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K.S. v. City of Puyallup

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

November 13, 2014

K.S., K.K., H.M., T.K., J.H., S.B., S.C., T.S., C.K., D.R., L.A., & M.L., Plaintiffs,


ROBERT J. BRYAN, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on all claims (Dkt. 32) and Plaintiffs' Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 41). The Court has considered the pleadings filed regarding the motions, the physical materials filed with the Clerk of the Court, and the remaining record.

This case arises from the City of Puyallup's use of surveillance cameras in two jail holding cells where each of the Plaintiffs, who had been arrested for drunk driving, either changed into jail clothing and/or used a toilet. Dkt. 1. The Plaintiffs' claims, after an initial round of summary judgment motions, are that the use of these cameras:

1) Violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,
2) Invaded their privacy contrary to Washington's common law, and
3) Was negligent.

Dkts. 1 and 27.

For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to summarily dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for violation of their federal constitutional rights should be denied as to the claim against the City and granted as to the claim against the individual Defendants, and Plaintiffs' motion on the federal claims denied. Defendants' motion to summarily dismiss Plaintiffs' state law claims for violation of privacy and for negligence should be denied.



Plaintiffs in this case are eleven women and one man arrested for drunk driving and taken to the Puyallup, Washington City Jail. Dkt. 1. Each either used the toilet and/or changed clothes in one of the two jail cells which had a stationary video camera. Id.

To ensure that they are no longer a danger to themselves or the general public, the jail had specific procedures in place regarding those arrested for drunk driving. Dkt. 37, at 2. They were not released until another sober person arrived and was willing to sign forms that they would take responsibility for the arrestee. Id. If no one arrived to take responsibility for them, the arrestees were held in the jail until they could be safely released on their own recognizance. Id. All those arrested for drunk driving (and other crimes) had booking photographs taken in jail clothing. Id., at 3. If someone was there to take responsibility of the drunk driving arrestee, the arrestee was allowed to change into a jail shirt only. Id., at 2. If no one is waiting, arrestees were required to change out of civilian clothing (underwear included) into jail clothing. Id. Two of the Plaintiffs here, M.L. and C.K., spent the night at the jail. Id., at 3.

The jail is a 52 bed facility with security cameras throughout. Dkt. 37, at 4. There are two holding cells in the booking area, each with windows that are covered with a black cover. The black window covers, which are moveable, have small slits through which officers may look into the cell. The toilets are visible from an oblique angle through the cell window. The cameras in the cells are wide angle, static, and view the toilet from the side. They produce black-and-white grainy images and the quality is exceedingly poor. The cameras transmit their images to a bank of monitors behind the booking desk. Each monitor is broken into several frames showing feeds from around the facility. While at least one of the Plaintiffs was at the jail, there were monitors over the holding cell doors, which also showed the feeds from inside the cell.

Attached to Plaintiffs' prior motion for summary judgment was a compact disc which showed recordings of each Plaintiff either using the toilet or changing clothes in the holding cell. Defendants' prior motion for summary judgment also had a compact disc which contained recordings of some of the Plaintiffs in the holding cells. It also showed - by way of a split screen - recordings of the jail officers outside the cell at the same time. (There are also cameras recording the booking desk area.) Other officers on duty can see who is watching the feeds from the holding cell cameras. Plaintiffs fail to point to any footage of an officer who actually glanced at the monitors. For some of the Plaintiffs, jail staff was not near the monitors at all while the videos were taken. Additional compact discs were also submitted for consideration.

For security reasons, the booking area of the jail did not have a public restroom for arrestees. Dkt. 37. The toilets available for arrestees were in the camera-equipped holding cells. Id.

The jail provided a curtain behind which an arrestee may change clothes. Dkt. 37. There are no cameras behind the curtain. Id. If an arrestee refused to change behind the curtain, as did Plaintiff M.L. here, the officers would allow the arrestee to change in the holding cell. Id. Additionally, if the curtain was being used by another detainee, the officers would have the arrestee change in the holding cell. Id.


On July 7, 2014, Plaintiffs' claims for voyeurism, for invasion of privacy (to the extent the claim was based on violation of the Washington Public Records Act), and for violation of RCW 10.79 (regarding the ...

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