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Levka v. City of Chicago

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									Levka v. City of Chicago, 748 F.2d 421, 1984 Issue Reasoning
Unconstitutional strip searches damages have ranged from $3,300 to $112,000. The award in this case is inconsistent with the prior awards.  In other cases, where the award > $30K there were aggravating circumstances: o $45K award: involved a cavity search o $112K award: matrons were hostile, ridiculed, shouted, taunted, and threatened П, referred to her body using foul and vulgar terms, forced her repeatedly to squat and push her fingers into herself, etc. o $60K award: strip search was in front of camera and in the presence of male officers. o $15K: woman asked to squat 5 times even though she told matrons she was still recovering from hysterectomy. o $15K: probing by officers of vaginal and rectal openings. In this case, there are no aggravating circumstances.  That Levka is 53 is not fraility. The court is under the “distinct impression that jury was in fact awarding punitive rather than compensatory damages.” One isolated visit to psychiatrist is inconsistent with П’s contention that she was suffering from severe and continuing trauma.

181

Rule
In reviewing a jury verdict, the court will defer to the jury’s judgment unless the award is “monstrously excessive” or “shocks the judicial conscience.”  One factor is whether the award is out of line compared to other awards in similar cases.

Facts
Levka sued for violation of her civil rights because of the strip search that she was subjected to by police officers under Chicago’s SOP to subject arrestees to such strip searches. She was awarded $50K for emotional trauma and distress, mental and physical suffering, anguish, humiliation and embarrassment but nothing for lost wages.  (she worked as musician booking agent and claimed that her job suffered because she couldn’t go out at nights) The search was done in private; out of the presence of male officers; there was no cavity probe; and only visually. The matrons were pleasant and matter-of-fact and never threatening. Still, she claimed that she was humiliated, debased, shocked, stunned, horrified, sickened, and after wards was afraid to go out at night, and even visited a psychiatrist. 4 witnesses corroborated her story that she suffered continuous and deep emotional trauma. The City’s witnesses said they’d seen her out at night.

Held П argues

The evidence does not support a damage award of this magnitude. Remittitur of $25K.

Carey v. Piphus, 435 U.S. 247, 1978 Issue Reasoning
o  o

193

Rule

Facts

Dissent Held Proc Δ argues


								
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