Case: Foote v. Spiegel

2:94-cv-00754 | U.S. District Court for the District of Utah

Filed Date: Aug. 1, 1994

Closed Date: Feb. 16, 2001

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Case Summary

A motorist brought this suit under § 1983 against Utah State Troopers, corrections officers, and the state of Utah on August 1, 1994 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. The motorist alleged that the officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they strip searched after a traffic stop. The motorist sought damages for these alleged violations. She was represented by McCullough, Jones & Ivins and the American Civil Liberties Unio…

A motorist brought this suit under § 1983 against Utah State Troopers, corrections officers, and the state of Utah on August 1, 1994 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. The motorist alleged that the officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they strip searched after a traffic stop. The motorist sought damages for these alleged violations. She was represented by McCullough, Jones & Ivins and the American Civil Liberties Union, Salt Lake City Chapter. The case was assigned to Judge David Winder. 

On May 8, 1994, the motorist and her passenger—who was shirtless, had long hair, and whose arm-length tattoos were clearly visible—were driving when state troopers pulled them over purportedly for a suspected fraudulent registration and driving too slow in the passing lane. Based on the motorist's slow speech and bloodshot eyes, the officers arrested her for driving under the influence and brought her to a local jail. While at the jail, and prior to her booking, a correctional deputy strip-searched the plaintiff.

The motorist claimed that the officers violated the ADA by failing to recognize the symptoms of her neurological problems and, instead, concluding that she was under the influence of drugs. She also claimed that the stop was pre-textual; that the officers stopped the car due to her passenger's unusual appearance. In addition, the motorist alleged that the officers lacked legal justification for: (1) detaining her once they had verified her registration; (2) searching her vehicle (3) arresting her; and (4) strip searching her. She also alleged a general conspiracy amongst the officers

On October 23, 1995, the court ruled on cross-motions for summary judgment. 903 F. Supp. 1463. Defendants' motions for summary judgment were granted on the issues of lawful arrest, lawful search of the vehicle, and supervisory liability. The court denied defendants motion for summary judgment as to the motorist's pretextual stop allegation. However, the court granted the motorist's motion for summary judgment as to unlawful detention and unreasonable strip search despite the officers' qualified immunity claims. The court also dismissed the motorist's general conspiracy claim.

The parties cross-appealed parts of the October 23 order, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals requested briefing on the appealability of these issues. The Tenth Circuit issued its order regarding appealability on July 8, 1997. 118 F.3d 1416. The officers appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in the motorist's favor regarding her roadside detention and strip search claims. Citing Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 105 S.Ct. 2806, 86 L.Ed.2d 411 (1985) the officers claimed that they were entitled to qualified immunity on those two claims. The Tenth Circuit requesting briefing on these claims because not all pre-trial denials of qualified immunity are appealable. An order denying qualified immunity on summary judgment is not appealable if it merely determined the plaintiff's asserted facts were sufficiently supported by evidence in the record to survive summary judgment. But the Tenth Circuit held that the officers' denial of qualified immunity was appealable on each ground (continued detention and the strip search). However, as to the continued detention issue, the Tenth Circuit limited its holding to the clearly established law prong of qualified immunity. On that point, whether the unlawful continued detention of the motorist violated clearly established law, the Tenth Circuit reversed the district court.

The motorist appealed the district court's order granting the officers summary judgment as to the legality of initial stop and her arrest. Here, the Tenth Circuit requested briefing on appealability because it was unsure whether it possessed pendant appellate jurisdiction over these claims. The Tenth Circuit held that these issues were not appealable and dismissed the motorist's cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction. They reasoned they could address the officers' appealable issues without reviewing the motorist's issues, so pendant jurisdiction was lacking.

The motorist moved for summary judgment on the legality of her strip search once again on remand. On February 23, 1998 the district court held that the the strip search was unlawful and denied the intake officer, who conduced the search, qualified immunity. 995 F.Supp. 1347. The district court also held the county liable for failing to promulgate an adequate strip search policy.

With liability established as to the strip search, a jury trial ensued to establish damages on that issue as well as liability and damages on remaining issues. The jury awarded Foote nominal damages of $1.00 for the strip search. On the remaining fourth amendment issues, the jury found that no liability. Namely, the officers did not violate the motorist's rights when they stopped her car, nor did they violate her rights when they detained her at the scene to investigate whether she was driving under the influence.

On February 23, 1999, the district court ruled on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment as to whether the motorist was protected under the ADA. 36 F.Supp.2d 1320. The court ruled against the motorist. To hold that the ADA protected the motorist in this case, the court reasoned, would extend the ADA beyond its scope because the motorist was not substantially limited in a major life activity by her neurological issues.

The motorist eventually appealed the earlier jury verdict. On February 16, 2001, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on her appeal. 2001 WL 135687. First, the motorist alleged that the district court erred in instructing the jury that it could decide to grant only nominal damages. The Tenth Circuit rejected this claim. Second, the motorist argued that the fourth amendment liability issues at trial—the stop's justification and continued detention—should have been decided on summary judgment. Second, the motorist argued in the alternative that the jury's verdict finding no liability on these issues was unsupported by the evidence. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, affirming the district court.

Next, the motorist argued that the district court erred when it granted the officers summary judgment on her false arrest claim. This claim, she argued, should have been presented to the jury. Here, too, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the trial court decision. Finally, the motorist argued that she was entitled to attorney's fees on a theory that, because the state updated its strip search policy while this case was litigated, she had caused these changes. But the Tenth Circuit denied her claim. 

After this series of appeals, the case came to a close in 2001.

Summary Authors

Jordan Katz (4/7/2022)

People


Judge(s)

Briscoe, Mary Beck (Kansas)

Campbell, Tena (Utah)

Holloway, William Judson Jr. (Oklahoma)

Kelly, Paul Joseph Jr. (New Mexico)

McWilliams, Robert Hugh Jr. (Colorado)

Murphy, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Tacha, Deanell Reece (Kansas)

Winder, David Keith (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Anderson, Jensie L. (Utah)

Barros, Lauren R. (Utah)

Judge(s)

Briscoe, Mary Beck (Kansas)

Campbell, Tena (Utah)

Holloway, William Judson Jr. (Oklahoma)

Kelly, Paul Joseph Jr. (New Mexico)

McWilliams, Robert Hugh Jr. (Colorado)

Murphy, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Tacha, Deanell Reece (Kansas)

Winder, David Keith (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Anderson, Jensie L. (Utah)

Barros, Lauren R. (Utah)

Clark, Stephen C. (California)

Kendell, Kathryn D. (California)

Lish, Randy M. (Utah)

Mahoney, Holly J. (Utah)

Martinson, Pamela M. (Utah)

McCullough, W. Andrew (Utah)

Pace, John P. (Utah)

Phinney, Kathleen S. (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Baskin, Lisa J. Watts (Utah)

Burnett, Brent A. (Utah)

Graham, Jan (Utah)

Hurtado, Monette (Utah)

Larsen, Dan R. (Utah)

McKean, Gary O. (Utah)

Rich, Brett B. (Utah)

Stonebrook, Martha S. (Utah)

Waldron, Rebecca D. (Utah)

Wallace, Robert R. (Utah)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER - Member Case]

Foote v. Williams

Oct. 1, 1997 Docket

Docket [PACER - Member Case]

Foote v. State of Utah

Jan. 16, 1998 Docket

Docket [PACER - Lead Case]

Sept. 5, 2002 Docket
140

Memorandum Decision and Order

903 F.Supp. 1463

Oct. 23, 1995 Order/Opinion

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

118 F.3d 1416, 1997 U.S.App.LEXIS 16800

July 8, 1997 Order/Opinion
214

Opinion

995 F.Supp. 1347

Feb. 23, 1998 Order/Opinion
224

Order [Denying Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment]

April 23, 1998 Order/Opinion
353

Order

36 F.Supp.2d 1320

Feb. 23, 1999 Order/Opinion
360

Order [Denying Motion to Enter a Final Judgment on ADA Claim]

Foote v. State of Utah

March 9, 1999 Order/Opinion
365

Judgment on Jury Verdict

March 18, 1999 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 16, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint filed, assigned to Judge David Sam Receipt #: 72620 (rak) (Entered: 04/29/1996)

April 26, 1996

Jury Flag set (rak) (Entered: 04/29/1996)

April 26, 1996
2

Answer to Complaint by Catherine Williams, Davis Cnty; jury demand (ce) (Entered: 07/05/1996)

July 3, 1996

Clerk's mailing of certificate of acknowledgement of alternative dispute resolution option. Mailed to Robert R Wallace for defendants and W. Andrew McCullough for plaintiff Kristin Foote (ce) (Entered: 07/05/1996)

July 5, 1996
3

Magistrate Notice of Hearing Initial Pretrial Conference set for 10:00 9/23/96 Judge Boyce. cc: atty (ce) (Entered: 07/18/1996)

July 18, 1996
4

Scheduling order - this case stayed pending a decision from the Court of Appeals in a companion case. Following a decision from the Court of Appeals, either party may move to remove the stay. ( Signed by Judge Ronald N. Boyce, 9/23/96. cc: atty ) (ce) (Entered: 09/25/1996)

Sept. 24, 1996
5

Motion by Kristin Foote to vacate/lift the stay previously imposed by the crt (ce) (Entered: 07/23/1997)

July 22, 1997
6

Motion by Kristin Foote for Jensie L. Anderson to withdraw as attorney for pla (Entered: 08/01/1997)

July 31, 1997
7

Motion by Kristin Foote for partial summary judgment re: issue of liability (Entered: 08/01/1997)

Aug. 1, 1997
8

Memorandum by Kristin Foote in support of [7-1] motion for partial summary judgment re: issue of liability (Entered: 08/01/1997)

Aug. 1, 1997
9

Exhibits filed by plaintiff Kristin Foote RE: [7-1] motion for partial summary judgment re: issue of liability (Entered: 08/01/1997)

Aug. 1, 1997
10

Notice of attorney appearance for Kristin Foote by W. Andrew McCullough. (ksp) (Entered: 08/26/1997)

Aug. 26, 1997
11

Motion by Catherine Williams, Davis Cnty to extend time to resp to pla's mot for partial sum jgm (Entered: 09/12/1997)

Sept. 12, 1997
12

Stipulation by Kristin Foote, Catherine Williams, Davis Cnty stip/mot to extend time to resp to pla's mot for partial sum jgm (Entered: 09/12/1997)

Sept. 12, 1997
13

Order granting [11-1] motion to extend time to resp to pla's mot for partial sum jgm. Dft has 14 days beyond date of depo of Trooper Spiegel to file resp signed by Chief Judge David Sam, 9/12/97. cc: attys (Entered: 09/12/1997)

Sept. 12, 1997
14

Memorandum by Catherine Williams, Davis Cnty in opposition to [7-1] motion for partial summary judgment re: issue of liability (Entered: 09/25/1997)

Sept. 25, 1997
15

Order, consolidating this case into 2:94cv754C signed by Judge Tena Campbell, 10/1/97. (Entered: 10/02/1997)

Oct. 1, 1997

No Docketing to this case. All docketing to be done in 2:94cv754C (Entered: 10/02/1997)

Oct. 1, 1997

(Entered: 10/02/1997)

Oct. 1, 1997

Case reassigned to Judge Tena Campbell purs to Order of consolidation #15. (Entered: 10/02/1997)

Oct. 1, 1997

Case closed as consolidated with 2:94cv754C (Entered: 10/02/1997)

Oct. 1, 1997

State / Territory: Utah

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Criminal Justice (Other)

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 1, 1994

Closing Date: Feb. 16, 2001

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A motorist with a neurological disorder alleging fourth amendment violations during a traffic stop.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Utah, State

Utah State Department of Public Safety, State

Davis County (Davis), County

Various individual Utah state troopers, Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 1.00

Issues

General:

Failure to supervise

False arrest

Strip search policy

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Mental impairment

Mobility impairment

Mental Disability:

Cerebral palsy