Case: Swart v. Scott County, Minnesota

4:85-cv-01052 | U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Filed Date: Aug. 13, 1985

Closed Date: 1987

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 13, 1985, an individual arrested for a minor offense filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, challenging the Scott County Jail's written policy of strip searching all detainees due to be placed in the general prison population regardless of whether there was any reasonable cause to believe that the detainee was carrying contraband. Plaintiff alleged that the policy was unconstitutional and requested that the District Cou…

On August 13, 1985, an individual arrested for a minor offense filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, challenging the Scott County Jail's written policy of strip searching all detainees due to be placed in the general prison population regardless of whether there was any reasonable cause to believe that the detainee was carrying contraband. Plaintiff alleged that the policy was unconstitutional and requested that the District Court award monetary damages, injunctive relief, and class certification.

On August 27, 1985, two weeks after the suit was filed, Scott County changed its strip search policy to provide that detainees would be strip searched only when reasonable suspicion existed to believe that the inmate was concealing contraband which could not be discovered through a less intrusive search. Defendant admitted that its pre-August 17, 1985 policies were unconstitutional and Plaintiff granted that the post-August 17, 1985 policies were constitutional.

On September 2, 1986, the District Court denied Plaintiff's motion for class certification and ruled that Plaintiff did not have standing to seek injunctive relief because he failed to show that he was likely to be subjected to Defendant's strip search policy in the future. On October 22-28, 1986, the case proceeded to trial on Plaintiff's individual claim. The jury returned a verdict awarding Plaintiff no damages.

Plaintiff did not appeal the jury award, but both parties filed motions seeking attorneys' fees. On January 6, 1987, the District Court (Judge Harry Hunter MacLaughlin) granted Plaintiff limited attorneys' fees and costs in the amount $1,328.75. The Court denied Scott County's motion for attorneys' fees. Swart v. Scott County, Minn., 650 F.Supp. 888 (D.Minn. 1987).

We are aware of no further proceedings in this case. Though we have no court docket, it would appear that the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/17/2008)

People


Judge(s)

MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Reed, Barry G. (Minnesota)

Zimmerman, Charles S. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Martin, James T. (Minnesota)

Judge(s)

MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Reed, Barry G. (Minnesota)

Zimmerman, Charles S. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Martin, James T. (Minnesota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

650 F.Supp. 888

Jan. 6, 1987 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Minnesota

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 13, 1985

Closing Date: 1987

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All persons who were strip-searched and detained at the Scott County jail for offenses no greater than traffic violations or misdemeanors, including all persons who were never charged with an offense.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Scott County (Scott), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run