Garcia et al v. Gladieux
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court DENIES the Motion to Certify Class ECF No. 5 as PREMATURE, but WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling at the appropriate juncture of the case. Signed by Chief Judge Theresa L Springmann on 3/12/18. (nal)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
MARCO GARCIA, JOSHUA
MACKIN, and EUGENE LALLOW,
on behalf of themselves and all others
CAUSE NO.: 1:17-CV-109-TLS
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs Marco Garcia, Joshua Mackin, and Eugene Lallow bring this action on behalf
of themselves and all others similarly situated against Defendant David Gladieux, the Allen
County Sheriff. The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant discriminatorily and substantially
burdens their exercise of religion in violation of the First Amendment, the Indiana Constitution,
the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act. This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiffs’ pending Motion to Certify
Class [ECF No. 5], filed on March 22, 2017. To date, there has been no response by the
Defendant to the Plaintiffs’ Motion, the Plaintiffs have been granted an Extension of Time to
Amend [ECF No. 27], and the parties have entered discovery.
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. The pending Motion would serve to protect a putative class from
attempts to buy off the named plaintiffs. 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. It appears that the Plaintiffs have filed
such a placeholder in this case.
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 upon which
the Court is not yet able to rule, does not promote the efficient administration of justice. In this
case, the Plaintiffs may still amend their pleadings, which will require another response from the
Defendant. Additionally, the parties are still in the process of discovery, and 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 [ECF No. 5] as PREMATURE, but WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling
at the appropriate juncture of the case.
SO ORDERED on March 12, 2018.
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?