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Case Name Buroff v. Gladieux JC-IN-0025
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00124 ( N.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On March 27, 2017, an inmate and eligible voter serving a sentence for a misdemeanor charge in Allen County Jail (ACJ) brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. The plaintiff sued the Allen County Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendant jail ... read more >
On March 27, 2017, an inmate and eligible voter serving a sentence for a misdemeanor charge in Allen County Jail (ACJ) brought this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. The plaintiff sued the Allen County Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendant jail provided no absentee ballots to any of the 450–550 eligible voters serving misdemeanor sentences during the 2016 election. According to the plaintiff, the defendant also did not allow inmates to vote in-person at a voting center located only a block from the facility. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought monetary relief and attorneys' fees because he claimed that the defendant violated his and class members' fundamental right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The case was originally assigned to Judge Jon E. DeGuilio. On May 1, 2017, however, the case was reassigned to Chief Judge Theresa L. Springmann.

On March 28, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion for class certification. The plaintiff defined the class as "All individuals held at the Allen County Jail on November 8, 2016 who on that date were US citizens, residents of Indiana, were at least eighteen years of age, were not serving a sentence for a conviction of a felony crime, had not previously voted in the 2016 general election, were provided neither an absentee ballot nor transportation to a voting center, and were registered to vote or had been denied the opportunity to register to vote while held in the Allen County Jail."

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint and motion to certify the class in June 2017 and a second amended complaint in August 2017. The second amended complaint added facts to the first amended complaint. These included the number of jail inmates affected, and the lack of communication between the jail and the Allen County Election Board.

On November 13, 2017, the Court denied the class definition request with leave to refile because the plaintiffs had failed to show that many of those in the class were registered to vote on November 8 of 2016. In the court's view the plaintiffs had shown that as many as 500-600 inmates may have been injured, but did not support any particular number with sufficient facts. Additionally, the court dismissed one of the named plaintiffs because he lacked standing. He had failed to request an absentee ballet in time to be eligible to vote.

On March 7, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a second motion to certify the class. On May 17, the court granted the plaintiff's motion to certify the class. The class definition was the same as indicated above. This time, however, the plaintiff had supported their claim with 20 pages of inmates who were eligible to vote and incarcerated in the Allen County jail on November 8, 2016. The court found that the class was sufficiently numerous and identifiable and that there were common questions among the class members.

Just a few months later, on July 23, 2018, the defendant county sheriff moved for partial summary judgment. Following the motion for partial summary judgment the parties entered mediation. On March 1, 2019, the Magistrate judge overseeing mediation notified the court that a second mediation would be scheduled upon the court's resolution of the defendant's pending motion for summary judgment. The case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 05/25/2018
Keagan Potts - 03/13/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Allen County, Indiana
Plaintiff Description All individuals held at the Allen County Jail on November 8, 2016 who on that date were US citizens, residents of Indiana, were at least eighteen years of age, were not serving a sentence for a conviction of a felony crime, had not previously voted in the 2016 general election, were provided neither an absentee ballot nor transportation to a voting center, and were registered to vote or had been denied the opportunity to register to vote while held in the Allen County Jail.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:17-cv-124 (N.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0025-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-IN-0025-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 28]
JC-IN-0025-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 32] (2017 WL 5466872) (N.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0025-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 41] (2018 WL 2277093) (N.D. Ind.)
JC-IN-0025-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Springmann, Theresa Lazar (N.D. Ind.) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0025-0003 | JC-IN-0025-0004 | JC-IN-0025-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Frank, David W. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0025-0001 | JC-IN-0025-0002 | JC-IN-0025-9000
Myers, Christopher C. (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0025-0001 | JC-IN-0025-0002 | JC-IN-0025-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feighner, J Spencer (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0025-9000
Feighner, John O (Indiana) show/hide docs
JC-IN-0025-9000

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