United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
IAN BARNHART, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
DAVID GLADIEUX, in his official capacity, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's, Allen
County Sheriff David Gladieux, Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment [ECF No. 43] pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1. For the
reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS the Defendant's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
March 27, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed their Class Action
Complaint against Defendant Gladieux, in his official
capacity [ECF No. 1]. The Plaintiffs filed an Amended
Complaint on June 6, 2017 [ECF No. 18], a First Amended
Motion for Class Certification [ECF No. 19], and a Second
Amended Complaint on August 15, 2017 [ECF No. 28]. The
Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant refused to provide the
Plaintiffs with absentee ballots or alternative access to the
polls in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and seeks
damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [ECF No. 28,
¶¶ 14, 18-21, 24-30].
November 13, 2017, the Court dismissed the Plaintiffs'
First Amended Motion for Class Certification. (Op. and Order
at 5, ECF No. 32.) In that Order, the Court found that,
although Plaintiff Barnhart was not incarcerated until after
the date in which he could request an absentee ballot, he
could not vote solely because he was a pretrial detainee in
the Allen County Jail and “[t]he Defendant did not
provide any means for Plaintiff Barnhart to exercise his
right to vote.” (Id. at 6.)
March 7, 2018, Plaintiff Barnhart filed a Second Motion to
Certify the Class [ECF No. 36], which was granted on May 17,
2018 [ECF No. 41]. The Court certified the following 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.
(Op. and Order Granting Class Cert. at 11, ECF No. 41.)
23, 2018, the Defendant filed a Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment, seeking to dismiss the claims of the Class Members
incarcerated in the Allen County Jail on or before October
31, 2016 (hereafter referred to as the “October Class
Members”) [ECF No. 43]. The Defendant argues that the
Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the October Class
Members were unable to vote by absentee ballot under Allen
County Jail policy or practice. (Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of
Mot. for Partial Summ. J. at 1, ECF No. 44.) The Defendant
argues that the October Class Members were freely able to
vote by absentee ballot under both express Allen County Jail
policy and Indiana law. (Id. at 2.) Thus, the
Defendant argues, no policy or practice of the Allen County
Sheriff's Department caused any alleged constitutional
injury. (Id.) The Defendant does not move for
summary judgment for Class Members booked into the Allen
County Jail after the October 31, 2016 deadline to request an
absentee ballot, as issues of fact that preclude an entry of
summary judgment. (Id. at 2-3).
August 20, 2018, the Plaintiffs filed a Response to
Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF No.
45]. On September 4, 2018, the Defendant filed a Reply in
Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF No. 47].
On September 27, 2018, with the Court's permission, the
Plaintiffs filed a sur-response to the Defendant's Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF No. 50].
Gladieux operates the Allen County Jail in Allen County,
Indiana and did so at the time of the 2016 general election.
The Allen County Jail Rules (Jail Rules) were posted for
prisoner viewing and include a section regarding inmate
rights and privileges, including the right to vote. The rules
state: “An inmate shall be entitled to vote by absentee
ballot upon meeting voter's registration requirements
under the Law of the State of Indiana, as long as the inmate
is not serving a sentence upon conviction of a felony.”
in the 2016 general election, an eligible individual was
required to register to vote by Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot via mail was 11:59
p.m. on October 31, 2016. Indiana law requires that a voter
request an absentee ballot on his or her own behalf. The
Defendant has no record of any inmate detained in the Allen
County jail timely requesting an absentee ballot for the 2016
general election. Nor does the Allen County Election Board
have any record of any inmate requesting an absentee ballot
for the 2016 general election.
early voting in Allen County took place from October 12, 2016
until November 7, 2016, and the general election took place
on November 8, 2016. Of the inmates detained in the Allen
County Jail on November 8, 2016, over 300 inmates were
registered to vote. On the day of the general election, the
Defendant did not provide any inmates or detainees held at
the Allen County Jail on November 8, 2016 transportation to
vote. The Defendant also did not provide any inmates or
detainees an on-site jail polling station at the jail to vote
in the 2016 election.