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Jordan v. Gladieux

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 5, 2017

ROLANDO JORDAN, RONALD WARD, and KENNETH ROLLINGCLOUD, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DAVID GLADIEUX, ALAN COOK, and CHARLES HART, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Rolando Jordan, Ronald Ward, and Kenneth Rollingcloud's First Amended Motion for Class Certification [ECF No. 31]. Defendants Charles Hart, Alan Cook, and Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux objected to class certification and filed a Response to Motion for Class Certification [ECF No. 43]. The Plaintiffs timely filed their Reply [ECF No. 47]. This matter is thus fully briefed and ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         This background is provided through the pleadings, class certification motions, and attached exhibits. The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants have substantially burdened Muslim and Native American inmates' exercise of religion in the Allen County Jail. (First Am. Class Action Compl., ECF No. 30, at ¶ 1.) Plaintiff Rolando Jordan is Muslim and was an inmate in Allen County Jail from January 2016 through August 2016. (Id. at ¶ 6.a.) Plaintiff Ronald Ward is also Muslim and was an inmate at the Allen County Jail when the Plaintiffs moved to certify the class. (Id. at ¶ 6.b.) Plaintiff Kenneth Rollingcloud is a Native American, practices a traditional Native American faith, and was an inmate at the Allen County Jail when the Plaintiffs moved to certify the class. (Id. at ¶ 6.c.) Defendant David Gladieux is the Allen County Sheriff and operates the Allen County Jail. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Defendant Alan Cook is the current Commander of the Allen County Jail, and Charles Hart is a former Commander of the Allen County Jail. (Id. at ¶ 8.)

         Broadly, the Plaintiffs assert that Muslim and Native American inmates at the Allen County Jail are forbidden from gathering for weekly communal worship, but Protestant Christian inmates are permitted to do so. (First Am. Class Action Compl. at ¶ 16.) Additionally, the Plaintiffs contend that both Muslim and Native American inmates are forbidden from possessing articles of religious devotion, such as prayer rugs and religious head coverings for Muslim inmates, and medicine bags and religious headdress for Native American inmates. (Id. at ¶ 24.)

         The Plaintiffs brought their claims on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated as members of the following proposed class:

All individuals held at the Allen County Jail between October 2014 and September 2016 practicing a Muslim or traditional Native American faith who have been forbidden from engaging in Muslim or traditional Native American communal worship and/or have been forbidden from keeping an article of Muslim or traditional Native American religious devotion.

(First Am. Motion for Class Cert. at 3.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “Rule 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 Chiropractice, P.C. v. Med-Care Diabetic & Med. Supplies, Inc., No. 14- C-5602, 2017 WL 4339788, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2017) (citing Messner v. Northshore Univ. Healthsys., 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 requirements of Rule 23(b). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23; Rosario v. Livaditis, 963 F.2d 1013, 1017 (7th Cir. 1992). First, the plaintiff must show:

(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 ...

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