(CN) – A woman who claimed she was illegally strip-searched during the booking process in Woodbury County, Iowa, failed to convince the 8th Circuit that she would “vigorously pursue” the interests of other arrested women in a class action.
Judge Steven Colloton noted that more than 14 months had passed between when Maureen Rattray filed her initial complaint and when she sought class certification.
“Rattray’s failure to move to certify with alacrity undermines confidence in the zeal with which she would represent the interests of an absent class,” Colloton wrote.
“A failure of a putative class representative to assure the court that it will vigorously pursue the interests of class members is a sufficient basis to deny certification.”
Rattray had claimed that she was forced to strip off her clothes and endure cavity searches after she was arrested on a first-time DUI charge. She said female jailers at the Woodbury County Jail made her remove her clothes, and then searched her vaginal and genital area before placing her in a holding cell, where they performed a second cavity search.
She said the searches were conducted without a “reasonable suspicion” that she possessed a weapon or contraband.
The St. Louis-based appellate panel agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion that Rattray and her lawyers waited too long in seeking to represent other arrestees.
“We conclude that there were sufficient grounds for the district court to decide that Rattray failed to meet her burden to prove that she ‘will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class,'” Colloton wrote.