Case: Bull v. County of Sacramento

01-01545 | California state trial court

Filed Date: March 13, 2001

Closed Date: Jan. 13, 2005

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in California state court challenging the Sacramento County Jail's policy of strip-searching all detainees, regardless of charges. Plaintiff was arrested on misdemeanor charges for protesting at a hearing where the Forestry Department was discussing cutting down trees on private property. She was taken to jail and subjected to a strip search, including a videotaped body cavity search. She subsequently filed a state court class action suit again…

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in California state court challenging the Sacramento County Jail's policy of strip-searching all detainees, regardless of charges. Plaintiff was arrested on misdemeanor charges for protesting at a hearing where the Forestry Department was discussing cutting down trees on private property. She was taken to jail and subjected to a strip search, including a videotaped body cavity search. She subsequently filed a state court class action suit against the sheriff and county, alleging privacy and other civil rights violations.

On March 14, 2000, the Sacramento County Superior Court (Judge Thomas Cecil), certified the class. The court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs on the privacy rights issue in January 2003, awarding each class member was awarded the greater amount between actual damages or $1,000. (The court ruled for defendant on the §1983 claim, finding that the sheriff had immunity from suit.)

Defendants appealed, seeking to have the class action decertified and reversal on the summary judgment decision. While that appeal was pending, Sacramento County changed its search policy.

The private attorney for the plaintiff then brought a similar §1983 class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, but the court refused to allow any plaintiffs who were included in the state court class.

The parties then reached a settlement, which they submitted to the superior court in June 2004. The court (Judge Richard Park) approved it preliminarily that same month, setting a fairness hearing for October 2004. Judge Park gave final approval to the settlement on October 22, 2004. According to news reports, eventually over 4300 claims were submitted. Attorney Mark Merin received a $3 million dollar fee; $500,000 was allocated to claim administration. The 7 named plaintiffs split $410,000. Most other plaintiffs received between $1000 and $3500; about 1000 claimed more because of psychological injury they suffered. In the end, defendants' total payout was about $15 million.

Summary Authors

Margo Schlanger (7/14/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Cecil, Thomas (California)

Damrell, Frank C. Jr. (California)

Nowinski, Peter A. (California)

Park, Richard K. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cable, Keith Daniel (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Schwarzschild, Jeffrey I. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cassidy, Terence J (California)

Dority, Avery Emil (California)

Nourot, Keith E. (California)

Judge(s)

Cecil, Thomas (California)

Damrell, Frank C. Jr. (California)

Nowinski, Peter A. (California)

Park, Richard K. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Cable, Keith Daniel (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Schwarzschild, Jeffrey I. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cassidy, Terence J (California)

Dority, Avery Emil (California)

Nourot, Keith E. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Appellate Docket

County of Sacramento v. Superior Court, Sacramento County

California state appellate court

May 29, 2003 Docket

Appellate Docket

County of Sacramento v. Bull

California state appellate court

Aug. 26, 2003 Docket

Docket (PACER) (Related Case)

Michael v. County of Sacramento

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Jan. 29, 2004 Docket

U.S. District Court Docket (PACER) (federal case)

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Jan. 13, 2005 Docket
22

Memorandum and Order [Re: Motion to Dismiss]

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

July 23, 2003 Order/Opinion

Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Approval of Provisional Settlement Class and Settlement of Class Action

June 4, 2004 Settlement Agreement

Order for Preliminary Approval of Settlement of Class Action

Bull v. County of Sacramento/Hale v. County of Sacramento

June 9, 2004 Order/Opinion

Class Action Notice and Claim Form

No Court

Sept. 30, 2004 Notice Letter
35

Order for Dismissal with Prejudice

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Jan. 12, 2005 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/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1466&context=lcp

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
2

ORDER REQUIRING JOINT STATUS REPORT by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr informing the parties on the procedure to follow in pursuing this action (ds) (Entered: 03/10/2003)

March 7, 2003
3

DISCOVERY ORDER by Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski informing the parties on the procedure to follow in pursuing this action (ds) (Entered: 03/10/2003)

March 7, 2003
4

RETURN OF SERVICE executed upon defendant County of Sacramento, defendant Lou Blanas on 3/11/03 (ds) (Entered: 03/26/2003)

March 25, 2003
5

STIPULATION to extend time to file a response to pltfs' complaint (crf) (Entered: 04/02/2003)

April 1, 2003
6

MOTION to dismiss complaint by defendant County of Sacramento, defendant Lou Blanas motion TO BE HEARD by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr; Motion Hearing Set For 10:00 a.m. 5/23/03 (ds) (Entered: 04/15/2003)

April 14, 2003
7

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES in SUPPORT of motion to dismiss complaint by defendant County of Sacramento, defendant Lou Blanas [6-1] (ds) (Entered: 04/15/2003)

April 14, 2003
8

ANSWER by defendants to complaint [1-1]; jury demand (ak) Modified on 04/28/2003 (Entered: 04/28/2003)

April 25, 2003
9

AMENDED NOTICE of motion to dismiss pltfs' complaint by dfts(ak) Modified on 05/01/2003 (Entered: 04/28/2003)

April 25, 2003
10

AMENDED MOTION to dismiss case by defendants ; motion TO BE HEARD by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr; Motion Hearing Set For 10:00 5/30/03; memo of pts and authorities in support thereof (ak) Modified on 05/01/2003 (Entered: 04/28/2003)

April 25, 2003
11

REQUEST for Judicial notice by defendants (old) (Entered: 04/28/2003)

April 25, 2003
12

DECLARATION of Terence J Cassidy in support of dfts' motion [10-1] to dismiss pltfs' complaint (old) (Entered: 04/28/2003)

April 25, 2003

LODGED stipulation to continue hearing on dfts' motion to dismiss (daw) (Entered: 05/01/2003)

April 30, 2003
13

STIPULATION AND ORDER by Judge Frank C Damrell Jr Request to continue hearing date GRANTED; Motion to dismiss case by Dfts [10-1] HEARING CONTINUED form 5/30/03 to 10:00 6/13/03; Pltfs to file their opposition to Dft's Motion to Dismiss no later than 5/30/03; and dfts' reply due no later than 6/9/03 (cc: all counsel) (lm) (Entered: 05/05/2003)

May 5, 2003
14

JOINT STATUS REPORT (ds) (Entered: 05/12/2003)

May 9, 2003
16

OPPOSITION by plaintiffs to dft's request for judicial notice [11-1] (ds) (Entered: 06/02/2003)

May 30, 2003
17

PROOF OF SERVICE by plaintiffs of [15-1], [16-1] (ds) (Entered: 06/02/2003)

May 30, 2003
18

REPLY to pltfs' opposition to motion to dismiss case by defendants [10- 1]; Memorandum of points and authorities (crf) (Entered: 06/09/2003)

June 6, 2003
19

DECLARATION of Terence J Cassidy in support of reply to pltfs' opposition to dfts' motion to dismiss pltfs' complaint [18-1] (crf) (Entered: 06/09/2003)

June 6, 2003
20

MINUTE ORDER issued by the CRD: motion to dismiss case by defendants [10-1] HEARING RESET FOR 10:00 7/11/03 (cc: all counsel) (crf) (Entered: 06/11/2003)

June 10, 2003
21

MINUTES before Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr motion to dismiss case by defendants [10-1] SUBMITTED; oral arguments made; court to prepare order; appearances by Mark Merin, Cathleen Williams, Terence Cassidy and Keith Nourot C/R Angela Weston, Capitol Reporters (old) (Entered: 07/14/2003)

July 11, 2003
22

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr motion to dismiss case by defendants [10-1] GRANTED with leave to amend; pltf's may amend their complaint to include only those pltf's who were not parties to the state court action; pltf's shall have 90 days from the date of this order to file their first amended complaint in accordance with this order; dfts shall have 30 days from the date of service of pltf's first amended complaint to file a response (cc: all counsel) (ds) (Entered: 07/23/2003)

July 23, 2003
23

MINUTE ORDER directing the parties to file a new joint status report within 45 days after the answer has been filed (cc: all counsel) (ds) (Entered: 08/12/2003)

Aug. 11, 2003

LODGED stipulation to extend time by plaintiff to file their amended complaint (ds) (Entered: 10/14/2003)

Oct. 10, 2003
24

ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING stipulation extending time for pltfs' to file amended complaint GRANTED; amended complaint due by 12/4/03 (cc: all counsel) (daw) (Entered: 10/15/2003)

Oct. 15, 2003
25

NOTICE by defendant of related case(s) 03CV1795 (ds) (Entered: 11/07/2003)

Nov. 6, 2003
26

RELATED CASE ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING relating case(s) 2:03-cv-458 with member cases 2:03-cv-1795 ; Clerk is make appropriate change in designation to reflect related case assignment of 03-CV-1795 FCD PAN (cc: all counsel) (daw) (Entered: 11/18/2003)

Nov. 18, 2003

LODGED stipulation to extend time for pltfs to file their amended complaint (ds) (Entered: 12/05/2003)

Dec. 4, 2003
28

STIPULATION AND ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING that the time within which pltfs have to file their amended complaint is extended from 12/4/03 for an additional 60 days to 2/2/04 (cc: all counsel) (ds) (Entered: 12/08/2003)

Dec. 8, 2003

LODGED stipulation to extend time for pltfs' to file amended complaint and to stay matter pending outcome of mediaton in companion case; proposed order thereon (daw) (Entered: 02/03/2004)

Feb. 2, 2004
29

STIPULATION AND ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING that parties' request for extension and to stay matter GRANTED; pltf's time to file the amended complaint is EXTENDEDi and this action is STAYED pending completion of mediation, upon notice that the stipulation is withdrawn, or further order of the court; the parties to file a status conference statement by 6/2/04; Case STAYED (cc: all counsel) (crf) (Entered: 02/09/2004)

Feb. 9, 2004

LODGED Joint Status Conference Status; (Proposed) Order (sk) (Entered: 06/07/2004)

June 4, 2004
30

ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING joint status conference statment and proposed order GRANTED; Case STAYED pending mediation or upon notice of either party herein that stipulation is withdrawn or upon further order of the court; it is FURTHER ORDERED that parties will file a stipulation for dismissal of complaint or status conference statement on or before 11/3/04 (cc: all counsel) (daw) (Entered: 06/09/2004)

June 9, 2004
31

NOTICE by plaintiff in 2:03-cv-00458 of related case(s) CIV. S-04-1617 WBS DAD (daw) (Entered: 08/16/2004)

Aug. 13, 2004
32

RELATED CASE ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING that the action denominated CIV S-04-1617 WBS DAD is REASSIGNED to judge Frank C Damrell Jr and Magistrate Judge Peter A Nowinski for all further proceedings and any dates currently set in this reassigned case are VAATED; the caption on documents filed in the reassigned case shall be shown as CIV S-04-1617 FCD PAN; the clerk shall make the appropriate adjustment in the assignment of civil cases to compensate for this reassignment relating case(s) 2:03-cv-458 with member cases 2:04-cv-1617 (cc: all counsel) (ds) (Entered: 08/17/2004)

Aug. 17, 2004

LODGED Joint Status Conference Statement; (Proposed) Order (sk) (Entered: 11/04/2004)

Nov. 3, 2004
33

ORDER by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr ORDERING that this action STAYED until further order of the court or parties' notice that the stipulation is withdrawn; parties to file a stipulation for dismissal of the complaint or a status conference statement by 1/3/05 (cc: all counsel) (crf) (Entered: 11/08/2004)

Nov. 8, 2004
34

STIPULATION of DISMISSAL With Prejudice and Order by Lou Blanas and by County of Sacramento. (Cassidy, Terence) (Entered: 01/06/2005)

Jan. 6, 2005
35

ORDER pursuant to stipulation of parties this matter is dismissed with prejudice. ***Civil Case Terminated. CASE CLOSED signed by Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. on 1/12/2005. (Waggoner, D) (Entered: 01/13/2005)

Jan. 13, 2005

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 13, 2001

Closing Date: Jan. 13, 2005

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

People booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail between March 14, 2000, and June 6, 2003, on an infraction or misdemeanor offense or felony offense not involving violence, drugs or weapons and subjected to a strip search before arraignment.

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

County of Sacramento (Sacramento), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

None of the above

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run