Millman v. United Technologies Corporation et al
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court is DENYING the Motion to Certify Class 102 as PREMATURE, but WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling at the appropriate juncture of the case. The Court is also DENYING as MOOT the Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike the first Amended Complaint 88 . Signed by Chief Judge Theresa L Springmann on 11/16/2017. (lhc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
OPAL MILLMAN, on behalf of herself and )
all others similarly situated,
CORPORATION, LEAR CORPORATION )
EEDS AND INTERIORS, as successor to )
United Technologies Automotive Inc.,
ANDREW DAIRY STORE, INC., L.D.
WILLIAMS, INC., CP PRODUCT, LLC, as )
successor to Preferred Technical Group,
Inc., and LDW DEVELOPMENT, LLC,
CAUSE NO.: 1:16-CV-312-TLS
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Opal Millman brings this action on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated against various Defendants, alleging that the Defendants were, in some manner,
involved in improperly disposing and dumping hazardous chemicals into the groundwater in
Andrews, Indiana. This matter is before the Court on two pending motions: the Defendant L.D.
Williams’ Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 88] and the Plaintiff’s
Motion to Certify Class [ECF No. 102].
On November 7, 2017, Magistrate Judge Susan Collins granted the Plaintiff’s Motion for
Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint [ECF No. 155]. The same day, the Plaintiff filed her
Third Amended Complaint [ECF No. 156]. Accordingly, the Court finds that the Defendant’s
Motion to Strike the first Amended Complaint is moot, as the Complaint has since been amended
The Court next turns to the Plaintiff’s pending Motion to Certify Class, filed on July 12,
2017. To date, there has been no response by the Defendants, and the Court notes that additional
Defendants have been added in the Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint. Accordingly, the
parties’ briefing has focused on the Third Amended Complaint, and the parties are also engaged
The law in this Circuit used to be that when a plaintiff received an offer of judgment for
full relief requested, the claim became moot. Damasco v. Clearwire Corp., 662 F.3d 891, 896
(7th Cir. 2011), overruled in part by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., 796 F.3d 783 (7th Cir. 2015).
In the class action context, mooting the claim of a would-be class representative could head off
the specter of a larger case. Plaintiffs typically avoided this result by filing a “placeholder”
motion for class certification. It appears that the Plaintiff has filed such a placeholder in this case.
The pendency of this place holder motion would serve to protect a putative class from attempts
to buy off the named plaintiff. Id. Meanwhile, “[i]f the parties have yet to fully develop the facts
needed for certification, then they can also ask the district court to delay its ruling to provide
time for additional discovery or investigation.” Id.
After Chapman, the premature filing of a motion for class certification is no longer
necessary to prevent buy-off because a defendant’s offer of compensation does not moot the
litigation or otherwise end the Article III case or controversy. 796 F.3d at 787. The Court further
finds that filing a motion that the parties are not yet ready to support or defend, and the Court is
not yet able to rule upon, does not promote the efficient administration of justice. In this case, the
Motion to Certify Class was filed prior to the Third Amended Complaint and the parties are still
in the process of discovery and filing their respective answers to the Third Amended Complaint.
No party has indicated that the certification issue is ripe for adjudication.
The Court, finding no reason to consider the certification issue at this time, DENIES the
Motion to Certify Class [DE 102] as PREMATURE, but WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling at
the appropriate juncture of the case. The Court also DENIES as MOOT the Rule 12(f) Motion to
Strike the first Amended Complaint [ECF No. 88].
SO ORDERED on November 16, 2017.
s/ Theresa L. Springmann
CHIEF JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?