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Case: Jones v. Murphy

1:05-cv-01287 | U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Filed Date: May 12, 2005

Closed Date: 2015

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 12, 2005, male arrestees at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the warden of Central Booking, the Baltimore Police Department, the City of Baltimore, and other state officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive relief, compensatory and consequential damages, and attorneys fees and costs. The plaintiffs al…

On May 12, 2005, male arrestees at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the warden of Central Booking, the Baltimore Police Department, the City of Baltimore, and other state officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive relief, compensatory and consequential damages, and attorneys fees and costs. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they engaged in unconstitutional strip searches of the plaintiffs and detained the plaintiffs for unreasonable lengths of time. This case was one of three cases alleging mistreatment of persons arrested and taken to Central Booking for booking and processing. The other cases were JC-MD-0008: Maryland NAACP v. Baltimore City Police Department, 1:06-cv-01863-CCB (D. Md. 2006) and JC-MD-0011: Rodney v. Murphy, 24-C-05004405, filed in Maryland state court.

Plaintiffs sought certification for five classes. First, the suspicionless strip search class which consisted of those who had been or would be arrested for crimes not involving weapons, drugs, or felony violence, who were strip searched by Central Booking employees without any individualized finding that they were harboring weapons, drugs, or other contraband. Second, the non-private strip search class was composed of those who had been or would be subjected to strip searches at Central Booking with other arrestees present. Third, the equal protection strip search class consisted of male arrestees strip searched at Central Booking while similarly-situated female arrestees were not. Fourth, the underwear strip search class was made up of male arrestees subjected to an underwear strip search while similarly-situated female arrestees were not. Fifth, the over-detention class consisted of those arrested without warrants who had been or would be detained for an unreasonable length of time (more than 48 hours) before presentment to a judicial officer for a determination of probable cause.

The defendants moved to dismiss the third amended complaint for failure to state a claim. The District Court (District Judge Catherine C. Blake) granted the motion in part and dismissed all claims against the City and the Police Department, rejecting the theory of "entrustment liability." Claims against the state defendants survived, with the exception of individual claims against the current warden. 470 F.Supp.2d 537 (D. Md. Jan 04, 2007).

On July 11, 2008, the district court (Judge Blake) issued a memorandum on the issue of whether the gender-differentiated search policy violated the Equal Protection Clause. The court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the issue and denied the defendants' motion.

On March 19, 2009, the district court partially granted the plaintiffs' motion to certify a class. Specifically, the court certified the following subclasses: 1) those people detained for more than 48 hours without having been brought before a commissioner, and 2) those people arrested for minor, nondrug, nonviolent offenses and strip-searched before they were brought before a commissioner. The court declined to certify the following subclasses: 1) those people who weren't strip-searched privately, and 2) male arrestees who were searched to their underwear when female detainees were not.

For the next two years, discovery motions were exchanged, until the defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment on January 14, 2011.

On March 5th, 2013 Judge Blake issued a memorandum and an order granting the motion for partial summary judgment. The court granted the motion under the doctrine of qualified immunity.

The plaintiffs filed an appeal on August of 2013. A panel of three judges rendered a decision on November 11, 2014. 771 F.3d 209 (4th Cir. 2014). The Circuit Court (Circuit Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III) affirmed the district court's decision to grant partial summary judgment for the defendants. The court noted that several police officers and guards testified that they found illegal contraband from these searches. And the searchers were being conducted in a private room. On the issue of qualified immunity, the court noted that the right to not be subjected to a strip search was not clearly established at the time of the searches. A Supreme Court decision was filed in 2012, settling aspects of the issue after the fact, but before this, officers who were conducting searches, could not reasonably tell if the searches were violating a constitutional right. The court found the defense of qualified immunity acceptable here, and determined that the motion for partial summary judgment was properly granted.

Circuit Judge James Andrew Wynn Jr. filed a concurring opinion in which he pointed out that the Supreme Court intimated in the Florence decision that there may be exceptions to the rule. That detainees not being admitted into the general population should not have to be stripped searched. The complexities of the exceptions had not been explored by the courts, and Judge Wynn noted that there needed to be more elaboration on this topic, so public officials would know how to act accordingly. However, the merits of the case were not be reached because of the granting of summary judgment.

On February 24, 2015 Judge Blake filed a memo regarding the January 31, 2011 motion for partial summary judgment. 2015 WL 790334. The motion was made by the warden-defendant, over the class of Plaintiffs claiming that Central Booking practiced "over-detention." The court held that the plaintiffs' theory of supervisor liability was defective because there was no evidence that the warden-defendant was deliberately indifferent to the constitutional injury of the Plaintiffs. The warden-defendant did not deny that there were detainees held longer than 48 hours, which was past what was constitutionally acceptable, but she argued that it was caused by factors outside of her control. The court agreed that the delays in presenting detainees before a court commissioner was the fault of the Baltimore police, the state's attorneys office, and court officials. Furthermore, the court argued that the warden had made several efforts to remedy the problem, and that the plaintiffs' complaint that it was not fast enough or proactive enough did not prove deliberate indifference. Finally, the court also granted the summary judgment motion on the theory of qualified immunity, so the defendant had no fair warning that her conduct was unconstitutional.

A few months later on June 15, 2015 the Court entered final judgment and closed the case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (6/6/2009)

Related Cases

Rodney v. Murphy, Maryland state trial court (2005)

Maryland NAACP v. Baltimore City Police Department, District of Maryland (2006)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4681959/parties/west-v-murphy/


Judge(s)

Blake, Catherine C. (Maryland)

Gauvey, Susan K. (Maryland)

Grimm, Paul William (Maryland)

Shedd, Dennis W. (South Carolina)

Wilkinson, James Harvie III (Virginia)

Wynn, James Andrew Jr. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Borden, Bennett B. (District of Columbia)

Cantu, Daniel Alfonso (District of Columbia)

Claiborne, William Charles III (District of Columbia)

Day, Sean Robert (Maryland)

Judge(s)

Blake, Catherine C. (Maryland)

Gauvey, Susan K. (Maryland)

Grimm, Paul William (Maryland)

Shedd, Dennis W. (South Carolina)

Wilkinson, James Harvie III (Virginia)

Wynn, James Andrew Jr. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Borden, Bennett B. (District of Columbia)

Cantu, Daniel Alfonso (District of Columbia)

Claiborne, William Charles III (District of Columbia)

Day, Sean Robert (Maryland)

Dowdle, Stephenie Joy (District of Columbia)

Geht, Jan Meir (District of Columbia)

Gould, Hillary Anne (District of Columbia)

Jacques, Elise Kochtitzky (Maryland)

Jeon, Deborah A. (Maryland)

Karlan, Mitchell A. (New York)

Litt, Barrett S. (California)

Mendro, Jason Jacob (District of Columbia)

Morrow, Jason Eugene (District of Columbia)

Rocah, David R. (District of Columbia)

Schrader, Wayne A. (District of Columbia)

Wharwood, Dave Merwin (District of Columbia)

Wilson, Sarah A. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Auerbach, Joshua Neal (Maryland)

Bellamy, Conseulo Beatric Nunez (Maryland)

Brockman, William F. (Maryland)

Conti, Michael Francis (Maryland)

Curran, John Joseph Jr. (Maryland)

Doyle, Michael O Connor (Maryland)

Eason, Alan D (Maryland)

Embry, Elizabeth Mears (Maryland)

Fader, Matthew J. (Maryland)

Grimes, Mark H (Maryland)

Hornig, Karen Stakem (Maryland)

Hughes, Beverly (Maryland)

Janey, Neal Marcellas Jr (Maryland)

Johnson, Kim Yvette (Maryland)

Moore, David Reid (Maryland)

Nilson, George A. (Maryland)

Owens, David Fitzgerald (Maryland)

Pothier, Karl Aram (Maryland)

Sangree, Suzanne (Maryland)

Sheridan, Patrick (Maryland)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:05-cv-01287

Docket (PACER)

West v. Murphy

June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013

Docket
1

1:05-cv-01287

Class Action Complaint for Money Damages and Injunctive Relief and Preliminary Injunction, with Jury Demand

May 12, 2005

May 12, 2005

Complaint
50

1:05-cv-01287

Correspondence re: State Court Litigation

Feb. 27, 2006

Feb. 27, 2006

Correspondence
93

1:05-cv-01287

Memorandum and Order

Jan. 4, 2007

Jan. 4, 2007

Order/Opinion
162

1:05-cv-01287

Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

Feb. 20, 2008

Feb. 20, 2008

Pleading / Motion / Brief
181

1:05-cv-01287

Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

April 25, 2008

April 25, 2008

Pleading / Motion / Brief
202

1:05-cv-01287

Memorandum

July 11, 2008

July 11, 2008

Order/Opinion
237

1:05-cv-01287

[Untitled]

Nov. 26, 2008

Nov. 26, 2008

Order/Opinion
265

1:05-cv-01287

Memorandum

Feb. 23, 2009

Feb. 23, 2009

Order/Opinion
270

1:05-cv-01287

Memorandum

March 19, 2009

March 19, 2009

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4681959/west-v-murphy/

Last updated Sept. 5, 2022, 3:13 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
92

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake on 1/4/07. (mcb, Deputy Clerk)

Jan. 4, 2007

Jan. 4, 2007

RECAP
92

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake on 1/4/07. (mcb, Deputy Clerk)

Jan. 4, 2007

Jan. 4, 2007

RECAP
450

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake on 3/5/13. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

RECAP
450

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake on 3/5/13. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

March 5, 2013

March 5, 2013

RECAP
482

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Chief Judge Catherine C. Blake on 2/24/2015. (nd2s, Deputy Clerk)

Feb. 24, 2015

Feb. 24, 2015

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Maryland

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 12, 2005

Closing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons subjected to strip searches at the Baltimore Central Booking. 2 Subclasses: those detained for more than 48 hours without having seeing a commissioner, and 2) those arrested for minor, nondrug, nonviolent offenses

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

City of Baltimore, City

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Conditions of confinement

Over/Unlawful Detention

Search policies

Strip search policy

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run