United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
DEMETRIUS BUROFF and IAN BARNHART, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
DAVID GLADIEUX, in his official capacity, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Demetrius
Buroff's and Ian Barnhart's First Amended Motion for
Class Certification [ECF No. 19]. Defendant David Gladieux,
in his official capacity as Allen County Sheriff, filed his
Response to the Plaintiffs' First Amended Motion for
Class Certification [ECF No. 29]. The Plaintiffs timely filed
their Reply [ECF No. 31]. This matter is thus fully briefed
and ripe for review.
background is provided through the pleadings, class
certification motions, and attached exhibits. The Plaintiffs
allege that the Defendant systematically disenfranchised
hundreds of eligible voters who were being confined in the
Allen County Jail during the 2016 General Election. (Amended
Compl. ¶ 1.) Both are United States citizens, over
eighteen years old, and residents of Allen County, Indiana
(Id. ¶¶ 4, 5.) Plaintiff Buroff was held
in the Allen County Jail as a pretrial detainee on
misdemeanor criminal charges from on or about October 31,
2016, to on or about December 15, 2016. (Id. ¶
4.) Plaintiff Barnhart was held in the Allen County Jail as a
pretrial detainee on felony criminal charges from on or about
November 4, 2016, to on or about November 26, 2016.
(Id. ¶ 5.) Defendant at all relevant times
served as Allen County Sheriff and operated the Allen County
Jail (Id. ¶ 6.)
Plaintiffs allege that on November 8, 2016, they were
eligible to vote in the 2016 General Election but that the
Defendant prevented them from doing so from the Allen County
Jail. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 18, 24, 25.)
Additionally, the Plaintiffs were denied access to in-person
early voting, absentee ballots, or any other means of voting.
(Id. ¶¶ 19-21, 25.) The Plaintiffs were
not the only individuals held in Allen County Jail during
this time, and they initiated this lawsuit pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(3) on behalf of
themselves and all other similarly situated as members of the
following proposed class:
All individuals held at the Allen County Jail on November 8,
2016, who on that date were U.S. citizens, residents of
Indiana, were at least eighteen years of age, were not
serving a sentence for a conviction of a felony crime, had
not previously voted in the 2016 general election, were
provided neither an absentee ballot nor transportation to a
voting center, and were registered to vote or had been denied
the opportunity to vote while held in the Allen County Jail.
(Id. ¶ 7.) The Plaintiffs seek monetary damages
on behalf of themselves and the class.
Defendant challenged class certification and asserted that
(1) neither of the named Plaintiffs has standing to bring a
claim individually or on behalf of the class, and (2) neither
of the named Plaintiffs can satisfy the requirements of Rule
23. The Defendant produced Allen County Board of Voter
Registration data which shows that Plaintiff Buroff first
registered to vote in Allen County on April 4, 2017.
(Def.'s Resp. to Class Certification Ex. 1.) The same
data shows that Plaintiff Barnhart was registered to vote in
Allen County beginning on June 11, 2012. (Id. Ex.
2.) The Defendant also provided a true and accurate copy of
the 2016 Indiana Election Calendar that contains relevant
dates pertaining to voting and election deadlines, including
the deadline for voter registration (October 11, 2016) and
the deadline to request an absentee ballot (October 31,
2016). (Id. Ex. 3.)
Article III Standing
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. U.S. Const. art.
III, § 2. This jurisdiction extends to justiciable
“Cases” and “Controversies” where a
plaintiff has established standing. See Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). To
establish standing, “[t]he plaintiff must have (1)
suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to
the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is
likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision.” Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct.
1540, 1547 (2016) (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at
560-61). The plaintiff bears the burden to establish
standing. Id. Additionally, a named plaintiff must
establish standing to seek personal and class wide relief.
O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 493-94
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23
23 does not set forth a mere pleading standard.”
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 351
(2011). Instead, plaintiffs bear the burden to show that a
proposed class satisfies Rule 23. Arwa Chiropractic, P.C.
v. Med-Care Diabetic & Med. Supplies, Inc.,
14-C-5602, 2017 WL 4339788, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 29, 2017)
(citing Messner v. Northshore Univ. Healthsystem,
669 F.3d 802, 811 (7th Cir. 2012)). A plaintiff satisfies
Rule 23 when he meets all of the requirements of Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 23(a) and one of the ...