Case: McDaniel v. Schenectady County

1:04-cv-00757 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

Filed Date: June 29, 2004

Closed Date: 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 29, 2004, two females who, earlier, had been arrested for misdemeanors and now were represented, for civil case purposes, by private attorneys from Washington, D.C. and New York, filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North District of New York. They alleged that the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department had an unconstitutional blanket policy and/or practice of strip searching all individuals who entered the Schenecta…

On June 29, 2004, two females who, earlier, had been arrested for misdemeanors and now were represented, for civil case purposes, by private attorneys from Washington, D.C. and New York, filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the North District of New York. They alleged that the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department had an unconstitutional blanket policy and/or practice of strip searching all individuals who entered the Schenectady County Jail, including those charged with misdemeanors or held on civil matters, regardless of the crime for which they were charged and without reasonable suspicion to believe that the individuals were concealing weapons or contraband. Plaintiffs alleged that the policy violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and class certification for the thousands of individuals that suffered the same alleged indignities. Defendants, the County and the Sheriff, answered by generally denying all allegations.

The case was assigned to District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe.

A settlement conference was held on May 17, 2005 before Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece. The case was not immediately settled and discovery continued. Defendants moved to dismiss the claims of one of the named plaintiffs, Nichole McDaniel, alleging that she failed to appear for scheduled depositions on numerous occasions. Magistrate Judge Treece recommended that her claims be dismissed and that, should the case settle, the Court would decide whether to forfeit any class claim she had. McDaniel v. County of Schenectady, 2005 WL 1745566 (N.D. N.Y. Jul 21, 2005). In November 2005, the Court (Judge Gary L. Sharpe) entered an order staying all activity in the case pending ongoing settlement negotiations. The stay order was continued several times until the case was ultimately settled.

On November 29, 2006, the Court preliminarily approved the parties' Settlement Agreement and, later, set the matter for a fairness hearing on August 14, 2007. Final approval was granted on November 5, 2007, on all issues except attorneys' fees. Instead of awarding 26% of the settlement as fees, the Court awarded class counsel payment for the time spent at the hourly rates traditionally charged in their native jurisdiction. McDaniel v. County of Schenectady, 2007 WL 3274798 (N.D. N.Y. Nov 05, 2007).

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, as approved, Schenectady County agreed to institute an appropriate strip search policy and pay $2.5 million into a settlement fund to resolve all class claims. From the fund, the Court awarded class counsel attorneys' fees in the amount of $343,744.50 and reimbursement of pre-settlement litigation expenses of $10,053.31. The sum of $296,202.19 (the disputed amount of attorneys' fees) was ordered to be placed into an escrow account by the Settlement Administrator, pending further litigation. The Court approved $12,000 and $1,500 to class representatives for a total of $13,500 in incentive awards. Administration expenses and costs in the amount of $107,233.40 were granted.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/26/2008)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5435399/parties/mcdaniel-v-the-county-of-schenectady/


Judge(s)

Sharpe, Gary L. (New York)

Treece, Randolph F. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barnett, Alexander E. (New York)

Cuneo, Jonathan W. (District of Columbia)

Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)

LaDuca, Charles Joseph (District of Columbia)

Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)

Menken, Bruce E. (New York)

Rozger, Jason J. (New York)

Schneider, Charles A. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Sharpe, Gary L. (New York)

Treece, Randolph F. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barnett, Alexander E. (New York)

Cuneo, Jonathan W. (District of Columbia)

Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)

LaDuca, Charles Joseph (District of Columbia)

Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)

Menken, Bruce E. (New York)

Rozger, Jason J. (New York)

Schneider, Charles A. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Greagan, William J. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:04-cv-00757

Docket (PACER)

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011

Docket
1

1:04-cv-00757

Class Action Complaint

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

Complaint
26

1:04-cv-00757

Protective Order

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Jan. 11, 2005

Jan. 11, 2005

Order/Opinion
33-11

1:04-cv-00757

Memorandum of Law

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Jan. 31, 2005

Jan. 31, 2005

Pleading / Motion / Brief
40

1:04-cv-00757

Order [re: Various Discovery Motions]

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Feb. 9, 2005

Feb. 9, 2005

Order/Opinion
74

1:04-cv-00757

Report-Recommendation and Order

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

2005 WL 1745566, 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 14852

July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005

Order/Opinion
77

1:04-cv-00757

Motion Hearing Minutes

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Sept. 29, 2005

Sept. 29, 2005

Transcript

1:04-cv-00757

Notice of Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement (with attached exhibits)

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Aug. 18, 2006

Aug. 18, 2006

Settlement Agreement
97-15

1:04-cv-00757

Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement

McDaniel v. The County of Schenectady

Aug. 18, 2006

Aug. 18, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:04-cv-00757

[Brief]

McDaniel v. County of Schenectady

Sept. 12, 2006

Sept. 12, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5435399/mcdaniel-v-the-county-of-schenectady/

Last updated Aug. 7, 2022, 3:23 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
147

DECISION and ORDER, The Motion for Final Approval of the Proposed Settlement is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows: 1. The Settlement Class Representative, Lessie Davies, is entitled to and is hereby awarded a payment of $12,000.00, i n recognition of the efforts she undertook in connection with this lawsuit. William Davis, an individual who had planned to intervene in this action to assist class counsel, is hereby awarded an incentive award of $1,500.00 in addition to his pr o rata share of the settlement fund. Former Class Representative Nichole McDaniel will receive no incentive award. 2. All class members who have made claims on the settlement are entitled to receive their pro rata share of the settlement fund after administrative expenses, attorneys' fees and expenses, incentive awards and the amounts to be placed in escrow under Paragraph xiii of this Order are deducted from the fund. 3. Class Counsel's application for attorneys' fees is grante d in the amount of $343,744.50. Class Counsel's request for reinbursement of pre-settlement litigation expenses is granted in the amount of $10,053.31. The sum of $296,202.19 (the disputed amount of attorneys' fees) will be held in escrow by the Settlement Administrator. This amount will be deposited into an insured interest bearing escrow account entitled the "SCJ Settlement Attorneys' Fees Escrow Account," which will be maintained by the Settlement Adm inistrator, Rust Consulting. No attorney in this proceeding will have signature this account. One of the conditions of this account will be that no funds are allowed to be withdrawn from the account absent an order of the court. The Settlement Adm inistrator will maintain the bank records for this account, and provide them to any party or the court on two business days' notice. 4. Administration expenses and costs are granted in the amount of $107,233.40. In the event that costs o f future administration are larger than this estimate, the court will entertain an application to have those sums deducted from the amounts held in escrow pending the completion of any appeals. 5. This action and all claims against the Settling def endants are dismissed with prejudice, but the court shall retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction of the Action, all Parties, and Settlement Class Members, to interpret and enforce the terms, conditions and obligations of this Settlement Agreeme nt. 6. All Class members who have not timely filed an opt-out request are barred and enjoined from commencing and/or prosecuting any claim or action against the Defendants. Any Class member who has not timely filed a request to exclude themselves s hall be enjoined from initiating and/or proceeding as a class action in any forum. 7. The court will not authorize counsel fees to prosecute an appeal or otherwise provide any future compensation beyond the time expended throught the preparation of the proposed order currently before the court. Class counsel shall submit, within SEVEN DAYS of this order, the amount of attorneys' fees for the time expended for the final fairness hearing through the preparation of the proposed order currently before the court. See Dkt. No. 141. Signed by Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 11/5/2007. (jel, )

Nov. 5, 2007

Nov. 5, 2007

RECAP
147

DECISION and ORDER, The Motion for Final Approval of the Proposed Settlement is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows: 1. The Settlement Class Representative, Lessie Davies, is entitled to and is hereby awarded a payment of $12,000.00, i n recognition of the efforts she undertook in connection with this lawsuit. William Davis, an individual who had planned to intervene in this action to assist class counsel, is hereby awarded an incentive award of $1,500.00 in addition to his pr o rata share of the settlement fund. Former Class Representative Nichole McDaniel will receive no incentive award. 2. All class members who have made claims on the settlement are entitled to receive their pro rata share of the settlement fund after administrative expenses, attorneys' fees and expenses, incentive awards and the amounts to be placed in escrow under Paragraph xiii of this Order are deducted from the fund. 3. Class Counsel's application for attorneys' fees is grante d in the amount of $343,744.50. Class Counsel's request for reinbursement of pre-settlement litigation expenses is granted in the amount of $10,053.31. The sum of $296,202.19 (the disputed amount of attorneys' fees) will be held in escrow by the Settlement Administrator. This amount will be deposited into an insured interest bearing escrow account entitled the "SCJ Settlement Attorneys' Fees Escrow Account," which will be maintained by the Settlement Adm inistrator, Rust Consulting. No attorney in this proceeding will have signature this account. One of the conditions of this account will be that no funds are allowed to be withdrawn from the account absent an order of the court. The Settlement Adm inistrator will maintain the bank records for this account, and provide them to any party or the court on two business days' notice. 4. Administration expenses and costs are granted in the amount of $107,233.40. In the event that costs o f future administration are larger than this estimate, the court will entertain an application to have those sums deducted from the amounts held in escrow pending the completion of any appeals. 5. This action and all claims against the Settling def endants are dismissed with prejudice, but the court shall retain exclusive and continuing jurisdiction of the Action, all Parties, and Settlement Class Members, to interpret and enforce the terms, conditions and obligations of this Settlement Agreeme nt. 6. All Class members who have not timely filed an opt-out request are barred and enjoined from commencing and/or prosecuting any claim or action against the Defendants. Any Class member who has not timely filed a request to exclude themselves s hall be enjoined from initiating and/or proceeding as a class action in any forum. 7. The court will not authorize counsel fees to prosecute an appeal or otherwise provide any future compensation beyond the time expended throught the preparation of the proposed order currently before the court. Class counsel shall submit, within SEVEN DAYS of this order, the amount of attorneys' fees for the time expended for the final fairness hearing through the preparation of the proposed order currently before the court. See Dkt. No. 141. Signed by Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 11/5/2007. (jel, )

Nov. 5, 2007

Nov. 5, 2007

RECAP
192

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER. ORDERED that Keach's motion for recusal (Dkt. no. 182) is DENIED; and it is further ORDERED that Greagan's motion for sanctions (Dkt. Nos. 176-77) is DENIED; and it is further ORDERED that the court DECLINES to impose judicial sanctions pursuant to its order to show cause. Signed by Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 02/27/2009. (dpk)

Feb. 27, 2009

Feb. 27, 2009

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 29, 2004

Closing Date: 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons who were placed into the custody of the Schenectady County Jail from 6/29/2001 through 06/29/2005, after being charged with misdemeanors, violations, traffic violations, violations of probation or parole, etc., and were strip searched.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

County of Schenectady (Schenectady), County

County of Schenectady (Schenectady), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 2,500,000

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run