Case: Swain v. Spinney

1:95-cv-10765 | U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Filed Date: April 13, 1995

Closed Date: 1997

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 13, 1995, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 12, §§ 11H and 11I against police lieutenant, police officer, and the Town of North Reading in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for compensatory and punitive damages, alleging that the officer's strip search, pursuant to the lieutenant's orders, violated her constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleged that t…

On April 13, 1995, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 12, §§ 11H and 11I against police lieutenant, police officer, and the Town of North Reading in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked for compensatory and punitive damages, alleging that the officer's strip search, pursuant to the lieutenant's orders, violated her constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleged that the town had a policy of conscious indifference to the legal rights of arrestees.

On May 18, 1993, police stopped Plaintiff and her boyfriend for shoplifting. Police allegedly saw Plaintiff drop a bag of marijuana on the ground. Plaintiff was patted down, and then brought to the police station. An officer pat-frisked Plaintiff and found rolling papers. Defendant-Lieutenant tried to interrogate her. She refused to answer him, and the Lieutenant became angry. The Lieutenant then ordered Defendant-Officer to search Plaintiff. Plaintiff was strip searched and subjected to a visual body cavity search. Plaintiff's boyfriend was not strip-searched.

On July 5, 1996, the United States District Court (Judge George A. O'Toole, Jr.) granted summary judgment for Defendants. The court held: (1) the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment because an officer saw Plaintiff try to discard marijuana and found rolling papers in her purse, (2) Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity, and Defendant Lieutenant's subjective purpose in ordering Plaintiff's strip search was irrelevant to this inquiry, (3) search did not violate Massachusetts Declaration of Rights because this standard was the same as the federal standard, and (4) Plaintiff failed to show that the Town was deliberately indifferent to her rights. Swain v. Spinney, 932 F.Supp. 25 (D. Mass. 1996).

On June 25, 1997, the First Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Sandra Lynch, Norman H. Stahl, and Hugh H. Bownes) affirmed summary judgment for the Town and reversed summary judgment for Defendant Officer and Lieutenant. The Court held: (1) A jury could find that Defendants did not have the required reasonable suspicion that Plaintiff concealed contraband in order to strip-search Plaintiff. (2) Issues of fact as to basis for search precluded summary judgment for Defendants Lieutenant and Officer. Defendant Lieutenant may have ordered the strip search in retaliation for Plaintiff not cooperating during her interrogation because Plaintiff was allowed to use the bathroom unobserved before being searched, Plaintiff's search was not justified by institutional security because she was the only person in her cell, and her boyfriend was not searched despite his criminal record. (3) Town was not liable under § 1983 for alleged failure to train police because the Town gave officers policy guidelines stating that they could only strip-search arrestees if they had probable cause to believe arrestee concealed contraband and a search warrant was required for a body cavity search. (4) Massachusetts search and seizure provision did not provide less protection than federal constitution. (5) Lieutenant's conduct could count as "intimidation" or "coercion" within meaning of Massachusetts civil rights statute.

Swain v. Spinney, 117 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1997).

The case settled and was dismissed on September 19, 1997.

Summary Authors

Shira Gordon (3/31/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Bownes, Hugh Henry (New Hampshire)

Lynch, Sandra Lea (Massachusetts)

O'Toole, George A. Jr. (Massachusetts)

Selya, Bruce Marshall (Rhode Island)

Stahl, Norman H. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Casey, Michael Edward (Massachusetts)

Tyler, Michael E. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gilgun, Regina M. (Massachusetts)

Louison, Douglas I (Massachusetts)

Ryan, Regina M. (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Bownes, Hugh Henry (New Hampshire)

Lynch, Sandra Lea (Massachusetts)

O'Toole, George A. Jr. (Massachusetts)

Selya, Bruce Marshall (Rhode Island)

Stahl, Norman H. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Casey, Michael Edward (Massachusetts)

Tyler, Michael E. (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gilgun, Regina M. (Massachusetts)

Louison, Douglas I (Massachusetts)

Ryan, Regina M. (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER - 1st Cir.]

Swain v. Roe

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

July 17, 1997 Docket

Docket [PACER]

Swain v. Roe

Sept. 19, 1997 Docket

Brief of the Defendants-Appellees

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Jan. 1, 1996 Pleading / Motion / Brief
44

Memorandum and Order

932 F.Supp. 25

July 5, 1996 Order/Opinion

Appellant's Brief and Supplement

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Nov. 29, 1996 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Appellate Decision

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

117 F.3d 1

June 25, 1997 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants

Margo Schlanger

This article looks at jail strip-search litigation and its participants, to analyze its internal dynamics. Among the interesting features of these cases is that many different kinds of lawyers work … April 1, 2008 https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/...

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

Complaint filed. Case assigned to Judge: Zobel. Receipt #: 267843 Amount:$ 120.00. (fmr) (Entered: 04/13/1995)

April 13, 1995

Summons issued for Mary Roe, Edward Hayes, North Reading (fmr) (Entered: 04/13/1995)

April 13, 1995
2

Return of service executed as to Edward Hayes with service on 4/21/95 filed. Answer due on 5/11/95 for Edward Hayes (lau) (Entered: 04/27/1995)

April 26, 1995
3

Return of service executed as to North Reading with service on 4/21/95 filed. Answer due on 5/11/95 for North Reading (lau) (Entered: 04/27/1995)

April 26, 1995
4

Answer by Edward Hayes, North Reading to complaint; jury demand, filed. (lau) (Entered: 05/08/1995)

May 8, 1995
5

Judge Rya W. Zobel . Notice of Hearing/conference: set scheduling conference for 2:00 7/20/95 . Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 05/08/1995)

May 8, 1995
6

Return of service executed as to North Reading with service on 6/15/95 filed. Answer due on 7/5/95 for North Reading (cmg) (Entered: 06/30/1995)

June 27, 1995

Case reassigned from Judge Zobel to Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. upon appointment to the bench. Notice sent to counsel. (cmg) (Entered: 07/14/1995)

July 11, 1995
7

Motion by Kelly J. Swain to amend [1-1] complaint , filed. (lau) (Entered: 07/14/1995)

July 13, 1995
8

Joint statement by Kelly J. Swain, Mary Roe, Edward Hayes, North Reading , re: Local Rule 16.1, filed. (lau) (Entered: 07/17/1995)

July 14, 1995
9

Amended complaint by Kelly J. Swain filed. (Answer due 7/27/95 for North Reading, for Edward Hayes, for Mary Roe ) . Amended complaint amends [1-1] complaint ; adding Laura Spinney . (lau) (Entered: 07/18/1995)

July 17, 1995

Scheduling conference held . (lau) (Entered: 07/26/1995)

July 20, 1995
12

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Clerk's Notes: re: scheduling conference, set discovery due for 12/31/95 , set motion filing deadline for 1/31/96 , set Jury trial for 9:00 4/29/96 , set pretrial conference for 2:00 4/18/96 (lau) (Entered: 07/26/1995)

July 20, 1995
10

Notice of appearance of attorney for Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney by Regina M. Gilgun & Douglas I. Louison, filed. (lau) (Entered: 07/24/1995)

July 24, 1995
11

Certificate of Consultation re: establishing a budget , filed. (lau) (Entered: 07/24/1995)

July 24, 1995
13

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Scheduling Order entered See Clerk Note #12. Entered (lau) (Entered: 07/26/1995)

July 25, 1995
14

Amended Answer to Complaint by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney , filed. Answer amends [4-1] answer .; jury demand (lau) (Entered: 07/31/1995)

July 28, 1995
15

Certificate of Consultation re: establishing a budget , filed. (lau) (Entered: 07/31/1995)

July 31, 1995
16

Assented to Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney to take the deposition of incarcerated person, plaintiff Christopher Milbury , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/18/1995)

Sept. 18, 1995

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Endorsed Order entered granting [16-1] motion to take the deposition of incarcerated person, plaintiff Christopher Milbury. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 09/21/1995)

Sept. 20, 1995
17

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney for protective order quashing the deposition of the Town Manager and the Chairman of The Board of Selectmen , filed. (lau) (Entered: 11/17/1995)

Nov. 17, 1995
18

Memorandum by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in support of [17-1] motion for protective order quashing the deposition of the Town Manager and the Chairman of The Board of Selectmen , filed. (lau) (Entered: 11/17/1995)

Nov. 17, 1995
19

Notice by Kelly J. Swain to take deposition of Town Manager of the Town of North Reading, filed. (lau) (Entered: 11/17/1995)

Nov. 17, 1995
20

Notice by Kelly J. Swain to take deposition of Chairman of the Board of Selectman of the Town of North Reading, filed. (lau) (Entered: 11/17/1995)

Nov. 17, 1995
21

Certificate of Consultation re: [17-1] motion for protective order quashing the deposition of the Town Manager and the Chairman of The Board of Selectmen , filed. (lau) (Entered: 11/17/1995)

Nov. 17, 1995
23

Memorandum by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in support of [22-1] motion to compel production of Psychiatric Records , filed. (lau) (Entered: 12/19/1995)

Dec. 15, 1995

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Endorsed Order entered granting [17-1] motion for protective order quashing the deposition of the Town Manager and the Chairman of The Board of Selectmen. There being no opposition. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 01/03/1996)

Dec. 21, 1995
24

Memorandum by Kelly J. Swain in opposition to [22-1] motion to compel production of Psychiatric Records , filed. (lau) (Entered: 12/27/1995)

Dec. 27, 1995
25

Affidavit of Kelly J. Swain of Michael E. Tyler , re: [24-1] opposition memorandum , filed. (lau) (Entered: 12/27/1995)

Dec. 27, 1995
26

Letter by Kelly J. Swain by Michael E. Tyler dated: 1/2/96 re: Plaintiff's Response to Defendant, Town of North Reading's Requests for Admissions (Atty. requests it on file) filed. (lau) (Entered: 01/09/1996)

Jan. 5, 1996

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Endorsed Order entered granting [22-1] motion to compel production of Psychiatric Records as to records of treatment from May 18, 1993 to the present. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 01/17/1996)

Jan. 16, 1996
27

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order for pretrial conference entered, set pretrial conference for 2:00 4/18/96 . Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 03/11/1996)

March 11, 1996
28

Assented to Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney to extend time to 4/17/96 to file motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/04/1996)

April 3, 1996
29

Certificate of Consultation re: [28-1] motion to extend time to 4/17/96 to file motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/04/1996)

April 3, 1996

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Endorsed Order entered granting [28-1] motion to extend time to 4/17/96 to file motion for summary judgment. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 04/10/1996)

April 9, 1996
30

Pretrial memorandum by Kelly J. Swain, Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/16/1996)

April 12, 1996
31

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/18/1996)

April 17, 1996
32

Memorandum by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in support of [31-1] motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/18/1996)

April 17, 1996
33

Certificate of Consultation re: [31-1] motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/18/1996)

April 17, 1996

Pre-trial conference held . (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 18, 1996
38

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Clerk's Notes: re: pretrial conference, reset Jury trial for 9:00 5/20/96 , set pretrial conference for 2:30 5/15/96 , Response to motion and defendant's reply by 5/3/96 [31-1] motion for summary judgment (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 18, 1996
34

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the plaintiff Kelli Swain , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 23, 1996
35

Affidavit of Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney of Douglas I. Louison , re: [34-1] motion for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the plaintiff Kelli Swain , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 23, 1996
36

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the witness, Christopher Milbury , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 23, 1996
37

Affidavit of Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney of Douglas I. Louison , re: [36-1] motion for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the witness, Christopher Milbury , filed. (lau) (Entered: 04/24/1996)

April 23, 1996
39

Memorandum by Kelly J. Swain in opposition to [31-1] motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 05/06/1996)

May 3, 1996
40

Reply by Kelly J. Swain to response to [31-1] motion for summary judgment , filed. (lau) (Entered: 05/06/1996)

May 3, 1996

Pre-trial conference held . (lau) (Entered: 05/17/1996)

May 16, 1996
41

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Clerk's Notes: re: pretrial conference; summary judgment motion pending; reset Jury trial for 9:00 7/8/96 (lau) (Entered: 05/17/1996)

May 16, 1996
42

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order entered granting [36-1] motion for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the witness, Christopher Milbury. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 05/17/1996)

May 16, 1996
43

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order entered granting [34-1] motion for an Order granting access to criminal offender record information concerning the plaintiff Kelli Swain. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 05/17/1996)

May 16, 1996
44

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Memorandum and Order entered. granting [31-1] defendant motion for summary judgement. cc/cl (fmr) (Entered: 07/05/1996)

July 5, 1996
45

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Judgment entered for Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney . , and (fmr) (Entered: 07/05/1996)

July 5, 1996

Case closed. (fmr) (Entered: 07/05/1996)

July 5, 1996
46

Ex Parte Motion by Kelly J. Swain to permit late filing of Notice of Appeal , filed. (lau) (Entered: 08/07/1996)

Aug. 7, 1996

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Endorsed Order entered granting [46-1] motion to permit late filing of Notice of Appeal. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 08/09/1996)

Aug. 9, 1996
47

Notice of appeal by Kelly J. Swain filed. Appeal record due on 9/19/96 (fmr) (Entered: 08/28/1996)

Aug. 20, 1996

Appellant's statement of issues on appeal filed by the plaintiff, Kelly Swain: (fmr) (Entered: 10/09/1996)

Sept. 5, 1996

USCA appeal fees received Fee Status: pd Fee Amount: $ 105.00 Receipt #: 119033 (fmr) (Entered: 10/09/1996)

Oct. 9, 1996
48

Notice of change of address filed by Regina M. Gilgun, Douglas I. Louison by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney . (lau) (Entered: 11/13/1996)

Nov. 12, 1996
49

Opinion of the Court of Appeals re: [47-1] appeal , entered This could indeed constitute "intimidation" or "coercion" within the meaning of the statue. The judgment of the court below is affirmed with respect to the Town of North Reading, and reversed with respect to the individual defendants.. (fmr) (Entered: 06/27/1997)

June 25, 1997
50

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order entered, set Jury trial for 9:00 9/8/97 , set pretrial conference for 2:30 9/4/97 . Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 07/02/1997)

July 2, 1997
51

Mandate of US Court of Appeals re: [47-1] appeal reversing Upon consideration whereof, it is now here ordered,adjudged and decreed as follows: The district court's judgment with respect to the Town of North Reading is affirmed, but with respect to the individual defendants,it is reversed. . (fmr) (Entered: 07/18/1997)

July 17, 1997

Record on appeal returned from U.S. Court of Appeals, re: . (fmr) (Entered: 07/18/1997)

July 17, 1997
52

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order entered, set pretrial conference for 2:30 9/4/97 . Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 08/04/1997)

Aug. 4, 1997
53

Pretrial memorandum by Kelly J. Swain, Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney , filed. (lau) (Entered: 08/27/1997)

Aug. 27, 1997

Pre-trial conference held . (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
54

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Clerk's Notes: re: pretrial conference; Defendant's file motions in limine; motion in limine re; financial losses-there are none; motion exclude criminal complaint-parties will resolve possibly via stipulation, the court would also give an instruction. Motion exclude evidence of 1985 rape, the court will allow the earlier records relating to the rape. Motion exclude expert testimony-plaintiff agrees not to ask opinion type questions. Oral motion of defendant to limit the scope of disciplinary issues to the Chief of Police-plaintiff will not raise it. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
55

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in limine to exclude expert testimony , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
56

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in limine to exclude evidence of criminal disposition of plaintiff , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
57

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney in limine to exclude evidence of all financial losses suffered by the plaintiff , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
59

Defendant's Request for Jury instructions filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
60

Motion by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney to sequester witnesses , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
61

Proposed voir dire questions by Edward Hayes, North Reading, Laura Spinney , filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 4, 1997
62

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. . Order entered re; defendants' motion for an Order granting access to the plaintiff's psychiatric records from 1985 to the present is hereby allowed. Entered cc/cl (lau) (Entered: 09/05/1997)

Sept. 5, 1997
63

Judge George A. O'Toole Jr.. Order of Dismissal entered...it is ORDERED that this action is hereby dismissed without costs and without prejudice to the right, upon good cuase shown within 30 days, to reopen the action if settlement is not consummated; issued cc/cl. (sat) (Entered: 09/08/1997)

Sept. 8, 1997

Case closed. (sat) (Entered: 09/08/1997)

Sept. 8, 1997

Terminated document: terminating [60-1] motion to sequester witnesses, terminating [58-1] motion in limine to exclude evidence of plaintiff's prior rape, terminating [57-1] motion in limine to exclude evidence of all financial losses suffered by the plaintiff, terminating [56-1] motion in limine to exclude evidence of criminal disposition of plaintiff, terminating [55-1] motion in limine to exclude expert testimony Requested by lau. (lau) (Entered: 09/11/1997)

Sept. 11, 1997
64

Stipulation of dismissal by Kelly J. Swain, Edward Hayes, Laura Spinney with prejudice, filed. (lau) (Entered: 09/19/1997)

Sept. 19, 1997

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 13, 1995

Closing Date: 1997

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Female arrestee strip-searched after being questioned as to her involvement in her boyfriend's shoplifting charges. She was also believed to have had marijuana. All charges against her were eventually dropped.

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Town of North Reading (North Reading), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run