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$5.9 Million Settlement in Philadelphia Jail Strip Search Class Action

Philadelphia's prison system has agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle the claims of class members in a class action lawsuit alleging their rights were violated as the result of a strip search policy. The settlement does not include attorney fees, which are to be determined later, and are expected to reach $2 million.

The lawsuit includes persons who were strip searched at one of Philadelphia’s jails between April 23, 2003, and Oc-tober 9, 2007. The class is expected to contain around 38,000 people, divided into two subclasses.

The subclasses distinguish between people who were not “charged with certain violence, drug, and/or weapons (VDW) related misdemeanor charges … (2) were charged with bench warrants and/or probation violations where the un-derlying charge was a VDW misdemeanor charge, or (3) had convictions for felonies and/or VDW misdemeanor charges predating the date of their admission,” and those who had VDW related charges.

Both subclasses will receive a payment if they file a claims form. For those not charged with VDW offenses, they will re-ceive a “pro rata share” of $5,170,000 which cannot exceed $3,000 per class member. Those charged with VDW offenses receive a “pro rata share” of $400,000, not to exceed $100 per class member. If a person falls into both subclasses, payment is “based on the subclass status during his first admission to the Philadelphia Prison System during the class period.”

Incentive awards for the lead plaintiffs were provided. Class Representatives Nakisha Boone and George Byrd will each receive $15,000 under the settlement.

The settlement was reached by the parties on February 19, 2009. See: Boone v. The City of Philadelphia, USDC, E.D. Pennsylvania, Case No: 05-CV-1851.

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Related legal case

Boone v. The City of Philadelphia