Whitfield Bryson & Mason has settled a number of unconstitutional strip search cases alleging that various counties’ policies of strip searching individuals arrested for minor crimes create an infringement of civil rights. Class action cases on behalf of these individuals have been settled in Rensselaer County, NY ($2.7 million settlement); Montgomery County, NY (preliminary injunction of illegal strip search practices); Philadelphia, PA ($5.9 million class settlement); and Dauhpin County, PA ($2.165 million class settlement).
Stolen VA Laptop
In May 2006, burglars stole a laptop and an external hard drive from the home of an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The external hard drive contained the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of some 26.5 million veterans and their spouses. Affected veterans brought three separate federal class action suits, alleging violations of the Privacy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Whitfield Bryson & Mason attorneys were appointed by the Court to represent the plaintiffs as co-lead counsel.
The parties agreed to settle the case in 2009 for a $20 million fund. Class members can submit claims for 100 percent of their out-of-pocket because of the hard drive theft. Eligible claimants receive a minimum reimbursement of $75 and can receive a maximum of $1,500. After valid claims are paid out, and attorneys’ fees and other expenses are deducted, the money remaining in the fund will be split equally between two cy pres recipients, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Fisher House Foundation, both not-for-profit charitable organizations that help military personnel, veterans, and their families. The Court granted Final Approval of the settlement in September 2009.