Plaintiffs Michele Nilsen end Michael Goodrich contended that upon being placed in the York County Jail for minor offenses, they were unconstitutionally strip-searched: Nilsen following a January 13, 1999, arrest for driving with a suspended license; Goodrich following a February 12, 2003, arrest for failing to report to his probation officer.
Nilsen and Goodrich specifically contended that the jail maintained en unconstitutional custom or policy of strip-searching all pre-arraignment detainees indiscriminately--whether arrested for unpaid parking tickets or a felony--and sought class action certification. A magistrate for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine agreed and certified a class consisting of all persons strip-searched at the jail between October 14, 1996, and April 30, 2004, who were not individually evaluated for reasonable suspicion while awaiting a first court appearance or for bail to be set after being arrested on charges or a warrant that did not involve a weapon, drugs, or a violent felony.
Under the settlement agreement, each of the approximately 7,000 persons in the class are entitled to a one time cash payment, no matter how many times they were placed in the jail are strip-searched. Women, who make up 17% of the class, will receive twice the amount paid to men. Attorney's fees were requested at 30% of the gross settlement amount.
The plaintiffs were represented by David C. Webbert of the Portland, Maine, law firm of Johnson & Webbbert, and Howard Friedman of Boston. Plaintiffs had also retained correctional standards expert Thomas A. Rosazza of Colorado Springs, Colorado. See: Nilsen v. York County, USDC D ME, Case No. 02-212-P-H.
Source: New England Jury Verdict Review & Analysis
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login
Related legal case
Nilsen v. York County
|Cite||USDC D ME, Case No. 02-212-P-H|