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Doe v. Hommrich

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

July 19, 2019

JOHN DOE, a minor, by and through his Mother and next friend SHARIEKA FRAIZER, Plaintiffs,
v.
BONNIE HOMMRICH, et al Defendants.

          FINAL ORDER APPROVING CLASS SETTLEMENT, ORDERING PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, AND DISMISSING CASE WITH PREJUDICE

          ELI RICHARDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter came to be heard in open Court upon a Fairness Hearing, conducted on July 19, 2019, for final consideration of the proposed Class Settlement Agreement. The parties provided Notice to the Class of the proposed settlement agreement and the Fairness Hearing consistent with the approved Fairness Hearing Notice approved by this Court.

         For the reasons stated herein, the proposed Class Settlement Agreement is approved, and the Court makes the following FINDINGS and IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:

         1. On March 27, 2019, the plaintiffs John Doe, individually and on behalf of the class as Class Representative (“Mr. Doe”) and counsel for Mr. Doe and the class certified by this Court, Thomas H. Castelli, Mark J. Downton and Wesley B. Clark (collectively “Class Counsel”), and the defendants Bonnie Hommrich, in her official capacity as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of the Children's Services (“Commissioner Hommrich”), the Tennessee Department of the Children's Services (the “Department”), and, Rutherford County, Tennessee (the “County”) filed a Corrected Second Agreed Motion to Approve Class Settlement (Docket No. (“Motion to Approve”.) Attached to the Motion to Approve is the executed Class Action Settlement Agreement (the “Class Settlement Agreement”), which all parties request this Court to approve and based on which the parties seek this final order. A copy of the Class Settlement Agreement is attached to this Order as Exhibit A.

         2. On March 28, 2019, this Court entered an Order Granting Preliminary Approval of the Class Settlement, Directing Notice to the Class, and Scheduling Fairness Hearing (Docket No. 144 (the “Preliminary Approval Order”).) Pursuant to the Preliminary Approval Order, a Fairness Hearing was conducted on July 19, 2019.

         3. This Final Order Approving Class Settlement, Ordering Permanent Injunctive Relief, and Dismissing Case with Prejudice (the “Final Order”) incorporates the Class Settlement Agreement and its exhibits, and the Preliminary Approval Order.

         4. Based on the entire record before this Court, including the Memorandum and Order entered on February 17, 2017 (Docket No. 100), the Class Settlement Agreement (attached as Exhibit A), the Motion to Approve (Docket No. 143), the Preliminary Approval Order (Docket No. 144), the Fairness Hearing, and all other prior submissions and filings in this proceeding, the Court hereby confirms that the certified and final class in this matter is as follows (hereinafter referred to as the “Class” and/or the “Class Members”):

All juveniles detained in the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center who are or were placed in solitary confinement or isolation for punitive reasons, from April 25, 2015 to the present.

(Docket No. 100, p. 9; and, Class Settlement Agreement, Section I.)

         5. The Court confirms that the Class meets all the applicable requirements of FED. R. CIV. P. 23(a) and (b)(2).

         6. The Court has personal jurisdiction over all parties in the Litigation, including all Class Members, and has subject matter jurisdiction over this class litigation, including jurisdiction to approve the Settlement Agreement, grant final certification of the Class, to settle and release all claims released in the Settlement Agreement, to enter the permanent injunction, and to dismiss this matter with prejudice. Further, venue is proper in this Court.

         7. In accordance with the Preliminary Approval Order, the Class Members were given notice of the terms of the Settlement (the “Notice”), as well as the date, time and location of the Fairness Hearing and the deadline for presenting objections to the Class Settlement Agreement. In particular and in conformity with the Preliminary Approval Order, the Notice was provided to Class Members by the following means: a mailing by Rutherford County to the last known address of the one-hundred and twenty-eight (128) potential class members identified by Rutherford County in the course of discovery and referenced by the Court in its Order certifying the class (Docket No. 100 at 4), unless excluded from potential class membership by agreement of counsel for Rutherford County and Plaintiffs; publication on the websites of the County and the Department; posting in the entrance lobby and visitor areas of the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center; and, mailing to Juvenile Court Judge and Magistrates for the Juvenile Court of Rutherford County, the Rutherford County Public Defender's Office, and the Rutherford County District Attorney's Office. The Notice informed the Class Members of who was in the class, a summary of basis for the litigation, a description of the proposed settlement, that they could object to the proposed settlement, a description of the proposed release, and the procedure and deadline for submitting any such objections. The Notice provided Class Members with adequate time to submit any objections to the Class Settlement Agreement. This Court finds that the Notice, both its content and the method by which it was published to potential Class Members, afforded Class Members appropriate and adequate protections to make informed decisions regarding the Class Settlement Agreement, and satisfied the requirement of law and due process.

         8. The designated class representative is John Doe, and the Court finds that he adequately represents the Class for purposes of entering into and implementing the Settlement Agreement. Moreover, the Court finds that Thomas H. Castelli, Mark J. Downton and Wesley B. Clark are appropriate class counsel.

         9. At the July 19, 2019, Fairness Hearing, the Parties presented support for why the Class Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable and adequate to all concerned. Moreover, no Class Member has lodged an objection to the Class Settlement Agreement, ...


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