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Alan Kress and Randy Carr v. Cca of Tennessee

September 14, 2012


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:08-cv-00431-LJM-DML--Larry J. McKinney, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bauer, Circuit Judge.


Before BAUER, ROVNER, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

The plaintiffs-appellants, Alan Kress and Randy Carr ("Appellants"), appeal an order from the Indiana district court denying class certifica- tion in part and an order granting summary judgment in favor of appellees Corrections Corporation of America, et al. ("CCA"), the owner and operator of the Marion County Correctional Center ("the jail"), located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We affirm.


In 2008, Appellants were inmates at the jail, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The jail was operated by CCA pursuant to a contract with the Marion County Sheriff's Department. According to Appellants, the jail provided inadequate medical care and exposed inmates to inhu- mane living conditions so egregious that they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In April 2008, Appellants filed a complaint and a subsequent amended complaint against CCA seeking injunctive and declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02 and Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In June 2008, Appellants filed a motion for class certification, defining their class as "any and all persons currently, or who will be in the future, confined in the [jail] facility." In December 2010, the district court certified the class, naming Appellants as class representatives, but dismissed many of the claims filed in Appellants' complaint from class certification. The dismissed issues included Appellants' claim that the jail failed to provide adequate medical care, that the conditions of confinement inside the jail were inhumane, and that the procedures in the jail violated inmates' rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Ac- countability Act ("HIPAA"). Appellants filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied the following month. CCA moved for summary judgment on the re- maining issues, and in April 2011 the district court granted their motion. Appellants also filed a motion to amend the judgment which was denied.

On appeal, Appellants seek review of the court's deci- sion to deny class certification of their claim regarding CCA's reduction of daily pill calls for inmates from three per day to two per day, the court's order granting summary judgment in favor of CCA, and the district court's order denying Appellants' motion to amend the judgment.


The issues on appeal require this Court to employ more than one standard of review. So, we first review the district court's decision regarding class certification for an abuse of discretion because "the law gives broad leeway to district courts in making [such] decisions."

Amchem Prods. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 630 (1997). A district court abuses its discretion when it commits an error of law or makes a clearly erroneous finding of fact. Christmas v. City of Chicago, 682 F.3d 632, 638 (7th Cir. 2011). With respect to Appellants' appeal of the district court's grant of summary judgment, that decision is reviewed de novo and is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 836-37 (7th Cir. 2001); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

A. Class Certification

In February 2008, CCA changed the jail's general pill call procedure by ordering a reduction in the number of daily rounds of medicine given to inmates; daily rounds were reduced from three per day to two per day. The jail's resident physician evaluated each inmate's medication program and exceptions were made; third rounds continued to be given to those inmates with unique medical needs. No exceptions were made for Appellants. Appellants claimed this was inadequate medical care, violating the rights of inmates under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and the Indiana Administrative Code 210 § 3-1-11. Appellants included this issue in their motion for class certification pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

The Eighth Amendment "safeguards the prisoner against a lack of medical care that may result in pain and suffering which no one suggests would serve any penological purpose . . . [and] prison officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious medical needs." Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, ...

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