United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. NUGENT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Named Plaintiff's
Motion For Class Certification Under Rule 23(B)(2), and
Motion for Class Certification Under Rule 23(B)(3). (ECF #59,
78). Defendant opposes both motions. (ECF #65, 94). Plaintiff
filed Reply briefs in support of both his motions, and
Defendant filed a Sur-Reply in defense of its opposition to
the request under Rule 23(B)(2). (ECf #72, 86, 97). For the
reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motions are DENIED.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Named Plaintiff, Steven Britts, brought this action on behalf
of himself and other owner-operator truckers who entered into
written independent contractor lease agreements with
Defendant, Stevens Van Lines (“Stevens”). The
Complaint seeks damages, as well as declaratory, injunctive,
and equitable relief for alleged violations of the Truth in
Leasing regulations set forth under 49 U.S.C. § 14704
and 49 C.F.R. § 376.12(j). (ECF #1). Stevens filed a
counterclaim against Britts (directly and through his
lawyers) alleging tortious interference with business
relationships, defamation, and violations of the Ohio
Deceptive Trade Practice Act. (ECF #29).
January 27, 2017, this Court granted Partial Summary Judgment
to Stevens, dismissing Counts Two and Three of the Complaint.
In addition, the Court granted Summary Judgment to Plaintiff
on Stevens' counterclaims. The only remaining claim,
therefore, is Plaintiff's claim under Count One of the
Complaint, which alleges that Steven failed to disclose
required information in the written lease, in violation of
the TIL regulations .
Standard of Review
plaintiff bears the burden of proof in arguing that a
potential class should be certified. General Tel. Co. v.
Falcon, 457 U.S. at 161; Senter v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 532 F.2d 511, 522 (6th Cir. 1976). “The
class determination generally involves considerations that
are ‘enmeshed in the factual and legal issues
comprising the plaintiff's cause of action.'”
Coopers & Lybrand, 437 U.S. at 469 (quoting
Mercantile Nat'l Bank at Dallas v. Langdeau, 371
U.S. 555, 558 (1963)). While the pleadings may be enough to
determine “whether the interests of the absent parties
are fairly encompassed within the named plaintiff's claim
. . . sometimes it may be necessary for the court to probe
behind the pleadings” before deciding the issue of
certification. Falcon, 457 U.S. at 160. Thus, it is
appropriate for the Court to look not only to the pleadings
but also to additional exhibits and information submitted by
the parties in deciding the motion for certification.
must perform a “rigorous analysis” of the
requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 in
deciding whether to certify a class. Falcon, 457
U.S. at 147; accord Stout v. J.D. Byrider, 47 F.3d
709, 716 (6th Cir. 2000). Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure includes four prerequisites to maintaining a
class action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a). Members of a class
[M]ay sue . . . as representative parties on behalf of all
only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all
members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or
fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the
representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses
of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly
and adequately protect the interests of the class.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). Thus, the named representatives may
only be certified as a class under Rule 23 if the
representatives meet the requirements of numerosity,
commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation.
Assuming the requirements of Rule 23(a) are met, the class
action may be maintained only if it also meets the
requirements of one of the subsections of Rule 23(b).
Under Rule 23(b), An action may be maintained as a class
action if . . . (3) the court finds that the questions of law
or fact common to the members of the class predominate over
any questions affecting only individual members, and that a
class action is superior to other available methods for the
fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). Defendant argues that the Named
Plaintiff, Steven Britts, does not adequately represent the
class with regard to injunctive and declaratory relief
requested under the Rule 23(b)(2) certification request, and
that individualized questions of fact predominate over issues
that are common ...