Civil Case Law - Eighth Circuit

Hill v. McKinley, 311 F.3d 899 (8th Cir. 2002):  A female inmate brought suit after she was stripped in front of male officers.  The court held that the use of male officers to control the transfer of an unruly female prisoner was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, however, the court found that the officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights by forcing her to remain naked and exposed to male officers for a substantial period of time after the threat to security and safety had passed.

Timm v. Gunter, 917 F.2d 1093 (8th Cir. 1990):  Male inmates objected to pat searches conducted by female officers and cross-gender supervision. The court found the policy allowing the searches and viewing was reasonable, as there was a penological justification for the policy and the facility provided training to the officers.

Farkarlun v. Hanning, 855 F. Supp. 2d. 906 (D. Minn. 2012): Female arrestee brought § 1983 action against city, city police officers, county, and county sheriff's deputies, alleging that defendants violated her constitutional rights in conducting a cross-gender strip search. The court found that the cross-gender nature of the search did increase the level of intrusion, but that cross-gender searches were not per se unreasonable.

Williams v. Boesing , 2011 WL 3607117 (E.D. Mo. 2011): A male inmate claimed a female officer Newberry used “‘an open hand faced in toward [his] body, in order to conduct the cross-gender pat search;’ that she ‘ran her hands up the inner thigh of [his] legs;’ that her ‘hands came into contact with [his] groin region and genitals;’ that Defendant Newberry ‘used the finger of her hand to cuff, grab and manipulate [his] genitals;’ and that Defendant used her hands to grab and manipulate [his] buttocks.”  The court dismissed the Fourth Amendment claim, as the pat search was not unreasonable. The court however permitted the negligence and battery claims to overcome a motion for summary judgment.

Chestang v. Wiggins , 2011 WL 2728110 (E.D. Ark. Apr. 25, 2011): A male inmate received $1 in nominal damages for a cross-gender search that violated the agency’s written policy against such searches.

Kendrick v. Faust , 682 F. Supp. 2d 932 (E.D. Ark. 2010):  A female inmate was instructed to stand nude in the shower, and was possibly viewed by a male correctional officer.  The court found that even assuming the plaintiff’s allegations were true, the female prisoner had a very narrow zone of privacy as an inmate, and therefore her constitutional rights were not violated.  

Goodrum v. Robinson , 2010 WL 5830447 (E.D. Ark. Oct. 20, 2010):  Male inmate alleged that a female correctional officer actively participated in a pat down search. The court held that “occasional or inadvertent sightings by female officers of nude male inmates does not violate the inmates' limited right of privacy, at some point, cross-gender inspection of naked inmates inches across the line and violates a prisoner's right to privacy.”  The court refused to grant summary judgment as material issues of fact existed as to whether the female officer performed a pat down search on a naked male inmate.

Bumgardner v. Norris, 2010 WL 1729866 (E.D. Ark. Mar. 3, 2010): A male inmate was strip searched under threat of tear gas.  The search was conducted in a shower stall while a female was present. Plaintiff was strip searched, and subjected to body cavity search, under threat of tear gas if he failed to cooperate.  The court permitted plaintiff to proceed on his Fourth Amendment claim against the officers

Boss v. Morgan County, 2009 WL 3401715 (W.D. Mo., Oct. 20, 2009):  A female detainee was held in a detox cell, where the toilet was located right across from a large window in plain view, so she could be seen using the toilet by jailers, police officers, other inmates and cafeteria workers and visitors.  The court dismissed her Eighth Amendment claim, but found there was a Fourth Amendment violation considering the lack of an institutional need to expose her to the male population and the ease with which an accommodation could have been made.

Spencer v. Moreno , 2003 WL 1043318 (D. Neb. Mar. 11, 2003): A male correctional officer remained present during a female inmate’s vaginal and anal medical exam despite the fact that she was handcuffed and shackled and was not violent, aggressive, or uncooperative.  He was in a position to view her unclothed body during a breast and pelvic exam.  The court upheld her Fourth Amendment claim against the officer and the facility, but dismissed her Eighth Amendment claim, finding there was no wanton or reckless infliction of pain.