United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
SCOTT TURNAGE, CORTEZ D. BROWN, DEONTAE TATE, JEREMY S. MELTON, ISSACCA POWELL, KEITH BURGESS, TRAVIS BOYD, TERRENCE DRAIN, and KIMBERLY ALLEN on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
BILL OLDHAM, FLOYD BONNER, JR., ROBERT MOORE, KIRK FIELDS, CHARLENE McGHEE, REGINALD HUBBARD, DEBRA HAMMONS, TIFFANY WARD, SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE, TYLER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., GLOBAL TEL*LINK CORPORATION, SOFTWARE AG USA, INC., SIERRA-CEDAR, INC., SIERRA SYSTEMS GROUP, INC., and TETRUS CORP., Defendants.
H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Plaintiffs' September 6, 2019 Motion for
Substitution of Party. (ECF No. 245.) Defendants filed
responses on September 20, 2019. (ECF Nos. 252-58.) For the
following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.
bring a putative class action against Shelby County and
Shelby County officials Bill Oldham, Robert Moore, Charlene
McGhee, Debra Hammons, Floyd Bonner, Jr., Kirk Fields,
Reginald Hubbard, and Tiffany Ward, in their individual and
official capacities (collectively, the “Shelby County
Defendants”). (ECF No. 218.) Plaintiffs also sue six
private corporations: Tyler Technologies, Inc.; Global
Tel*Link Corporation; Software AG USA, Inc.; Sierra-Cedar,
Inc.; Sierra Systems Group, Inc.; and Tetrus Corporation
(collectively, the “Company Defendants”).
claim they were unlawfully detained at the Shelby County Jail
following the County's installation of a new computer
tracking system. (Id. ¶¶ 35-43.)
Plaintiffs bring claims for injunctive relief, declaratory
relief, and damages against the Shelby County Defendants
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of Plaintiffs'
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Id.
¶¶ 138-49, 179-91.) Plaintiffs bring common-law
negligence claims against the Company Defendants for
negligently developing, installing, and implementing the
County's computer tracking system. (Id.
Issacca Powell died on February 4, 2019. (ECF No. 245.) On
August 22, 2019, the Shelby County Probate Court appointed
Aubrey L. Brown as administrator ad litem of Powell's
ask the Court to substitute Brown, the administrator ad litem
of Powell's estate, for Powell. (Id.) The Shelby
County Defendants filed a response that the Company
Defendants have joined. (ECF No. 253; see also ECF
Nos. 252, 254-58.)
Substitution Under Rule 25(a)(1)
request for substitution is governed by Rule 25(a)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides:
If a party dies and the claim is not extinguished, the court
may order substitution of the proper party. A motion for
substitution may be made by any party or by the
decedent's successor or representative. If the motion is
not made within 90 days after service of a statement noting
the death, the action by or against the decedent must be
Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1). “The language of Rule 25 is
permissive and the decision to substitute a party lies within
the sound discretion of the Court.” Watts v.
Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 08-cv-2354, 2015 WL 1456647,
at *4 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 30, 2015) (citing In re Baycol
Prods. Litig., 616 F.3d 778, 783 (8th Cir. 2010)).
first issue is whether Powell's claims were
“extinguished” by his death. Whether the death of
a party extinguishes a claim is a substantive question that
state law ordinarily governs. Huggard v. United
Performance Metals, Inc., No. 10-cv-0063, 2011 WL
6817770, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Dec. 28, 2011) (citing 7C Charles
Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1952 (3d ed. 2019)), adopted by 2012 WL
368222 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 3, 2012).
survivorship law of the forum state determines whether a
§ 1983 claim survives a plaintiff's death, provided
the forum state's law is “not inconsistent with the
Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Robertson v. Wegmann, 436 U.S. 584, 588 (1978)
(quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1988)). A state's survivorship
law is inconsistent with federal law when it is
“inconsistent with the federal policy underlying the
cause of action under consideration.” Id. at
590 (quoting Johnson v. Ry. Express Agency, Inc.,
421 U.S. 454, 465 (1975)). The policies underlying §
1983 claims include “(1) compensation of persons for
injuries caused by ...