United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albandy Division
BRANDON McFARLANE, Individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MIKE CAROTHERS, Jackson County Sheriff. Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO CERTIFY
CLASS AND TO APPOINT CLASS COUNSEL
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
cause is now before the Court on a motion for class
certification (Docket No. 22) and appointment of class
counsel (Docket No. 24), filed by Plaintiff Brandon McFarlane
on July 8, 2016. He brings this action on behalf of himself
and all similarly situated individuals and seeks
certification under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a)
and 23(b)(2) and (b)(3) of the following proposed class:
Individuals who, from December 10, 2013 to the present, were
incarcerated in the Jackson County Jail, [who] had been
arrested without a warrant, and were then held more than 48
hours following the detention and arrest, without receiving a
timely judicial probable cause determination.
No. 22. This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Debra
McVicker Lynch for initial decision. The Report and
Recommendation by Magistrate Judge Lynch proposes that the
class, with a modified class ending date, be certified under
Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(3) for damages relief only. Defendant
Mike Carothers, Sheriff of Jackson County, Indiana, has filed
a timely objection. For the reasons detailed below, we
OVERRULE Sheriff Carothers's objections, ADOPT the
conclusions of the Magistrate Judge, and GRANT Mr.
McFarlane's Motion for Class Certification and Motion to
Appoint Class Counsel and certify the class defined in the
Report and Recommendation.
and Scope of Review
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit a district court
judge to refer a nondispositive motion, such as this one, to
a magistrate judge. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 72(a) and (b). In cases
in which a magistrate judge has independent authority to do
so, she shall hear and decide the matter and issue her own
decision. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). If the case is appealed, a
district judge court reviews the matter on a standard of
clear error or contrary to law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); see
Kruger v. Apfel, 214 F.3d 784, 786-87 (7th Cir. 2000).
However, Congress has not authorized magistrate judges to
make independent decisions on motion for class certification.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Thus, after referring such a
motion to a magistrate judge, the district judge “must
make a de novo determination of those portions of
the report or specified propose findings or recommendations
to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. §
and Legal Background
Facts and Procedural History
McFarlane was arrested without a warrant at 11:57 a.m. on
January 5, 2015, on charges of contributing to the
delinquency of a minor and violating a protective order. He
was booked into the Jackson County Jail at 1:00 p.m. and was
detained there until his release on January 7, 2015 at
approximately 3:24 p.m. He was not given a probable cause
determination within the 48-hour period following his arrest.
Mr. McFarlane had an initial hearing on January 13, 2015, at
which time the court did not impose a bond, but allowed him
to continue his release on his own recognizance. The Jackson
County Sheriff, Carothers, asserts that Mr. McFarlane was
given credit for fifteen days in jail and fifteen days of
good credit time even though he spent only two days and
three-and-a-half hours in jail on these charges. Docket No.
27 at 2.
to his counsel's review of the Jackson County Jail
records for the two years leading to the filing of the
complaint, between forty and fifty incarcerated individuals
also were not given a probable cause determination within 48
hours of their arrests without a warrant. Docket No. 22.
Through counsel, Mr. McFarlane filed this action on December
10. 2015, almost eleven months after McFarlane was released
from the Jackson County Jail. Docket No. 1.
Judge Lynch held a hearing on the motions for class
certification and appointment of class counsel on February 2,
2017, and took them under advisement. Docket No. 50. On
February 9, 2017, she issued a Report and Recommendation that
this Court grant both the motion for class certification and
the motion to appoint class counsel. Docket No. 51 (R&R).
In her Report, the Magistrate Judge corrected a grammatical
error in Mr. McFarlane's articulation of the class
definition. R&R at 19. Additionally, she concluded that
Mr. McFarlane's proposed class definition must be
modified to provide an ending date for the class, making the
class definition viable under Rule 23(b)(3) by ensuring that
the class members will be ascertainable before a final
adjudication or settlement. Id. at 18-19. The
parties raise no objection to the Magistrate's Judge
modification of Mr. McFarlane's class definition.
February 23, 2017, Sheriff Carothers, through counsel, filed
a timely objection to certain aspects of the Report and
Recommendation discussed more fully below. Docket No. 54
(Def.'s Obj.). Mr. McFarlane his response on March 3,
2017. Docket No. 55.
Rule 23 Standard
sets out four threshold requirements for certification of a
class action. A district court may certify a class only if:
“(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all
members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or
fact common to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the
representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses
of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly
and adequately protect the interests of the class.”
Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 23(a). These four requirements-the Rule
23(a) requirements- typically are summarized as numerosity,
commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 349
addition to the Rule 23(a) requirements, a class action is
appropriate only when at least one of the following factors
is present: there is a risk that prosecuting the matter in
separate actions will create incompatible standards of
conduct binding the defendant; adjudication of separate
individual claims would prejudice the interests of potential
parties not joined to the suit; the defendant has acted or
refused to act on grounds that apply generally to the
putative class; or the court finds that “questions of
law or fact common to class members predominate over any
questions affecting only individual members, and that a class
action is superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 23(b). Relevant here, Defendant Carothers challenges the
Magistrate Judge's conclusion that class certification
under Rule 23(b)(3) is appropriate. That provision provides:
(3) the court finds that the questions of law or fact common
to class members predominate over any questions affecting
only individual members, and that a class action is superior
to other available methods for fairly and efficiently
adjudicating the ...