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $3,450,000

Issues

General:

Aggressive behavior

Assault/abuse by staff

Excessive force

False arrest

Juveniles

Restraints : physical

Search policies

Strip search policy

Type of Facility:

Government-run