Case: Dare v. Knox County

2:02-cv-00251 | U.S. District Court for the District of Maine

Filed Date: Dec. 17, 2002

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 17, 2002, a pre-trial detainee filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, challenging the Knox County Sheriff's policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches in Knox County Jail. Plaintiff alleged that officers subjected detainees in their custody to strip and visual body cavity searches regardless of the crime charged and without having reasona…

On December 17, 2002, a pre-trial detainee filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, challenging the Knox County Sheriff's policies, practices, and customs concerning the use of strip searches and visual body cavity searches in Knox County Jail. Plaintiff alleged that officers subjected detainees in their custody to strip and visual body cavity searches regardless of the crime charged and without having reasonable suspicion that the detainees possessed contraband or weapons, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages and class certification.

The defendants denied those allegations and asserted that their policies, practices and procedures were at all times consistent with constitutional requirements.

The District Court (Senior District Judge Gene Carter) certified the case as a class action, defining the class as: All people who after November 19, 1996, were subjected to a strip search and/or visual body cavity search without evaluation for individualized reasonable suspicion while being held at the Knox County Jail: (1) after having been arrested on charges that did not involve a weapon, drugs, or a violent felony; or (2) while waiting for bail to be set on charges that did not involve a weapon, drugs, or a violent felony; or (3) while waiting for an initial court appearance on charges that did not involve a weapon, drugs, or a violent felony; or (4) after having been arrested on a warrant that did not involve a weapon, drugs, or a violent felony. Tardiff v. Knox County, 218 F.R.D. 332 (D. Me. 2003), affirmed by Tardiff v. Knox County, 365 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2004) (Circuit Judge Michael Boudin).

Discovery and litigation continued, with the Judge Carter issuing various discovery and procedural orders. See Tardiff v. Knox County, 224 F.R.D. 522 (D. Me. 2004) (holding that reinsurance agreements between self-funded insurance pool of counties and its reinsurers were subject to discovery); Tardiff v. Knox County, 226 F.R.D. 10 (D. Me. 2005) (plaintiff was required to identify class members from county's jail log sheets without the assistance of the County); Tardiff v. Knox County, 2006 WL 2827604 (D. Me. Sept. 11, 2006) (limiting the scope of testimony for defendants' expert witness); Tardiff v. Knox County, 2006 WL 2827600 (D. Me. Sept. 18, 2006) (denying plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of a prior order); Tardiff v. Knox County, 2006 WL 2827603 (D. Me. Sept. 18, 2006) (order denying plaintiffs' motion for judicial determination of the number of people in the class); Tardiff v. Knox County, 453 F.Supp.2d 190 (D. Me. Sept. 21, 2006) (striking all of the parties exhibits for violating a court order directing preparation of consolidated exhibit list); and Tardiff v. Knox County, 2006 WL 3043223 (D. Me. Oct. 24, 2006) (approving substitution of the named class representative).

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, which Judge Carter granted in part and denied in part. He held the County's blanket strip search policy unconstitutional, but said there were fact issues regarding the claims of several class members that needed to be resolved. He determined that the Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity for searches of detainees alleged to have committed non-violent, non-weapons, non-drug felonies, but was not entitled to immunity for searches of detainees alleged to have committed misdemeanors. Tardiff v. Knox County, 397 F.Supp.2d 115 (D. Me. 2005). In Tardiff v. Knox County, 425 F.Supp.2d 159 (D. Me. 2006), Judge Carter clarified and denied reconsideration of his summary judgment order and denied a certificate of appealability in Tardiff v. Knox County, 451 F.Supp.2d 253 (D. Me. 2006).

On September 19, 2006, the Court bifurcated the remaining liability and damages issues. The case was ordered to proceed to determine liability (as to the class) and then would thereafter proceed as a non-class action with regard to determining individual amounts of recoverable compensatory and punitive damages. Tardiff v. Knox County, 2006 WL 2827556 (D. Me. Sept. 19, 2006). The parties then participated in a Judicial Settlement Conference with Chief District Judge George Z. Singal on September 29, 2006, and settled the case.

The initial Settlement Agreement was submitted to the Court for preliminary approval, but rejected. Dare v. Knox County, 457 F.Supp.2d 52 (D. Me. 2006). After several modifications, a third version of Settlement Agreement was preliminarily approved on December 18, 2006. Dare v. Knox County, 465 F.Supp.2d 14 (D. Me. 2006). In accordance with the revised Settlement Agreement, the Court entered an Injunction prohibiting Knox County, its Sheriff, and all jail employees from strip searching any persons charged with a crime that did not involve weapons, violence or controlled or scheduled substances during the jail admission process, unless the officer or person conducting the strip search had reasonable suspicion to believe the person does possess a weapon, controlled or scheduled substances, or other contraband. Dare v. Knox County, 465 F.Supp.2d 17 (D. Me. 2006).

Following a final fairness hearing on April 23, 2007, Judge Carter approved the settlement. Under the terms of the Agreement, the County agreed to pay the sum of $3 million for settlement of all class claims. From that amount, attorneys' fees in the amount of $750,000.00 (25%) were paid to class counsel, as well as litigation costs of class counsel, claims administration expenses, and class representative bonuses. The remainder was to be distributed equally to class members that timely submitted a claim, regardless of the number of times that they were booked into the jail and searched during the class period. See also Dare v. Knox County, 2007 WL 2071787 (D. Me. July 09, 2007) (approving $23,822.74 in litigation costs to class counsel).

The PACER docket reflects that in January 2008, Judge Carter ordered that unclaimed portions of the settlement fund went to a charity pusuant to the "cy pres" doctrine. We have no further information showing activity in the case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (3/23/2009)

Related Cases

Nilsen v. York County, District of Maine (2002)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4647359/parties/dare-v-knox-county/


Judge(s)

Boudin, Michael (Massachusetts)

Campbell, Levin Hicks (Massachusetts)

Carter, Gene (Maine)

Cohen, David Michael (Maine)

Lynch, Sandra Lea (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adamson, Tracie L. (Maine)

Billings, James A. (Maine)

DiPrima, Frank P. (New Jersey)

Friedman, Howard (Massachusetts)

Hoffman, David M. (New Jersey)

Judge(s)

Boudin, Michael (Massachusetts)

Campbell, Levin Hicks (Massachusetts)

Carter, Gene (Maine)

Cohen, David Michael (Maine)

Lynch, Sandra Lea (Massachusetts)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adamson, Tracie L. (Maine)

Billings, James A. (Maine)

DiPrima, Frank P. (New Jersey)

Friedman, Howard (Massachusetts)

Hoffman, David M. (New Jersey)

Lipman, Sumner H. (Maine)

Richards, J. Lizette (Massachusetts)

Robitzek, William D. (Maine)

Smith, Benjamin James (Maine)

Stolt, Robert J. (Maine)

Thistle, Dale F. (Maine)

Webbert, David G. (Maine)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dilworth, George T. (Maine)

Fadgen, Timothy P. (Maine)

Marchesi, Peter T. (Maine)

Murphy, Kimberly L. (Maine)

Shaffer, Cassandra S. (Maine)

Wall, John J. III (Maine)

Other Attorney(s)

Claiborne, William Charles III (District of Columbia)

Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia)

Norris, Christina R. Logsdon (Massachusetts)

Pingeon, James R. (Massachusetts)

Schneiter, Donna A. (Massachusetts)

Wunsch, Sarah (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

May 15, 2008 Docket
2

First Amended Complaint []

Tardiff v. Knox County

Dec. 26, 2002 Complaint
8

Defendants' First Amended Answer to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint

Tardiff v. Knox County

Jan. 30, 2003 Pleading / Motion / Brief
21

Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

Tardiff v. Knox County

218 F.R.D. 332

Nov. 5, 2003 Order/Opinion

[Opinion Re: Class Certification)

Tardiff v. Knox County

U. S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

365 F.3d 1

April 9, 2004 Order/Opinion
48

Plaintiff's Motion for Approval of Notice to the Class

Tardiff v. Knox County

Sept. 15, 2004 Pleading / Motion / Brief
71

Order Denying Defendant's Objection to Amended Report of Scheduling Conference and Revised Scheduling Order

Tardiff v. Knox County

224 F.R.D. 522

Nov. 10, 2004 Order/Opinion
79

Memorandum of Decision and Order Denying the Relief Requested by Plaintiff's Motion in Aid of Identification of Class Members

Tardiff v. Knox County

226 F.R.D. 10

Jan. 12, 2005 Order/Opinion
141

Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs’ Motion [for Partial] Summary Judgment

Tardiff v. Knox County

397 F.Supp.2d 115

Nov. 2, 2005 Order/Opinion
142

Order Approving Notice to Class

Tardiff v. Knox County

Nov. 2, 2005 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4647359/dare-v-knox-county/

Last updated May 13, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
141

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 99 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

Nov. 2, 2005 RECAP
164

ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION re: denying 150 Motion for Reconsideration By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

April 4, 2006 RECAP
165

ORDER denying 161 Motion to Extend Class Period By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

April 4, 2006 RECAP
166

ORDER Final Pretrial Conference set for 4/13/2006 02:00 PM before JUDGE GENE CARTER. By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

April 4, 2006 RECAP
187

ORDER RESOLVING OBJECTIONS TO REPORT OF FINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE AND ORDER re: 185 Objection & re: 186 Objection By Judge GENE CARTER. (Attachments: # 1 Report of Final Pretrial Conference And Order# 2 Exhibt A- Order Approving Notice To Class) (mjlt, )

1 Report of Final Pretrial Conference And Order

View on PACER

2 Exhibt A- Order Approving Notice To Class

View on PACER

May 5, 2006 RECAP
284

ORDER denying 258 Motion for Certificate of Appealability By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

Aug. 30, 2006 RECAP
314

ORDER denying 298 Motion For Judicial Determination of the Number of People in the Class By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

Sept. 18, 2006 RECAP
333

REPORT OF CONFERENCE - granting 331 Motion for Conference of Counsel By Judge GEORGE Z. SINGAL. (mnw, )

Oct. 3, 2006 RECAP
344

THE COURT'S PROPOSED PERMANENT INJUNCTION PURSUANT TO SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT - By Judge GENE CARTER. (mnw, )

Oct. 11, 2006 RECAP
368

ORDER ON MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT - reserving ruling on 338 Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement, 339 Plaintiff's Proposed Final Settlement Agreement, 342 Defendant's Proposed Final Settlement Agreement and 351 Joint Final Settlement Agreement. By Judge GENE CARTER. (mnw, )

Oct. 24, 2006 RECAP
384

ORDER VACATING PRIOR ORDER DECERTIFYING CLASS ACTION ON ISSUES OF ELIGIBILITY FOR CLASS MEMBERSHIP AND DETERMINATION OF INDIVIDUAL DAMAGES AND RECERTIFYING THE CLASS by Judge GENE CARTER. (ckb, )

Dec. 29, 2006 RECAP
400

ORDER ON MOTION FOR FINAL APRROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT re: 388 Motion for Approval of Settlement By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

April 24, 2007 RECAP
426

ORDER ON CLASS COUNSEL'S REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OF LITIGATION re: 389 Motion for Attorney Fees By Judge GENE CARTER. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix 1) (mjlt, )

1 Appendix 1

View on PACER

July 9, 2007 RECAP
438

ORDER denying 435 MOTION TO AUTHORIZE DARE CLAIMS ADMINISRATOR TO PAY AWARDS OUT OF SETTLEMENT FUNDS By Judge GENE CARTER. (mjlt, )

Aug. 17, 2007 RECAP

State / Territory: Maine

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 17, 2002

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All people who, after 11-19-96, were strip-searched at the Knox County Jail (ME) without individualized reasonable suspicion, and who were awaiting their first court appearance or bail on charges that did not involve weapons, drugs, or a violent felony.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Washington Lawyers' Committee

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Knox County, Maine (Knox), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

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

Order Duration: 2006 - 0

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run