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Burgess v. White

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

June 14, 2013

GARELL MARK BURGESS, IN FULL AND IN PART WITH OTHERS, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHANNON WHITE et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Garell Mark Burgess, a pretrial detainee currently incarcerated in the Hardin County Detention Center (HCDC), filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Kentucky State Police Officer Shannon White and HCDC Jailer Danny Allen (DN 1). Burgess alleges incidents involving Officer White, which pertain to his current charges. He additionally alleges that the jail illegally bills him $30.00 a day for housing and takes 50% of all monies deposited into his inmate account.

In the caption, "Garell Mark Burgess In full and In part with others. (See Attached Page)" are listed as Plaintiffs. The "Attached Page" contains the names, signatures, and "Jacket No. #" of fifteen additional inmates (presumably also incarcerated at the HCDC), who advise, "I wish to be part of a class action suit against Hardin County Detention Center, and Jailer Danny Allen, for the illegal removel of fund from my trust account."

As to the request for class-action status, Plaintiff Burgess is a pro se prisoner without legal training and is therefore not able to represent the proposed class adequately. See Heard v. Caruso, 351 F.Appx. 1, 15 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 23; Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975) ("Ability to protect the interests of the class depends in part on the quality of counsel, and we consider the competence of a layman representing himself to be clearly too limited to allow him to risk the rights of others.") (citation omitted)); Ziegler v. Michigan, 59 F.Appx. 622, 624 (6th Cir. 2003) ("Generally, pro se prisoners cannot adequately represent a class.") (citing Fymbo v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 213 F.3d 1320, 1321 (10th Cir. 2000)); Palasty v. Hawk, 15 F.Appx. 197, 200 (6th Cir. 2001) ("No representative party was available because pro se prisoners are not able to represent fairly the class."); Giorgio v. State of Tenn., Dep't of Human Servs. of Nashville and Jefferson Cnty., No. 95-6327, 1996 WL 447656, at *1 (6th Cir. Aug. 7, 1996) ("Because a layman does not ordinarily possess the legal training and expertise necessary to protect the interests of a proposed class, courts are reluctant to certify a class represented by a pro se litigant."). IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's request for class-action status (DN 1) is DENIED.

Consequently, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that those fifteen inmates who signed the attachment indicating their desire "to be part of a class action suit against Hardin County Detention Center, and Jailer Danny Allen, for the illegal removel of fund from my trust account" are DISMISSED as parties to this action.

The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to terminate the following inmates as parties to this action: Robert W. Wilson; Loren K. Diehlman; James R. Christopher IV; Robert L. Hardin; Dean M. Tinsley; Robert B. Cooper; Jose M. Vargas; Kevin W. Herbig; Sherman L. Smith; Michael R. Odom; Franklin R. Dotson; Michael T. Shutt; Todd Livingston; George Beason; and Dambrocio Hughes.

The prisoners who sought class-action status may file individual § 1983 actions asserting their own claims should they so desire.


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