Britton v. Hall et al
ORDER Denying Class Action Request. Signed by Chief District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr on 7/27/17 (Whitsitt, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
M. DESEAN BRITTON, #167394
CAUSE NO. 1:17-cv-96-LG-RHW
PELICIA HALL, et al.
ORDER DENYING CLASS ACTION REQUEST
This cause is before the Court, sua sponte, for screening. See 28 U.S.C.
' 1915(e)(2) and ' 1915A.
Plaintiff alleges that the conditions of confinement at
the South Mississippi Correctional Institution violate the constitutional rights of
the inmates.1 Compl.  at 1-9 (CM/ECF Pagination).
Plaintiff states that he
filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ' 1983 and is pursuing a class action
pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. at 1-2 (CM/ECF
The Court liberally construes Plaintiff=s Complaint as asserting a
class action on behalf of Plaintiff and nine other inmates.
Plaintiff and the other inmates referred to in the Complaint are inmates at
the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Leakesville, Mississippi, and are
housed in Area 3, C Zone.
Compl.  at 4 (CM/ECF Pagination). Because of
being in lock-down from January 23, 2017, to March 26, 2017, Plaintiff and the
other class action plaintiffs claim that they were denied the First Amendment right
though there are nine other inmates listed as plaintiffs, Plaintiff
Britton is the only inmate who signed the Complaint, see id. at 9, and therefore is
the only named Plaintiff in this civil action.
to talk to friends and family on the phone, denied the right to religious activity,
denied the right of equal protection, subjected to unsanitary conditions, denied the
opportunity to exercise outside of their cell, and subjected to retaliation. Id. at 4-7
Having considered the Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff=s attempt to
institute a class action should be denied. Additionally, the Court finds that if the
other inmates wish to pursue a Complaint relating to the conditions of confinement
at South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Leakesville, Mississippi, each inmate
must file a separate complaint.
A[T]he class action device exists primarily, if not solely, to achieve a measure
of judicial economy, which benefits the parties as well as the entire judicial system.
It preserves the resources of both the courts and the parties by permitting issues
affecting all class members to be litigated in an efficient, expedited, and
manageable fashion.@ Allison v. Citgo Petroleum Corp., 151 F.3d 402, 410 (5th Cir.
To obtain class certification under Rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, Plaintiff must satisfy the following requirements: A(1) numerosity
(a ‘class [so large] that joinder of all members is impracticable’); (2) commonality
(>questions of law or fact common to the class’); (3) typicality (named parties’ claims
or defenses >are typical ... of the class’); and (4) adequacy of representation
(representatives ‘will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class’).@
Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 613 (1997) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(a)). Additionally, Plaintiff must show that the action is maintainable pursuant
to Rule 23(b)(1), (2) or (3). Id. at 614.
Even though Plaintiff=s allegations, liberally construed, assert questions of
law that are common to all inmates at the South Mississippi Correctional
Institution, Leakesville, Mississippi, he has not demonstrated that the remaining
requirements for class certification are met. Therefore, the denial of class
certification is appropriate. See Berger v. Compaq Computer Corp., 257 F.3d 475,
479 n.4 (5th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted) (stating that Plaintiff has the burden of
proof to establish that all four requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) are satisfied).
Having reviewed the Complaint, the Court finds that it fails to meet the
requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). As a result, this civil action
will not be treated as a class action.
The enactment of the APrison Litigation Reform Act of 1995@ (PLRA) militates
against multi-plaintiff prisoner complaints.
The reasons for this include that
prisoner plaintiffs proceeding in forma pauperis (AIFP@) are required to pay the full
amount of the filing fee and costs.
28 U.S.C. '' 1915(b)(1) and (f)(2)(A). Prisoner
plaintiffs who have on three or more prior occasions, brought frivolous or malicious
complaints or complaints which failed to state a claim may not proceed IFP.
U.S.C. ' 1915(g). Additionally, multi-prisoner plaintiff complaints present a
variety of administrative and logistical problems not associated with other civil
actions. See Beaird v. Lappin, No. 3:06-cv-967, 2006 WL 2051034, *4 (N.D. Tex.
July 24, 2006) (citations omitted) (noting impracticalities to include possible
transfers of some plaintiffs, security, the need for each plaintiff to sign his own
pleading and represent himself, the possibility of changes to documents during
circulation among the plaintiffs, the possibility of coercion by other prisoners, and
issues raised by the inmates= desire to meet within the prison to discuss joint
Moreover, Alike all persons who claim a deprivation of constitutional rights,@
each plaintiff is Arequired to prove some violation of [his] personal rights.@ Coon v.
Ledbetter, 780 F.2d 1158, 1160-61 (5th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted).
the various claims of multiple plaintiffs makes it difficult for the court to discern
how the alleged constitutional violation affected each plaintiff. Meritorious claims
may be obscured by the frivolous.
With these concerns in mind, and with the objective of achieving judicial
economy and maintaining efficient control of its docket, the Court finds that if the
other inmates wish to pursue a civil action concerning the conditions of confinement
in the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Leakesville, Mississippi, they may
do so by filing a separate individual Complaint.2 Accordingly, it is
inmate who wishes to pursue a Complaint concerning the conditions of
confinement at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, Leakesville,
Mississippi, may contact the Clerk, 2012 15th Street, Suite 403, Gulfport,
Mississippi 39501, and request forms to file such an action.
ORDERED that to the extent Plaintiff is seeking certification of a class action
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, the request is denied.
will proceed only as to the claims of Plaintiff Britton.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 27th day of July, 2017.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
Chief U.S. District Judge
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