United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
A. BEATTY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Mark A. Beatty by United States District Judge Staci M.
Yandle pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and
Recommendation on the Motion for Class Certification (Doc.
29). For the reasons articulated below, it is recommended
that the District Court deny the Motion for Class
Mitchell Morrow, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at Centralia
Correctional Center, filed this pro se civil rights
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to the health
risks posed by juice served to inmates in the Illinois
Department of Corrections, which purportedly contains high
levels of the known carcinogen benzene (Doc. 9). On October
15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Class Certification
(Doc. 29), asking the Court to certify a class of all current
and former IDOC prisoners who have been served the allegedly
tainted juice (Doc. 29).
begin with, neither the original complaint nor the first
amended complaint contain a single mention of a class action
(see Doc. 3, Doc. 52). There are no class
allegations and no class definition (see Doc. 3,
Doc. 52). The Court did not read the original complaint or
the first amended complaint to assert any class claims, and
Plaintiff was not permitted to proceed on any class claims
(see Doc. 9, Doc. 51). See Fed. R. Civ. P.
23. And the scheduling order did not contemplate or provide
for any discovery or briefing regarding class issues (Doc.
in order to represent a class, a plaintiff must show, among
other things, that he “will fairly and adequately
protect the interests of the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(a)(4). Here, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. The
Court denied his most recent request for counsel after
determining that he was competent to litigate the matter on
his own given the current stage of litigation and the nature
of his claims (Doc. 51). It is well-established that a
prisoner who is unassisted by counsel is not an adequate
class representative. Howard v. Pollard, 814 F.3d
476, 478 (7th Cir. 2015); DeBrew v. Atwood, 792 F.3d
118, 131-32 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (“[A] pro se
litigant who is not trained as a lawyer is simply not an
adequate class representative.”); Fymbo v. State
Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 213 F.3d 1320, 1321 (10th Cir.
2000) (affirming that a pro se plaintiff who is not
an attorney is not an adequate class representative because
“[a] litigant may bring his own claims to federal court
without counsel, but not the claims of others. . . . This is
so because the competence of a layman is ‘clearly too
limited to allow him to risk the rights of
others.'”) (quoting Oxendine v. Williams,
509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975)). See also Georgakis
v. Illinois State Univ., 722 F.3d 1075, 1077 (7th Cir.
2013) (“A nonlawyer can't handle a case on behalf
of anyone except himself.”)
also failed to provide any evidence or other competent
information to demonstrate that the remaining elements of
Rule 23(a) and at least one of the requirements of Rule 23(b)
were satisfied. (see Doc. 135). See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23; Messner v. Northshore Univ.
HealthSystem, 669 F.3d 802, 811 (7th Cir. 2012)
(“[The plaintiff] bear[s] the burden of showing that a
proposed class satisfies the Rule 23 requirements . . . by a
preponderance of evidence.”) (citations omitted). In
some instances, Plaintiff did nothing more than recite the
language of Rule 23 (see Doc. 29). In other
instances, he provided only superficial, generic explanations
unsupported by any evidence or any citations to the record,
which are insufficient to demonstrate that the requirements
of Rule 23 are satisfied (see Doc. 29). See,
e.g., Jamie S. v. Milwaukee Pub. Sch., 668 F.3d 481, 497
(7th Cir. 2012) (explaining that it's not enough to show
that class members have all “suffered a violation of
the same provision of law.'”) (quoting Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 350 (2011)).
these reasons, Plaintiff's request for class
certification should be denied.
reasons explained above, it is RECOMMENDED
that the District Court DENY Plaintiff's
Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 29).
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and SDIL-LR 73.1(b),
OBJECTIONS to this Report and
Recommendation/Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of
Law are due ...