MPD rape kit case can now move forward as a class action suit

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After months of waiting for a ruling, thousands of rape victims will be able to pursue legal action against the City of Memphis as part of a class action lawsuit.

This is in regard to the case of over 12,000 untested rape kits that were found in MPD possession.

The case Janet Doe versus the City of Memphis has, up until Wednesday, involved only one of those rape victim, as class was not yet certified.

The city has been arguing that the case did not check all of the boxes to have class certified.

Wednesday afternoon, Judge Gina Higgins ruled in favor of the plaintiffs to certify class.

It will later be determined how many thousands of women who had an untested rape kit in Memphis Police custody can fit under this newly certified class.

“This is a major win for the plaintiff and a major loss for the city,” said Daniel Lofton, one of the attorneys for the victims. “The case is not over. There will be hearings on all of this, but it’s a big day. It’s not over yet.”

Lofton said it’s unclear if this lawsuit will go to trial or how much compensation each victim could see for emotional damages.

Victims who were in the courtroom said it should not have taken this long, but they’re still happy to see this latest step in the legal process go in their favor.

“All of these women have suffered years of pain anxiety, depression,” said Celia Reynolds, one of the victims. “They just don’t know how much agony we have been through with this. By being classified, I’m very, very happy.”

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