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Joan E. Mulvania, et al v. Sheriff of Rock Island County

August 15, 2012

JOAN E. MULVANIA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SHERIFF OF ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sara Darrow United States District Judge

E-FILED Wednesday, 15 August, 2012 05:25:57 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

ORDER

Plaintiff Joan Mulvania ("Mulvania") filed her initial Complaint in this Court alleging various constitutional violations by Rock Island County, the City of Rock Island, and the Sheriff of Rock Island. Since the initial filing Mulvania has amended her Complaint three times and moved for the certification of a class action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

Presently before the Court are Mulvania's original and Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Class Certification. (ECF No. 19, 47.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the motions.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Mulvania's Claims

On November 15, 2010, Mulvania filed her initial Complaint against Rock Island County, the City of Rock Island, and the Sheriff of Rock Island. (ECF No. 1.) Mulvania alleged that at approximately 4:00 a.m. on November 6, 2010, two Rock Island police officers were dispatched to her home and arrested her in accordance with the Rock Island Police Department's policy for responding to allegations of domestic violence. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-9.) Mulvania alleged that after arriving at the jail she was physically and sexually assaulted by four correctional officers who used "excessive and unreasonable force" against her. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-15.) She further alleged that the assault induced a seizure that required her to be hospitalized. (Compl. ¶¶ 16-20.) Mulvania contends that the hospital examination corroborates her assault allegations. (Compl. ¶ 18.)

On November 8, 2010, a judge informed Mulvania that she was not going to be prosecuted for domestic violence. (Compl. ¶ 23.) Mulvania alleges that the Defendants wrongfully kept her in custody for several hours after she was informed that there would be no prosecution. (Compl. ¶ 24.)

B. The Pleadings

In her initial Complaint, Mulvania raised six distinct claims against the Defendants, including allegations of a hate crime and violations of her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 25-30.) Mulvania was the only named Plaintiff in the Complaint, but indicated her desire to pursue the action individually and for all persons who were "in the custody of the Sheriff of Rock Island without a judicial determination of probable cause to detain and who were a) subjected to a strip search by employees of the Sheriff, and/or b) held for more than 48 hours without a judicial determination of probable cause." (Compl. ¶ 2.) This was her first attempt to convert her claims into a class action. Specifically, Claim II asserted that Mulvania was held for over 48 hour hours without a judicial determination of probable cause, that over 100 detainees suffered similar treatment, and that she sought to maintain this claim on behalf of a class pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3). (Compl. ¶ 26.) Similarly, Claim III asserts that Mulvania was subjected to a strip search in violation of her constitutional rights and that more than 100 people were subjected to such treatment, constituting another potential class action. (Compl. ¶ 27.)

On November 19, 2010, Mulvania filed an Amended Complaint against the same Defendants, this time asserting five claims. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 2.) The factual allegations resembled those in the initial Complaint, but Mulvania modified her proposed class action by dropping her unlawful detention claim and, accordingly, also dropping her original desire to prosecute that claim as a class action. She did, however, maintain her claim that the strip search was unconstitutional and that she sought to bring the claim as a class action on behalf of herself and all persons who were taken into custody by the police and submitted to a strip search prior to a judicial determination of probable cause. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.)

On July 5, 2011, Mulvania filed a Second Amended Complaint, again altering her claims and intention to pursue them as class actions. (Sec. Am. Compl., ECF No. 32.) Mulvania also altered the Defendants named to her suit, dropping the City of Rock Island as a Defendant but adding claims against five correctional officers. (Sec. Am. ¶ 5.) This time, Mulvania asserted two strip-search claims, one based on the due process protections of the Constitution and one based on Illinois state law, alleging that it was improper for the Defendants to perform strip-searches without probable cause. Although she remained the only named Plaintiff, Mulvania still sought to bring her claims on behalf of "all women" who were "in custody of the Sheriff of Rock Island and, without an individualized determination that there was a reasonable basis to believe that the arrestee was concealing contraband or weapons, were subjected to a visual inspection of their genitals, buttocks, anus, or unclothed breasts" before a judicial determination that there was sufficient probable cause to detain them. (Sec. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 17, 21.)

Pursuant to the July 5, 2011, text order of Magistrate Judge Gorman, the Court set July 22, 2011 as the deadline for Mulvania to file a motion for class certification under the Second Amended Complaint. Mulvania filed her Motion for Class Certification on the deadline. (Mot. for Class Certification, ECF No. 18.) This Motion included two proposed classes: a "Section 1983 strip-search class" and a "Section 1983 dignity class." (Id.) However, in her reply brief, Mulvania conceded that certification of the strip-search class would be inappropriate and withdrew that request. (See Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. for Class Certification 1, ECF No. 38.) Mulvania did, however, maintain her desire to pursue certification of the "Section 1983 dignity class," which she defined as "[a]ny woman who, from November 15, 2008 to the date of entry of judgment, entered the Rock Island County Jail and, because she was not wearing pure white underwear, was required to remove her undergarments and wear a jumpsuit without underwear." (Mot. for Class Certification 1-2.)

On October 25, 2011, over three months after the deadline for filing a motion for class certification, Mulvania filed a motion seeking leave to file a third amended complaint that added 10 additional named plaintiffs to the case. (Mot. for Leave to File Third Am. Compl., ECF No. 39.) According to Mulvania, the additional plaintiffs of the proposed Third Amended Complaint were named because they ...


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