The Ocean County Correctional Facility Strip Search class action settlement includes “all persons who were admitted into the Ocean County Correctional Facility during the period between November 28, 2005 through December 28, 2007, after being arrested only on a non-indictable matter, such as a disorderly persons offense or violation, traffic infractions, civil matters or other non-indictable occurrences, and were strip searched upon their entry into the Ocean County Correctional Facility in the absence of reasonable suspicion.”
There are up to 7,530 individuals in the Settlement Class.
If you don’t qualify for this settlement, check out our database of other class action settlements you may be eligible for.
- Up to $300
Each Settlement Class Member who files a valid and timely Claim Form will receive up to $300.
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Ocean County Correctional Facility Strip Search Settlement Notes
- Bizzarro, et al. v. Ocean County
- Docket No. OCN-1644-17
- Pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean County, Law Division
This class action lawsuit was brought back in 2007 by plaintiffs Edward Bizzarro (now deceased), Richard Wright, and April Wedding against the Ocean County Correctional Facility, alleging their constitutional rights were violated when they were illegally strip searched.
Specifically, the complaint states that Ocean County and its booking procedures included an illegal strip search of pre-trial detainees charged with non-indictable offenses, such as failure to pay child support and traffic fines. New Jersey law defines a strip search as “the removal or rearrangement of clothing for the purpose of visual inspection of the person’s undergarments, buttocks, anus, genitals or breasts.”
For instance, in August 2007, while driving her car, plaintiff April Wedding was pulled over for a moving violation. The officer told her that she had an outstanding warrant for failure to pay a traffic fine for careless driving and arrested her. When Wedding was transported to the Ocean County Jail, she was escorted to the booking desk and gave personal information to the booking officer, After she told the officer that she could not make bail, she was allegedly strip searched. A female officer took Wedding to the shower room located adjacent to the booking desk and semi-closed the curtain — separating this room from the booking area — behind the two of them.
The officer directed Wedding to take off her jewelry, including her earrings, lip ring, and tongue ring. Then, the officer instructed Wedding to take off all of her clothes, including her undergarments. From about three feet away, the officer inspected Wedding’s clothes and gave her back her underwear, but not her bra, which had a wire in it, and thus, was not permitted inside the facility.
While nude, the officer told Wedding to turn around, bend over, then squat and cough, and she was also asked to lift her breasts. At some point during this search, the officer also checked Wedding’s mouth. After she complied with all of the officer’s requests, she was permitted to put on her underwear and the prison uniform.
The officer never physically touched Wedding during this changing process, which lasted about five minutes. Wedding was held at the Ocean County Jail for two days and was released when her mother posted bail for her.
Complete details about the case and settlement are provided on the Ocean County Strip Search settlement website.
- 2/1/19: Claim Form Deadline
- 12/15/18: Objection or Exclusion Deadline
- 4/16/19: Final Hearing at 10:00 am ET* (class members do not need to attend this hearing in order to receive a slice of the settlement pie).
*Settlement Class Members who wish to speak at the hearing should check www.OceanCountyStripSearch.com to confirm that the date or time of the Hearing has not been changed.
- Mail: Ocean County Settlement, c/o A.B. Data, Ltd., P.O. Box 170500, Milwaukee, WI 53217
- Phone: 1-866-828-2555
- Carl Poplar, Esq.
- William Riback of The Riback Law Firm