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Cantley v. West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

November 14, 2014

MICHAEL CANTLEY, and; FLOYD TETER, on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a Class of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
THE WEST VIRGINIA REGIONAL JAIL AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AUTHORITY, and; TERRY L. MILLER, both individually and in his official capacity as Executive Director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority and; JOSEPH A. DELONG, both individually and in his official capacity as Acting Executive Director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority and; LARRY PARSONS, both individually and in his official capacity as Executive Director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, Defendants - Appellees

Argued: September 17, 2014.

Page 202

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, at Huntington. (3:09-cv-00758). Robert C. Chambers, Chief District Judge.

ARGUED:

Elmer Robert Keach, III, LAW OFFICES OF ELMER ROBERT KEACH III, PC, Amsterdam, New York, for Appellants.

David J. Mincer, BAILEY & WYANT, PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

D. Aaron Rihn, ROBERT PEIRCE & ASSOCIATES, PC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Nicholas Migliaccio, WHITFIELD, BRYSON & MASON, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Daniel Karon, GOLDMAN, SCARLATO, KARON & PENNY, PC, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellants.

Before WILKINSON, SHEDD, and WYNN, Circuit Judges. Judge Wilkinson wrote the opinion, in which Judge Shedd and Judge Wynn joined. Judge Wynn wrote a separate concurring opinion.

OPINION

Page 203

WILKINSON, Circuit Judge:

This case involves the visual strip-searching and delousing of two men held in two different jails in West Virginia. Plaintiffs Michael Cantley and Floyd Teter brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action for damages and equitable relief against the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (" WVRJA" ) and three former and current Executive Directors of the WVRJA. The WVRJA is the state agency tasked with overseeing the ten regional jails, each of which receives arrestees pending their arraignments when local courts are not immediately available. Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the strip searches and delousing procedure.

The district court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and denied plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the strip searches and delousing procedure did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Cantley v. W.Va. Reg'l Jail & Corr. Facility Auth., 2013 WL 5531855 (S.D. W.Va. Oct. 4, 2013). We now affirm, albeit on alternate grounds with respect to plaintiff Teter. See, e.g., Ellis v. La.-Pac. Corp., 699 F.3d 778, 786 (4th Cir. 2012) ( " This court is entitled to affirm the court's judgment on alternate grounds, if such grounds are apparent from the record." ) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

I.

Because the facts surrounding the visual strip searches of the plaintiffs are materially different, we consider them each in turn. Plaintiff Cantley was arrested in September 2008 for violating a domestic violence protection order. He was arraigned before a magistrate, who committed him to the Western Regional Jail, one of ten in the WVRJA system. Upon entering the jail, Cantley was pat-searched, given a brief medical examination, booked, and placed in a holding cell. During the booking process, Cantley cursed at the officers and threatened them. Once in the holding cell, he kicked the cell door insistently until ...


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