United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Edward Haab (“Plaintiff”) is a deaf resident of
Bossier City who primarily communicates using American Sign
Language (“ASL”). His status as a sex offender
requires that he register with law enforcement agencies
including the Bossier City Police Department. Plaintiff
alleges that the Department violates the Americans with
Disabilities Act because it does not provide adequate access
to an ASL interpreter.
filed this action against the City of Bossier City and
requested class action status. Before the court is
Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 18) that
proposes the certification of a class defined as:
All deaf or hard of hearing persons who communicate in
American Sign Language and have interacted with, or have
cause to interact with, the Bossier City Police Department in
a non-emergency setting.
seeks only declaratory and injunctive relief. No. damages are
at issue. The City opposes class certification on several
grounds. For the reasons that follow, the motion for class
certification is denied.
class action is “an exception to the usual rule that
litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual
named parties only.” Califano v. Yamasaki, 99
S.Ct. 2545 (1979). To come within the exception, the party
seeking to maintain a class action “must affirmatively
demonstrate his compliance” with Rule 23. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541, 2551-52 (2011).
action is proper only if all requirements of Rule 23(a) are
met and one of the provisions of Rule 23(b) is satisfied.
Rule 23(a) states that a class is proper 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. These
requirements are not mere pleading standards, and the party
seeking certification must be able to prove that there are in
fact numerous parties, common questions, etc. Comcast
Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1431 (2013), citing
respect to Rule 23(b), Plaintiff relies on Rule 23(b)(2).
That rule allows certification of a class if the court finds
that “the party opposing the class has acted or refused
to act on grounds that apply generally to the class, so that
final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief
is appropriate respecting the class as a whole.”
determine whether certification is appropriate, the court
“must conduct intense factual investigation.”
Robinson v. Texas Auto Dealers Assn., 387 F.3d 416,
420 (5th Cir. 2004). A court must rigorously analyze Rule
23's requirements, and that requires an understanding of
the relevant claims, defenses, facts, and substantive law
presented in the case. Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc.
v. Service Corporation International, 695 F.3d 330, 345
(5th Cir. 2012). The analysis will often overlap with the
merits of the plaintiff's underlying claim because class
determination “generally involves considerations that
are enmeshed in the factual and legal issues comprising the
plaintiff's cause of action.” Comcast, 133
S.Ct. at 1432, quoting Dukes, 131 S.Ct. at 2551.
was convicted of molestation of a juvenile in the 1990s and
served a term in prison. After his release, he was required
to register as a sex offender, and he testified at his
deposition that he will have to continue to register until
2023. He is a resident of Bossier City, and he registers
twice a year with the Bossier Parish sheriff and once a year
with the Bossier City police. He has a job in Shreveport
(Caddo Parish), so he also registers in that jurisdiction.
stated in a declaration under penalty of perjury that he is
deaf and communicates primarily using ASL. Plaintiff said
that he is “not great at reading and writing” and
needs an ASL interpreter to understand what is being
communicated to him by police officers, doctors, lawyers, and
others. Plaintiff stated that he has asked the Bossier City
police “many times” for an ASL interpreter during
his scheduled meetings so that he can ask questions and
understand everything that is happening. But, before filing
this lawsuit, the Bossier police never provided him with an
ASL interpreter. Plaintiff stated that, as a result, he was
never able to communicate effectively with the police or
understand everything they were saying to ...