United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JADEN THOMAS, RYAN BRAVERMAN, KATIE DEDELOW, JAKE RAMSEY, ISABELLA BLACKFORD, MICHAEL DUKE, LINDSAY FREEMAN individuals, each on behalf of himself/herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
THE TRUSTEES OF INDIANA UNIVERSITY, Defendant.
ENTRY ON APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
WALTON PRATT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on an Application for Temporary
Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Filing No.
23) filed by Plaintiffs Jaden Thomas, Ryan Braverman,
Katie Dedelow, Jake Ramsey, Isabella Blackford, Michael Duke,
and Lindsay Freeman (collectively, “Plaintiffs”).
Plaintiffs are freshman students at Indiana University
(“IU”) in Bloomington, Indiana. After discovering
mold infestation in their dorm rooms at IU, Plaintiffs
initiated this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other
similarly situated IU students against the Trustees of
Indiana University (“Defendant” or
“Trustees”) to obtain declaratory and injunctive
relief and to recover damages arising from the mold issue.
seek a temporary restraining order directing Defendant to:
(i) refrain from making misleading, inaccurate, coercive or
confusing statements to members of the putative class
regarding the dangers posed by Mold or the effectiveness of
remedies offered or implemented by IU and (ii) refrain from
spoliation of evidence and take necessary steps to video or
photograph, and also retain physical viable samples of, the
mold found in IU's dorms prior to its removal during
(Filing No. 23 at 1.) The Court, having considered
the parties' briefs and having heard oral arguments on
November 19, 2018, grants in part and denies in
part the Plaintiffs' Application for Temporary
Restraining Order, and to the extent that Plaintiffs seek a
preliminary injunction, takes under
advisement that request pending a hearing, which
will be held at a later date.
October 17, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in Monroe
Circuit Court, asserting claims for breach of contract,
breach of implied warranty of habitability, and declaratory
judgment on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated
IU students (Filing No. 1-1 at 7-19). Each of the
Plaintiffs is a freshman student at IU's Bloomington
campus and resides in either the McNutt dormitory or the
Foster dormitory. Id. at 7-8.
their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that, when they started
their undergraduate experience at IU during the Fall 2018
semester, they each moved into residential dormitories
operated and maintained by IU. However, their IU dorm rooms
were not clean, safe, and habitable because it was soon
discovered that their rooms were infested with mold.
Plaintiffs allege the mold “created a dangerous and
toxic environment for Plaintiffs and members of the putative
Class.” Id. at 9. They further allege that IU
has had a mold problem in its residential dormitories for
several years, and IU has been aware of its mold problem.
allege the Defendant has failed to adequately remediate the
mold problem in its dormitories. Plaintiffs and other IU
students are getting sick and suffering other adverse effects
because of the mold, and their requests to adequately
remediate the mold problem have gone unanswered. The mold
problem has forced Plaintiffs to relocate, and this has
adversely affected their studies and student life. Moreover,
Defendant has failed to provide detailed and accurate
information about the nature of the mold problem and IU's
efforts to remediate the mold. Id. at 10.
effort to address the mold problem in the IU dormitories,
Defendant has conducted an investigation of the crawl spaces
and basements below the dorms and has examined them for
standing water or other evidence of water intrusion
(Filing No. 30 at 6). The exterior of the buildings
has been analyzed, and no instances of water saturation or
infiltration on the exterior skin or within the rooms was
observed. Id. Defendant then analyzed moisture
sources at the individual room level and focused on the
individual fan coil units and the outdoor weather conditions.
Defendant identified the students' use of the air
conditioning units in the individual rooms as a likely source
of moisture causing the mold. Defendant conducted a fan coil
unit inspection in the dorm rooms, which included extensive
cleaning by opening the fan coil unit, inspecting the pipe
chases and coils, removing and replacing insulation, wiping
away visible dust or accumulation with an antimicrobial
agent, and HEPA vacuuming the area, window sills, and nearby
areas. Id. at 7. Defendant also installed HEPA air
purifiers in thousands of dorm rooms (Filing No.
visible mold has been found in dorm rooms, Defendant has had
certified industrial hygienists inspect the room and take
field notes and photographs. Remediation activities have been
conducted to remove the mold and clean the dorm rooms. After
the remediation activities are completed in a dorm room, a
spore trap sample of the air in the room is collected and
analyzed by a third-party laboratory. Dr. Beauregard Middaugh
(“Dr. Middaugh”), IU's Senior Industrial
Hygienist and Environmental Health and Safety Systems Manager
who is overseeing Defendant's remediation efforts, then
analyzes the data from the spore trap samples as well as
other data. Based upon his professional judgment and the
review of data, Dr. Middaugh determines whether each
particular dorm room can be reoccupied. If it is determined
that a room can be reoccupied, the student is informed of
that determination. If it is determined that a room cannot be
reoccupied, additional remediation efforts are performed
(Filing No. 30 at 8-10).
than 1, 200 rooms have been cleaned or remediated in the
McNutt and Foster dormitories so that they can be reoccupied.
This work was completed by November 2, 2018. Approximately
thirty-nine rooms are still receiving enhanced remediation,
and there are twenty-four rooms that have yet to be
inspected. Additionally, there are about 391 rooms in the
Teter dormitory that Defendant intends to inspect if needed
and to take appropriate action. Id. at 11.
established a website (http://buildings.iu.edu) to provide
information to students, students' family members, and
the public about the mold problem and remediation efforts.
This website addresses many frequently asked questions and
also allows students to obtain updated information about the
status of their particular dorm room. The website also
provides access to the detailed laboratory data for
individuals interested in seeing that level of information.
The website is updated daily and also provides information
about a mold remediation call center that provides additional
resources (Filing No. 24-8; Filing No.
24-9; Filing No. 24-10; Filing No.
days after Plaintiffs initiated this lawsuit, on October 26,
2018, Defendant filed a notice of removal, thereby removing
the lawsuit from Monroe Circuit Court to this Court
(Filing No. 1). The Class Action Fairness Act of
2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), served as the basis of
Defendant's removal. Soon thereafter, Plaintiffs filed
their Application for Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction on November 9, 2018 (Filing No.
standards that apply to preliminary injunction orders also
apply to temporary restraining orders. Loveless v. Chi.
Bd. of Election Comm'rs, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
18832, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 8, 2004). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 65(b) provides that a temporary restraining order
may be issued without notice to the adverse party only if
“specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint
clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury,
loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse
party can be heard in opposition.” Here, Defendant has