United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHARLES SWEENEY, ANTHONY DELAROSA, on their own behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
COMMISSIONER, INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, Defendant.
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO CERTIFY
William T. Lawrence, Judge
cause is before the Court on the Plaintiffs' Motion to
Certify Class (Dkt. No. 5). The motion is fully briefed, and
the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the
motion for the reasons set forth below.
RULE 23 STANDARD
Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governs class actions. Rule 23
requires a two-step analysis to determine whether it is
appropriate to certify a particular class. First, the
plaintiffs must satisfy all four requirements of Rule 23(a):
(1) numerosity; (2) commonality; (3) typicality; and (4)
adequacy of representation. Williams v. Chartwell Fin.
Servs., Ltd., 204 F.3d 748, 760 (7th Cir.
2000). Second, the action must satisfy one of the conditions
of Rule 23(b). Id. The Court has “broad
discretion to determine whether certification of a
class-action lawsuit is appropriate.” Chavez v.
Ill. State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 629 (7th Cir. 2001)
(citation and quotation omitted).
named plaintiffs in this case, Charles Sweeney and Anthony
Delarosa, are adult residents of Indiana who are committed to
the Defendant Indiana Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) and are confined at Wabash Valley
Correctional Facility. On April 1, 2017, the DOC implemented
Executive Directive #17-13. The Directive provides, in
The purpose of this Executive Directive is to direct all
Department Facilities to disallow incoming offender
correspondence with colored envelopes, colored paper, and
greeting cards mailed to offenders through the United States
Postal System (USPS). This Executive Directive is applicable
to all Department facilities and is effective April 1, 2017.
In order to impede the introduction of narcotics and
synthetic narcotics into the Department's facilities,
greeting cards, colored envelopes, and colored paper shall no
longer be considered allowable correspondence. On the
effective date, greeting cards, colored paper, and colored
envelopes entering the facility via the USPS shall be
processed in accordance with Section XII, “Disposition
of Incoming Correspondence, ” and Section XIII,
“Report of Action Taken on Correspondence, ” of
Policy and Administrative Procedure 02-01-103,
Incoming correspondence to offenders must be in a plain white
envelope and the letter/correspondence inside the envelope
must be on originally purchased, plain white, lined paper (no
This Executive Directive does not affect the electronic
greeting cards available through JPay. Facilities are
directed to notify the offender population, in their
customary manner, of this change. Offenders shall be
encouraged to notify their family, friends, and other
correspondents of this change.
Dkt. No. 1 at 9.
Plaintiffs' Complaint alleges that Executive Directive
#17-13 violates the First Amendment, as applied to the DOC by
the Fourteenth Amendment. The Plaintiffs seek a declaration
to that effect and also seek injunctive relief enjoining the
application and use of Directive #17-13.
has filed an Amended Notice of Suggestion of Mootness (Dkt.
No. 23), indicating that Executive Directive #17-13 has been
rescinded. As such, the DOC argues, the relief sought by the
Plaintiffs is no longer possible.
Plaintiffs have responded, arguing that because the relevant
portions of the new directive, Executive Directive #17-66,
are virtually identical to the prior directive,
Plaintiffs' claims that the restrictions on incoming mail
violate the First ...