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$56,000 Settlement for Torturous Eight Hours in New Jersey Jail

In April 2007, the Borough of Bradley Beach, New Jersey, agreed to pay $56,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging multiple constitutional violations by a woman who spent eight hours in the Borough?s jail.

Plaintiff Aimee Sliker was arrested at the Bradley Beach police station on November 17, 2002, after talking with detectives about a fight she had with her boyfriend the night before. She was subsequently charged with assault and bail was set at $5,000.

Following her arrest, Sliker claimed, she was strip searched and denied food, feminine sanitary products, and medication.

Sliker informed jailers that she was undergoing treatment for cancer, including taking chemotherapy drugs several times a day, and had had her lymph nodes removed. Jailers, however, failed to take her medical condition into account.

Instead, Sliker was placed in a filthy, freezing cell. There was no heat. Water dripped from the ceiling and the plumbing leaked. The toilet was covered with feces and stained with urine.

Upon placement in this frigid cell, Sliker was forced to undergo a strip search. Sliker was heavily menstruating at the time. She asked for tampons but was provided none. She was also repeatedly shuffled back and forth from the cell to an office during this time for booking. Jailers handcuffed her to a pole whenever she was in the office, despite having no lymph nodes on her left side.

After about five hours at the jail Sliker complained that she was hungry and nauseous because she had not taken her medicine. She told jailers that she had not eaten since long before she was arrested. They gave her nothing, but did order some Chinese food for themselves, which they ate in front of her. She also asked to take her medication but was denied permission for that as well.

Sliker sued the Borough in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Sliker specifically claimed the jail?s blanket strip search policy was unconstitutional because it was not based on individualized suspicion and that jailers exhibited deliberate indifference to her legitimate medical and health needs.
Sliker also claimed the police chief failed to properly train and supervise the jailers and that he had a custom and practice of maintaining unsanitary and unsafe conditions at the jail. The Borough agreed to pay a lump sum of $56,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Attorney Steve Latimer of the Hackensack, New Jersey, law firm Loughlin and Latimer represented Sliker in her lawsuit. See: Sliker v. Borough of Bradley Beach, USDC D NJ, Case No. 3:04-CV-05577-MLC-TJB.

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Related legal case

Sliker v. Borough of Bradley Beach