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Powell v. Oldham

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

March 9, 2018

ISSACCA POWELL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BILL OLDHAM, et al., Defendants MELVIN INGRAM, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BILL OLDHAM, et al., Defendants

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the December 29, 2017 Motion for Consolidation, filed in Nos. 2:16-cv-2907 and 2:17-cv-2795 by Defendants Bill Oldham, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Shelby County; Robert Moore, individually and in his official capacity as Jail Director of Shelby County; Charlene McGhee, individually and in her official capacity as Assistant Chief Jail Security of Shelby County; Debra Hammons, individually and in her official capacity as Assistant Chief of Jail Programs of Shelby County; and Shelby County, Tennessee (collectively, “Shelby County Defendants”) and Tyler Technology, Inc. (“Tyler”) (collectively, “Defendants”). (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 85; Ingram, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:17-cv-2795-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 27.) Defendants seek to consolidate Ingram, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:17-cv-2795-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.) (“the Ingram Class Action”) with Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.) (“the Powell Class Action”). Plaintiffs Issacca Powell, Cortez D. Brown, Scott Turnage, Deontae Tate, Jeremy S. Melton, Keith Burgess, and Terrence Drain, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, (collectively, “Powell Plaintiffs”) responded on January 12, 2018. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 86.) Plaintiffs Melvin Ingram and 29 other individuals, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, (collectively, “Ingram Plaintiffs”) also responded on January 12, 2018. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 87; Ingram, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:17-cv-2795-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 28.)

         Also before the Court is Powell Plaintiffs' Rule 23(g)(3) Motion for Appointment of Interim Class Counsel and to Dismiss without Prejudice or, Alternatively, to Stay the Recently Filed Ingram Class Action Complaint, filed November 21, 2017. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 80.)

         For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Consolidation is GRANTED. Powell Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss without prejudice or, in the alternative, to stay is DENIED. The motion to appoint interim class counsel is DEFERRED.

         I. Background

         Powell Plaintiffs and Ingram Plaintiffs have brought separate class actions against Defendants for unlawful detention after the installation, integration, and implementation of a new computer tracking system at the Shelby County Jail. That system included Tyler's Odyssey software. Powell Plaintiffs and Ingram Plaintiffs bring claims against Shelby County Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of Plaintiffs' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They bring negligence claims against Tyler.

         On November 17, 2016, Plaintiff Issacca Powell, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against Defendant Oldham in his individual capacity and in his official capacity as Shelby County Sheriff. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 1.)

         On February 22, 2017, the Court entered a Scheduling Order, establishing the deadlines for class certification. (Id., ECF No. 37.)

         On March 9, 2017, Shelby County Defendants filed a consent motion to consolidate Powell with Brown, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:17-cv-2015-SHM-dkv (W.D. Tenn.), brought against Defendants by Plaintiffs Cortez D. Brown, Scott Turnage, Deontae Tate, Jeremy S. Melton, Keith Burgess, Travis Boyd, and Terrence Drain, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 41.) The Court granted the consent motion on March 13, 2017, and directed Powell Plaintiffs to file a consolidated complaint. (Id., ECF No. 42.)

         Powell Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint for the consolidated class action on March 24, 2017. (Id., ECF No. 43.) Powell Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint on May 4, 2017. (Id., ECF No. 52.) Shelby County Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleading and an Answer on May 25, 2017. (Id., ECF Nos. 56-57.) Tyler filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim on May 26, 2017. (Id., ECF No. 58.) Powell Plaintiffs timely responded to Defendants' motions. (Id., ECF Nos. 61-62.)

         On August 7, 2017, the Court granted the parties' joint motion to extend deadlines for class certification, extending the discovery deadline to January 16, 2018, and related deadlines thereafter. (Id., ECF Nos. 68-69.)

         On October 31, 2017, Ingram Plaintiffs filed their complaint. (Ingram, et al. v. Oldham, et al, 2:17-cv-2795-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 1.)

         On November 21, 2017, Powell Plaintiffs filed a Rule 23(g)(3) Motion for Appointment of Interim Class Counsel and to Dismiss Without Prejudice or Alternatively, to Stay the Recently Filed Ingram Class Action Complaint. (Powell, et al. v. Oldham, et al., 2:16-cv-2907-SHM-tmp (W.D. Tenn.), ECF No. 80.)

         The Court held a status conference on December 19, 2017, to discuss the pending motion to dismiss or stay and the appropriateness of consolidation. (Id., Min. Entry, ECF No. 84.) The Court ordered Defendants to file motions for consolidation in both the ...


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