Erskine et al v. Mears et al

Filing 131

MEMORANDUM ORDER, Plaintiff Erskine's motion for class certification (D.I. 127 ) is DENIED. (See order for further details). Signed by Judge Gregory B. Williams on 04/05/2024. (vfm)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE JUSTIN ERSKINE, et al, Plaintiffs, Civ. No. 22-381-GBW V. TRUMAN MEARS,et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM ORDER At Wilmington, this day of February, 2024, the Court having considered Plaintiff Justin Erskine’s motion for class certification (D.I. 127); IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Erskine’s motion for class certification (D.I. 127)is DENIED. Four prerequisites must be met to obtain certification of a class: (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. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). Regarding the first prerequisite, numerosity, the Third Circuit has explained that, while “no minimum number of plaintiffs is required to maintain a suit as a class action,” classes comprised of 20 or fewer members are generally insufficiently numerous, classes containing over 40 members are generally sufficiently numerous; and classes of 21 to 40 members “may or may not meet the numerosity requirement depending on the circumstances.” In re Modafinil Antitrust Litig., 837 F.3d 238, 249-50(3d Cir. 2016)(citations and internal quotations omitted); see also Stewart v. Abraham^ 275 F.3d 220, 226-27(3d Cir. 2001). Plaintiff Erskine’s proposed class of the twelve current Plaintiffs, in addition to “several more parties [that] are eligible to become plaintiffs,” is insufficiently numerous. Furthermore, regarding the fourth and final prerequisite for certifying a class, adequacy of representation, the Court notes that Erskine is an incarcerated individual and he appears pro se. P]ro se litigants are generally not appropriate as class representatives.” Hagan v. Rogers^ 570 F.3d 146, 158-59(3d Cir. 2009) (citing Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407(4th Cir. 1975)(“[I]t is plain error to permit [an] imprisoned litigant who is unassisted by counsel to represent his fellow inmates in a class action.”)). Erskine may not represent other plaintiffs or proceed as the class representative. Accordingly, class certification is inappropriate for this additional reason. United States District Judge 2

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