Wilson v. Allen County et al
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court DENIES, WITH LEAVE TO REFILE, the Plaintiff's First Amended Motion for Class Certification #48 . The Court GRANTS the Defendants until 9/15/2017, to file their Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge Theresa L Springmann on 8/14/2017. (jss)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
CALVIN WILSON, DAVID BLUME, and )
ASIA MARSHALL, individually and on
behalf of all other similarly situated persons, )
ALLEN COUNTY COUNCIL, ALLEN
ALLEN COUNTY BOARD OF
COMMISSIONERS, and ALLEN
COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER BOARD, )
CAUSE NO.: 1:15-CV-402-TLS
OPINION AND ORDER
The Plaintiffs, Calvin Wilson, David Blume, and Asia Marshall, on behalf of themselves
and others similarly situated, have brought this class action against Defendants, the Allen County
Council, the Allen County Board of Commissioners, and the Allen County Public Defender
Board, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiffs
allege that the Defendants fail to provide effective assistance of counsel to indigent defendants
charged with committing misdemeanor crimes in the courts of Allen County, Indiana in violation
of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Section 13(a) of
Article 1 of the Indiana State Constitution. On August 30, 2016, the Plaintiffs filed their First
Amended Motion for Class Certification [ECF No. 48]. On February 6, 2017, the Defendants
filed their Objection [ECF No. 57] to the Plaintiffs’ Motion. On February 10, 2017, the Plaintiffs
filed their Reply [ECF No. 58]. Discovery on this case is ongoing, with an expected conclusion
date of September 13, 2017. (See June 20, 2017 Order, ECF No. 75).
Upon review of the parties’ briefing, the Court notes that the Defendants’ Objection is
entirely premised on the basis of the Named Plaintiffs’ lack of Article III standing. (See Defs’
Obj., ECF No. 57.) Moreover, the Defendants state that they intend to file a Motion to Dismiss
on the same point:
The Named Plaintiffs lack of Article III standing to continue pursuing their
individual claims in this cause of action also means that this cause of action has become
moot and should be dismissed as to the Named Plaintiffs. In light of this reality, the
Defendants do intend to file a motion to dismiss this cause of action in its entirety based
on the fact that the Named Plaintiffs’ claims are now moot and, therefore, this Court no
longer has jurisdiction over this cause of action.
(Defs’ Obj. 10 n.2 (citations omitted), ECF No. 57.)
Accordingly, this Court is called upon to address the Plaintiffs’ standing to bring the
instant action. The issue of standing presents “the threshold question in every federal case . . . .”
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1974). The Court is “obligated to address . . . standing
because it is a predicate to our subject matter jurisdiction here.” Lindley v. Sullivan, 889 F.2d
124, 128 n.3 (7th Cir. 1989). “The Court simply cannot close its eyes to evidence that calls into
question its jurisdiction over a case.” Illinois Sporting Goods Ass’n v. Cty. of Cook, 884 F. Supp.
275, 282 (N.D. Ill. 1995).
Because the Defendants indicate that they will file a Motion to Dismiss on the issue of
standing, the Court terms, with leave to refile, the Plaintiffs’ First Amended Motion for Class
Action. The Court grants the Defendants until September 13, 2017, to file a motion to dismiss.
Upon receipt of the parties’ completed briefing on the motion, the Court will address the issues
raised in the motion to dismiss, including standing.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES, WITH LEAVE TO REFILE, the Plaintiffs’ First
Amended Motion for Class Certification [ECF No. 48]. The Court GRANTS the Defendants
until September 15, 2017, to file their Motion to Dismiss.
SO ORDERED on August 14, 2017.
s/ Theresa L. Springmann
CHIEF JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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