Case: Evans v. City of Zebulon, Georgia

3:01-cv-00009 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Filed Date: Jan. 22, 2001

Closed Date: 2006

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 22, 2001, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a police officer, the Chief of Police, and the City of Zebulon in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, each claimed Defendant officer subjected them to a strip search and body cavity search in violation of the Fourth Amendment and searched them in an abusive and unreasonable manner.According to the 11th Circuit Court Opinion, 407 F.3d 1272 …

On January 22, 2001, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a police officer, the Chief of Police, and the City of Zebulon in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, each claimed Defendant officer subjected them to a strip search and body cavity search in violation of the Fourth Amendment and searched them in an abusive and unreasonable manner.

According to the 11th Circuit Court Opinion, 407 F.3d 1272 (11th Cir. 2005), Defendant arrested Plaintiffs for non-drug crimes following a traffic stop on January 22, 1999. Defendant arrested the driver for speeding and refusing to take a Breathalyzer and arrested the passenger for an outstanding warrant. Defendant searched Plaintiffs' pockets and the car at the traffic stop. Defendant claimed he found a beer bottle cap in the driver's pocket and an open container of alcohol in the car, but Defendant did not show these items to his camera and Plaintiffs denied that Defendant found them.

While Defendant drove Plaintiffs to the jail, he told them he was the judge and jury in Zebulon and he would "send you (n-word) away for a long time." Defendant patted Plaintiffs down before entering the jail. The jailer concluded the warrant was not for the passenger, but Defendant refused to release the passenger. Defendant took the passenger to a supply closet where Defendant used racist language and ordered the passenger to undress, when the passenger refused to remove his underwear, Defendant placed him in a choke hold. Another officer pushed the driver into the room, hitting the passenger, and causing them both to fall. When the passenger tried to stand, Defendant hit him with a baton. Defendant then pulled the passenger's underwear down and used the baton to separate his butt checks and "stuck [him] in [the] anus." Defendant ordered the driver to remove his clothing and then placed "the [same] stick in [his] ass" and used the baton to lift both their testicles. Defendant did not clean the baton and he told Plaintiffs they would be raped in prison for twenty years.

On November 20, 2002, the District Court (Judge Jack T. Camp) granted summary judgment for the City of Zebulon and the Chief of Police. The Court granted summary judgment to the officer on Plaintiffs' false arrest claims, because the Court found that Defendant had probable cause to arrest the driver for speeding and had probable cause to arrest the passenger for a parole violation. The Court denied the officer's motion for summary judgment for Plaintiffs' claims of unconstitutional search and unconstitutional manner of search because the officer conducted the searches without reasonable suspicion and in an unconstitutionally intrusive manner.

Defendant officer appealed the Court's partial denial of summary judgment. Plaintiffs appealed summary judgment for the City of Zebulon and the Chief of Police.

On February 6, 2003, the 11th Circuit dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal because the Court had no appellate jurisdiction due to a lack of finality.

On November 18, 2003, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges R. Lanier Anderson III, Stanley F. Birch, Jr. and Robert B. Propst) found that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment. Evans v. City of Zebulon, 351 F.3d 485 (11th Cir. 2003). The Court held: (1) Defendant had no reasonable suspicion that Plaintiffs concealed drugs to justify strip search and body cavity searches of Plaintiffs. (2) However, Defendant was entitled to qualified immunity as to the searches, because the law in 1999 was not clear that the strip searches were unconstitutional. (3) Defendant was entitled to qualified immunity as to Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims about the manner of the searches. Although Defendant searched Plaintiffs in an unsanitary, "degrading," "humiliating," and "terrifying," fashion, no similar precedents gave Defendant fair warning that the manner of search was unjustified. Judge Propst concurred in part and dissented in part and wrote that Defendant should not have qualified immunity as to the manner of the search because Defendant's conduct was so egregious.

On March 31, 2004, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Chief Judge James Larry Edmondson and Judges Gerald B. Tjoflat, Anderson, Birch, Joel F. Dubina, Susan H. Black, Edward E. Carnes, Rosemary Barkett, Frank M. Hull, Stanley Marcus, Charles R. Wilson, and William H. Pryor, Jr.) vacated the prior decision of the 11th Circuit (Evans v. City of Zebulon, 351 F.3d 485 (11th Cir. 2003)) and decided to rehear the case en banc. Evans v. City of Zebulon, 364 F.3d 1298 (11th Cir. 2004).

Prior to rehearing, Plaintiffs moved to disqualify Circuit Court Judge Pryor. On October 14, 2004, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Chief Judge Edmondson) held that Judge Pryor's recess appointment was valid. Judges Barkett and Wilson dissented. Evans v. Stephens, 387 F.3d 1220 (11th Cir. 2004).

On January 10, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitioners' motion to expedite consideration of the petition for writ of certiorari. Evans v. Stephens, 543 U.S. 1047 (2005).

On March 21, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court (Justice John P. Stevens) wrote that the court's decision to deny certiorari was not a decision that the President's recess appointment of Judge Pryor was constitutional. Evans v. Stephens, 544 U.S. 942 (2005).

On May 9, 2005, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Edmondson, Tjoflat, Anderson, Birch, Dubina, Black, Carnes, Barkett, Hull, Marcus, Wilson, and Pryor) on rehearing en banc, affirmed in part but reversed summary judgment for Defendant. The Court held: (1) Defendant violated Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights by strip searching them after arresting them without reasonable suspicion that Plaintiffs concealed drugs. Defendant had already searched their car, patted them down, and searched their pockets. (2) The totality of the alleged manner in which Defendant conducted the searches violated Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights because Defendant used unnecessary force, anal penetration, and terrifying language. Defendant did not sanitize the baton and searched Plaintiffs without privacy. (3) Defendant was immune from challenges to his decision to conduct the search because case law did not give Defendant fair notice. (4) Defendant was not immune from challenges to the manner of search because no reasonable officer could believe the manner of search was reasonable. Circuit Judges Carnes, Dubina and Hull wrote a concurring opinion. Circuit Judge Barkett concurred in part and dissented in part. Evans v. Stephens, 407 F.3d 1272 (11th Cir. 2005).

On August 31, 2005, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied rehearing en banc. Evans v. City of Zebulon, 163 Fed.Appx. 850 (11th Cir. 2005).

On January 4, 2006, the parties reached a settlement agreement for Defendants Police Officer, Chief of Police, City of Zebulon, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., and Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency to pay plaintiffs $300,000. Defendants also paid mediation costs but did not pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees. On February 24, 2006, Judge Camp dismissed the case.

Docket: 3:01-cv-00009-JTC

Summary Authors

Shira Gordon (3/12/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Anderson, Robert Lanier III (Georgia)

Barkett, Rosemary (Florida)

Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Georgia)

Black, Susan Harrell (Florida)

Camp, Jack Tarpley Jr. (Georgia)

Carnes, Edward Earl (Alabama)

Dubina, Joel Fredrick (Alabama)

Edmondson, James Larry (Georgia)

Hull, Frank M. (Georgia)

Marcus, Stanley (Florida)

Judge(s)

Anderson, Robert Lanier III (Georgia)

Barkett, Rosemary (Florida)

Birch, Stanley F. Jr. (Georgia)

Black, Susan Harrell (Florida)

Camp, Jack Tarpley Jr. (Georgia)

Carnes, Edward Earl (Alabama)

Dubina, Joel Fredrick (Alabama)

Edmondson, James Larry (Georgia)

Hull, Frank M. (Georgia)

Marcus, Stanley (Florida)

Propst, Robert Bruce (Alabama)

Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Alabama)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Florida)

Wilson, Charles R. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gulley, Clark E (Georgia)

Jensen, Dovre [Chris] Christian Jr. (Georgia)

Slawsky, Norman J. (Georgia)

Worley, David James (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Carothers, Richard A. (Georgia)

Henderson, Laurel E. (Georgia)

Mitchell, Thomas M. (Georgia)

Pearson, Norman Carter III (Georgia)

Richardson, Thomas F. (Georgia)

Westbury, James Richard Jr. (Georgia)

Whalen III, Andrew J. (Georgia)

Other Attorney(s)

Brown, Mark R. (Ohio)

Delius, Scott Dewitt (Georgia)

Goldstein, Thomas C. (District of Columbia)

Gosnell, Scott Wayne (Alabama)

Groban, Robert S. Jr. (New York)

Hale, Thomas Summers (Alabama)

Howe, Amy (District of Columbia)

Lederman, Martin S. (Maryland)

Letter, Douglas (District of Columbia)

Maguire, Joseph Matthew Jr. (Georgia)

Marshall, Randall C (Florida)

Roth, Stuart J. (District of Columbia)

Samp, Richard A. (District of Columbia)

Sekulow, Jay Alan (District of Columbia)

Trafimow, A. Johnathan (New York)

Tribe, Laurence (Massachusetts)

Waymire, Jason C. (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Williams, Terry Eugene (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER] (Related Case)

Evans v. City of Zebulon, et al

Aug. 1, 2003 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Evans v. Zebulon, Georgia

Feb. 28, 2006 Docket
7

Plaintiff's Responses to Initial Disclosures

Evans v. City of Zebulon

Jan. 15, 2003 Discovery Material/FOIA Release

Defendant's Initial Disclosures

Evans v. City of Zebulon, GA

Jan. 24, 2003 Discovery Material/FOIA Release

Plaintiffs'/Appellees' Answer Brief

Evans v. Zebulon, Georgia

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Feb. 4, 2003 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Reply Brief of Appellant

Evans v. Zebulon, Georgia

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Feb. 24, 2003 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Appellate Decision

Evans v. Stephens

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

351 F.3d 485

Nov. 18, 2003 Order/Opinion

Appellate Decision [Granting Rehearing]

Evans v. City of Zebulon, GA

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

364 F.3d 1299

March 31, 2004 Order/Opinion

[Order Granting Rehearing En Banc]

Evans v. City of Zebulon, GA

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

364 F.3d 1298

May 31, 2004 Order/Opinion

En Banc Amicus Curiae Brief of AL Municipal Ins. Corp. and AL League or Municipalities in Support of Appellant Denis Stephens and Supporting Reversal of District Court Judgment

Evans v. Zebulon, Georgia

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

June 4, 2004 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT filed. Consent form to proceed before U.S. magistrate and pretrial instructions given to attorney; jury demand FILING FEE $ 150.00 RECEIPT # 348241 (rsh) (Entered: 10/10/2002)

Oct. 10, 2002
3

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed as to City of Zebulon, Robert Lummus, Denis Stephens; mailed 10/10/02. Answer due by 12/9/02 all dfts. (rsh) (Entered: 10/30/2002)

Oct. 30, 2002
4

ANSWER by dft City of Zebulon to complaint [1-1]; Discovery ends 5/5/03; jury demand (rsh) (Entered: 12/06/2002)

Dec. 6, 2002
5

ANSWER by dft Denis Stephens to complaint [1-1]; jury demand (rsh) (Entered: 12/06/2002)

Dec. 6, 2002
6

ANSWER by dft Robert Lummus to complaint [1-1]; jury demand (rsh) (Entered: 12/11/2002)

Dec. 11, 2002
7

ANSWERS TO INITIAL DISCLOSURES by pla (rsh) (Entered: 01/15/2003)

Jan. 15, 2003
8

Certificate of interested persons. (to JTC) (rsh) (Entered: 01/15/2003)

Jan. 15, 2003
9

ANSWERS TO INITIAL DISCLOSURES by dft Denis Stephens (rsh) (Entered: 01/23/2003)

Jan. 23, 2003
10

ANSWERS TO INITIAL DISCLOSURES by dft City of Zebulon (rsh) (Entered: 01/24/2003)

Jan. 24, 2003
11

ANSWERS TO INITIAL DISCLOSURES by dft Robert Lummus (rsh) (Entered: 01/29/2003)

Jan. 29, 2003
12

Supplement TO INITIAL DISCLOSURES by dft City of Zebulon (rsh) (Entered: 02/06/2003)

Feb. 6, 2003
13

Consent Stipulation, extending time for Stephens' response to pla discovery request (rsh) (Entered: 02/18/2003)

Feb. 18, 2003
14

Preliminary Report and Discovery Schedule. (to JTC) (rsh) (Entered: 02/19/2003)

Feb. 18, 2003
15

Joint MOTION to extend time for discovery w/proposed order (to JTC) (rsh) (Entered: 04/17/2003)

April 17, 2003
16

Notice to take depositions of Detree Jordan, Peter Evans by dfts (rsh) (Entered: 04/24/2003)

April 24, 2003
17

Notice to take deposition of Randy Evans by dfts (rsh) (Entered: 05/01/2003)

May 1, 2003
18

Amended Notice to take deposition of Randy Evans by dfts (rsh) (Entered: 05/12/2003)

May 12, 2003
19

Second Notice to take depositions of Detree Jordan, Peter Evans by dfts (rsh) (Entered: 05/12/2003)

May 12, 2003
20

ORDER by Judge Jack T. Camp GRANTING [15-1] joint motion to extend time for discovery, Discovery ends 9/30/03 . Deadline for filing sumjgm. motions extended to 10/30/03. (cc) (rsh) (Entered: 05/19/2003)

May 19, 2003
22

JUDGMENT ENTERED for pla in amount of $25,000.00 (rsh) (Entered: 08/27/2003)

June 25, 2003
23

SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT in the sum of $25,000 filed by pla (scg) Modified on 08/27/2003 (Entered: 07/16/2003)

July 16, 2003

Case terminated. (rsh) (Entered: 08/27/2003)

Aug. 1, 2003

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 22, 2001

Closing Date: 2006

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Individuals arrested and detained in connection with a traffic stop were taken to O\Pike County Jail and subjected to a strip search and body cavity probe.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Zebulon, GA (Pike), City

Pike County (Pike), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run