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Bell v. Sheriff of Henry County

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 25, 2019

ADAM BELL, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF OF HENRY COUNTY, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE

         Currently before the Court is the plaintiff's motion to certify class. Dkt. 5. In this action, the plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief related to the conditions of the Henry County Jail (“the Jail”). He seeks certification of the following class:

all persons currently confined, or who will in the future be confined, in the Henry County Jail.

         The defendants have responded to the plaintiff's motion, dkt. 33, and the plaintiff has replied, dkt. 37. The motion for class certification is therefore ripe for the Court's consideration.

         I. Standard for Class Certification

         “A class ‘may only be certified if the trial court is satisfied, after a rigorous analysis, that the prerequisites of Rule 23(a) have been satisfied.'” CE Design Ltd. v. King Architectural Metals, Inc., 637 F.3d 721, 723 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting General Telephone Co. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 161 (1982)) (emphasis added). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), one or more members of a class may sue on behalf of all members to the class only if:

(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 defenses of the class; and
(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). “The party seeking certification bears the burden of demonstrating that certification is proper by a preponderance of the evidence.” Bell v. PNC Bank, Nat. Ass'n, 800 F.3d 360, 373 (7th Cir. 2015).

         In addition to meeting the requirements of Rule 23(a), “the class must satisfy one of the four conditions in Rule 23(b).” Id. Here, the plaintiff seeks certification under Rule 23(b)(2), which allows for class certification when “the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds that apply generally to the class, so that final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief is appropriate respecting the class as a whole.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(2).

         II. Analysis

         The defendants contest class certification only on the ground that the named plaintiff, Adam Bell, does not satisfy the requirement of Rule 23(a)(4). See dkt. 33 at 2. Specifically, they contend that Mr. Bell will not adequately and fairly protect the interests of the class because he is no ...


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