United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NO.
Y. PEARSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
is Plaintiff's Corrected Motion for Class Certification,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a), 23(b)(2), and 23(b)(3). ECF
No. 4. Defendants oppose, on the ground that Plaintiff's
motion fails to make the requisite showings to satisfy the
requirements for class certification under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23.
ECF No. 11. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's
motion (ECF No. 4) is denied without prejudice to be
refiled at a later time, if appropriate.
Venicee Howell is the named plaintiff in the above-entitled
putative class action against Defendants The City of
Youngstown, Ohio and the Honorable Mayor John McNally. The
Complaint alleges that Defendants violated the provisions of
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourteenth
Amendment by denying Plaintiff and other
similarly-situated Black residents who reside in
Youngstown's “Sharonline” neighborhood equal
city services to a dual system of sewers for controlling the
flow of storm water and sewage (otherwise known as
“storm sewers”) within their residential
community. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff asserts
that, due to Defendants' longstanding racially
discriminatory practice, storm sewers in Sharonline neither
existed or functioned properly, which resulted in the
continuous backup of storm water onto Plaintiff's
residential property and of those similarly-situated. Id.
at PageID#: 6, ¶ 28. Plaintiff alleges that the
storm water backups have caused extensive damage to her
property and of those similarly-situated, in the form of mold
and mildew accumulation within their residences, damage to
their property's foundation, and diminishment of property
value and habitability. Id. at ¶ 29. Despite
Defendants' failure to provide storm sewers, Plaintiff
and other similarly-situated Black residents of Sharonline
have been charged, as part of their monthly water bill
payment, fees for maintenance and operations of the dual
water system. Id. at PageID#: 5, ¶ 20.
Recently, storm sewers have been extended to service
Plaintiff's residential property. Id. at ¶
requests that the Court enter a preliminary and permanent
injunction, enjoining Defendants from continuing their
alleged discriminatory practices of engaging in unequal
distribution of city services, and compensate her and those
similarly-situated for the loss of value of their land.
Id. at PageID#:9.
November 16, 2017, Plaintiff moved for certification of the
All Blacks who reside or have resided in the area known as
the Sharonline, an area encompassing the City of Youngstown,
Ohio East of Lansdowne
Boulevard to the Pennsylvania State line, Northeast of
Lansdowne Boulevard to Hubbard, Ohio and North of Oak Street
to Liberty Township and have been denied storm sewers but
charged for sewer service by the City of Youngstown, Ohio.
Id. at PageID#: 3, ¶ 9. Plaintiff also moves
the Court to appoint the named Plaintiff, Venicee Howell, as
class representative, and to appoint Attorney Percy Squire,
as class counsel. ECF No. 4 at PageID#: 42.
oppose, asserting that Plaintiff's motion is unsupported
by evidence and fails to satisfy the requirements of Rule
23(a), 23(b)(2), and 23(b)(3). ECF No. 11 at PageID:# 98.
Specifically, Defendants argue that “Plaintiff relies
solely on the allegations in her Complaint in support of her
Motion and . . . has failed to conduct any discovery which
would support a Motion for Class Certification.”
principal purpose of class actions is to achieve efficiency
and economy of litigation, with respect to both the parties
and the courts. See Gen. Tel. Co. of Southwest v.
Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 159 (1982). Before certifying a
class, the district court must conduct a “rigorous
analysis” of the prerequisites of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 35051 (2011). A district court has
broad discretion in deciding whether to certify a class,
although it must exercise that discretion within the
framework of Rule 23. Beattie v. Century Tel, Inc.,
511 F.3d 554, 55960 (6th Cir. 2007); In re American Med.
Sys., Inc., 75 F.3d 1069, 1079 (6th Cir. 1996).
23 does not require a district court, in deciding whether to
certify a class, to inquire into the merits of the
plaintiff's suit.” Beattie, 511 F.3d at
560. In evaluating whether class certification is
appropriate, however, “it may be necessary for the
court to probe behind the pleadings, ” because the
relevant issues are often “enmeshed” within the
legal and factual considerations raised by the litigation.
Falcon, 457 U.S. at 160.
party seeking class certification bears the burden of
establishing that the requisites are met. Alkire v.
Irving,330 F.3d 802, 820 (6th Cir. 2003). Meeting the
requirements of “Rule 23(a) requires something more
than mere repetition of the rule's language;
‘[t]here must be an adequate statement of the basic
facts to indicate that each requirement of the rule is
fulfilled.'” Young v. Nationwide Mut. Ins.
Co.,693 F.3d 532, 537 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Pipefitters Local 636 Ins. Fund v. Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Mich.,654 F.3d 618, 629 (6th Cir. 2011)).
Ordinarily, this means ...