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$8.5M settlement of strip-search suit

SANTA FE, N.M., July 7 (UPI) -- About 13,000 people who were strip-searched at a New Mexico jail will share in a multimillion-dollar settlement of a lawsuit over the practice.

Management and Training Corp., a Utah company that operated the Santa Fe County Jail for several years, will put up $8 million and the county $500,000, if the settlement is approved by a judge, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The county resumed operation of the jail last year.

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The 11 people named as plaintiffs in the original lawsuit will get more than $40,000 each, while other former inmates are to get $1,000 to $3,500 each. The Rothstein Donatelli Hughes Dahlstrom Schoenburg & Bienvenu law firm, which represented the plaintiffs, gets $2 million.

The plaintiffs included Lisa Leyba, a bartender charged with selling alcohol to a minor, and massage therapist Kristi Seibold, who was picked up on a warrant for a traffic ticket she had paid. Neither woman was ever convicted.

"It's bad enough to get arrested knowing you're innocent, without having to then get humiliated and degraded afterward," Leyba said.

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