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Chester, PA Cell Block Strip Search Settlement

Settlement Structure: Claims Made

Active: Open

Case Summary:

The City of Chester, Pennsylvania is paying individuals who were illegally strip searched when they were admitted to the city’s cell block. The complaint alleges that these illegal searches were done on individuals who were charged only with summary offenses (like disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, traffic infractions, or civil commitments) or misdemeanors that did not involve violence, weapons, or drugs (other than a small amount of marijuana). The searches, the complaint contended, violated the unreasonable search provisions of the US and Pennsylvania Constitutions.

Docket Number:

2:19-cv-799

Company: City of Chester, Pennsylvania

Filing Deadline: July 3, 2021

Class Period: February 25, 2017 to December 9, 2020

Objection Deadline: April 19, 2021

Exclusion Deadline: April 19, 2021

Final Approval Hearing: May 17, 2021

Proof of Purchase:

The City of Chester’s records will be used for verification. You do not need to provide proof if your name is contained in the records of the City of Chester. If your name is not contained there, you may be asked to provide additional documentation.

If you are not sure about the kind of charges brought against you, you can check your charging documents. If you do not have your charging documents but remember the local court where you were prosecuted, the court clerk may be able to help you locate the documents. Additionally, you may use Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System to look up your records at https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/.

Eligibility:

You may be eligible if, between February 25, 2017 and December 9, 2020, you were

- Detained in a holding cell at the City of Chester Police Department
- As a result of being arrested or charged with summary offenses, civil enforcement offenses, child support arrears, traffic offenses, disorderly conduct, contempt, nonviolent misdemeanors in which no weapon was used or brandished, misdemeanors not involving drugs or controlled substances (except for a small amount of marijuana), failure to pay fines, penalties, or costs, or failure to appear at a court hearing
- Who were strip-searched when they were detained or entered into custody, or were strip searched before an appearance before a judge or judicial officer who had the authority to release the person from detainment or custody, and
- The strip search was done pursuant to the City of Chester’s strip search policy, regardless of circumstances indicative of reasonable suspicion.

You are not eligible if you were charged with a felony offense, a violent misdemeanor, or possession or use of a weapon, or misdemeanor drug offenses (other than possession of a small amount of marijuana) at the time of you admission to the cell block area, or if you were not strip searched, or if you entered the cell block after you were convicted (not just charged) with a crime.

Typical Settlement Amount:

Class members whose highest graded charge was a summary offense: $1,000. Class members who were arrested and processed for nonviolent and non-drug offenses: $400. Class members arrested and processed for the misdemeanor offense of possession of a small amount of marijuana: $100.

You are entitled to only one payment, even if you were illegally strip searched more than once. If you owe child support or costs or fines to Pennsylvania, some or all of your award will go to pay the amount you owe.

Total Settlement Amount: Unknown

Class Representative Proposed Incentive Fee:

$25,000

Law Firms:
Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig, LLP
Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle, LLC

Claim Form: Chester, PA Cell Block Strip Search Settlement Claim Form

Case Name: Pitney v. City of Chester

Settlement Website: Chester, PA Cell Block Strip Search Settlement Website

Claims Administrator:
Rust Consulting, Inc.

Claims Administrator Contact Information:

Pitney v. Chester Settlement Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting, Inc. – 7225
P.O. Box 44
Minneapolis MN 55440-0044
1-866-647-4187

Tags: Corrections Prisons Jails, Government, Improper or Illegal Strip Search