Case: Gallagher v. San Mateo County, California

4:04-cv-00448 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: Feb. 3, 2004

Closed Date: 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On February 3, 2004, private attorneys Andrew C. Schwartz and Mark E. Merin filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the San Mateo County Sheriff's policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches on female detainees in the San Mateo County Jail. Plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff had a blanket policy of subjecting all female detai…

On February 3, 2004, private attorneys Andrew C. Schwartz and Mark E. Merin filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the San Mateo County Sheriff's policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches on female detainees in the San Mateo County Jail. Plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff had a blanket policy of subjecting all female detainees in their custody to strip and visual body cavity searches before they were arraigned, regardless of whether any reasonable suspicion existed that the detainees possessed contraband or weapons. This policy, plaintiffs alleged, violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and California state law. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages and class certification. Defendants generally denied the allegations.

On October 31, 2005, the District Court (Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong) granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification. October 28, 2005, the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong issued her Order certifying the action to proceed as a class action, with the classes defined as follows:

a. Federal claim ("Class One"): All women who, from February 3, 2002 to December 2, 2003, were arrested on any charge (including felonies) not involving weapons, controlled substances, or violence, and not involving a violation of parole or a violation of probation (where consent to search is a condition of such probation), and who were subjected to a uniform and indiscriminate (blanket) strip/visual body cavity search by defendants before arraignment at the San Mateo County Jail without any individualized reasonable suspicions that they were concealing contraband. This class also includes all female arrestees who were subjected to subsequent blanket strip search before arraignment after the initial strip/visual body cavity search without any reasonable individualized suspicion that they had subsequently acquired and hidden contraband on their persons.

b. State law claim ("Class Two"): All female arrestees who, from June 12, 2003 to December 2, 2003, were arrested on an infraction or misdemeanor charge and brought to the San Mateo County Jail and who were subjected to a uniform and indiscriminate (blanket) strip/visual body cavity search before arraignment without written supervisorial authorization, as required under California Penal Code § 4030(f).

Protracted negotiations followed, including a series of settlement conferences with Chief Magistrate Judge James Larson and the Honorable Raul A. Ramirez (retired). Eventually, the parties reached a tentative resolution and filed a joint motion for preliminary settlement approval on February 5, 2007.

Following a fairness hearing on November 6, 2007, Judge Armstrong approved the class settlement. A final order of dismissal was entered on November 29, 2007. Under the settlement, defendants agreed to pay 1.9 million to settle all class claims. Of that sum, $600,000 went to class counsel Andrew C. Schwartz and Mark E. Merin for attorneys' fees and up to $150,000 was allocated for the costs of claims administration. The named representative plaintiffs collectively shared $120,000. Up to $1.15 million was allocated to pay valid individual claims, based on an agreed distribution formula.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (1/22/2008)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5717598/parties/gallagher-v-county-of-san-mateo/


Judge(s)

Armstrong, Saundra Brown (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Liberty, Micha Star (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California)

Seaton, Thomas Andrew (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Armsby, Aimee B. (California)

Casey, Thomas F. III (California)

Cassidy, Terence J (California)

Woodward, Carol L. (California)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Ramirez, Raul Anthony (California)

Judge(s)

Armstrong, Saundra Brown (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Liberty, Micha Star (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California)

Seaton, Thomas Andrew (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Armsby, Aimee B. (California)

Casey, Thomas F. III (California)

Cassidy, Terence J (California)

Woodward, Carol L. (California)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Ramirez, Raul Anthony (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

April 3, 2007 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

Gallagher v. County of San Mateo

Feb. 3, 2004 Complaint
29

Order (On Class Certification)

Oct. 31, 2005 Order/Opinion
48-1

Amended Class Action Complaint

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

July 18, 2006 Complaint
56-3

Stipulation of Settlement

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

Feb. 5, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
55-2

Order for Preliminary Approval of Settlement of Class Action [Proposed]

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

Feb. 5, 2007 Order/Opinion
56-1

Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Approval of Provisional Settlement Class and Settlement of Class Action

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

Feb. 5, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
58

Order for Preliminary Approval of Settlement of Class Action

Gallagher v. San Mateo County

April 3, 2007 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5717598/gallagher-v-county-of-san-mateo/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
21

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION, ORDER, signed by Judge SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG on 05/27/2005, granting 18 Plaintiff's Miscellaneous Administrative Request For Leave To File. (sbasec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/27/2005)

May 27, 2005 RECAP
22

ORDER, signed by Judge SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG on 06/06/2005. Plaintiff's supplemental brief to be filed by 06/15/2005, addressing the issues as described in the aforementioned Order. Defendants' response to Plaintiff's supplemental brief to be filed by 06/24/2005. The hearing on Plaintiff's Motion is CONTINUED TO 07/12/2005 at 1:00 p.m. (sbasec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/6/2005)

June 6, 2005 RECAP
28

NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE AND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE ORDER. Settlement Conference is set for 12/16/05 at 10:00 AM. Signed by Magistrate Judge James Larson on 9/28/05. (jlsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/28/2005) Modified on 9/29/2005 (jlm, COURT STAFF).

Sept. 28, 2005 RECAP
29

ORDER by Judge ARMSTRONG granting 14 Motion to Certify Class (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/31/2005)

Oct. 31, 2005 RECAP
31

ORDER APPROVING 30 Notice (Other) filed by Shannon Gallagher,. Signed by Judge ARMSTRONG on 12/5/05. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/5/2005)

Dec. 5, 2005 RECAP
37

ORDER CONTINUING FURTHER SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. Signed by Judge James Larson on 2/10/06. (jlsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/10/2006)

Feb. 10, 2006 RECAP
40

FURTHER ORDER CONTINUING SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. Signed by Judge James Larson on 3/15/06. (jlsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/15/2006)

March 15, 2006 RECAP
46

NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE AND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE ORDER. A Settlement Conference is set for 1/25/2007, at 9:30 a.m. Settlement Conference Statements shall be LODGED with Chambers (NOT electronically filed) no later than 1/11/2007. Signed by Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero on 4/27/2006. (jcssec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/27/2006)

April 27, 2006 RECAP
50

STIPULATION AND ORDER. Signed by Judge ARMSTRONG on 8/9/06. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/9/2006)

Aug. 9, 2006 RECAP
58

ORDER by Judge ARMSTRONG granting 55 Motion for Settlement (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/3/2007)

April 3, 2007 RECAP
71

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge ARMSTRONG on 11/29/07. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/29/2007)

Nov. 29, 2007 RECAP
73

ORDER to Amend re 71 Order Dismissing Case. Signed by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, on 1/25/11. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/26/2011) Modified on 1/27/2011 (jlm, COURT STAFF).

Jan. 26, 2011 RECAP

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 3, 2004

Closing Date: 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons who from 7/10/03 to the present were arrested and subjected to a prearraignment strip and/or visual body cavity search at the San Mateo Jail without defendants having a reasonable suspicion that the search would be productive of contraband.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

County of San Mateo (San Mateo), County

San Mateo County Sheriff's Department (San Mateo), County

WomenÕs Correctional Center (San Mateo), County

Maguire Correctional Facility (San Mateo), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

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:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run