The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward F. Shea Senior United States District Judge
FOR RECONSIDERATION, FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION, AND TO APPOINT COUNSEL ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS
Before the Court, without oral argument, are Plaintiff Paul Anthony Rupe's Motion for Class Certification, ECF No. 115, construed motion for reconsideration of the Court's June 18, 2012 Order revoking Plaintiff's in forma pauperis status, ECF No. 120, and Motion for Appointment of Counsel, ECF No. 137.*fn1 Having reviewed the pleadings and the applicable authority, the Court is fully informed and now enters the following Order.
I.PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION
Nearly four years after filing this lawsuit, Plaintiff seeks to convert it to a class action and to certify a class pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion for class certification.
Plaintiff, an incarcerated inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), is a practicing Druid who alleges various constitutional and statutory violations concerning his religious practice and conditions of confinement. On December 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint (hereinafter, "Complaint"). The Complaint names the Secretary of the CDCR*fn2 and thirty-seven individual CDCR employees as Defendants, and it includes nine separately-numbered claims. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages, for alleged violations of his First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and for alleged violations of the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc.*fn3
On June 13, 2012, Plaintiff moved for class certification. ECF No. 115. He seeks to certify a class defined as follows:
All persons, male and female, currently incarcerated within California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who are registered members of the [Order of Bards Ovates and Druids ("OBOD")], practice with, are under the training of, or have trained with a registered member of OBOD[,] and are being denied access to: sacred land areas[,] weekly Druid sweathouse ceremonies, food for religious celebrations[,] and/or religious ritual items common to all druidic practitioners.
ECF No. 115, at 1--2. Plaintiff asserts that the requirements of Rule 23(a) have been met, and he seeks certification pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2). Defendants oppose certification. ECF No. 123.
Class certification is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. In all cases, the party "seeking class certification bear[s] the burden of demonstrating that [it has] met each of the four requirements of [Rule 23(a)] and at least one of the requirements of Rule 23(b)." Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 657 F.3d 970, 979-80 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Zinser v. Accufix Research Inst., Inc., 253 F.3d 1180, 1186 (9th Cir. 2001), amended by 273 F.3d 1266 (9th Cir. 2001)).
Under Rule 23(a), the party seeking certification must demonstrate, first, that: (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable ["numerosity"], (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class ["commonality"], (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class ["typicality"], and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class ["adequacy"].
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2548 (2011) (internal quotation marks and paragraph breaks omitted) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)). In addition, "the proposed class must satisfy at least one of the three requirements listed in Rule 23(b)." Id.
Here, Plaintiff seeks certification pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2),*fn4
which applies when "the party opposing the class has acted or refused
to act on grounds that apply generally to the class, so that final
injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief is appropriate
respecting the class as a whole." Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2). Rule
23(b)(2) certification "'is appropriate only where the primary relief
sought is declaratory or injunctive.'" Ellis, 657 F.3d at 986 (quoting
Zinser, 253 F.3d at 1195). The "key to a [Rule 23(b)(2)] class is the
indivisible nature of the injunctive or declaratory remedy warranted,"
because "claims for individualized relief . . . do not satisfy the
Rule." Wal-Mart, 131 S. Ct. at 2557 (internal
quotation omitted). Thus, Rule 23(b)(2) certification is not
warranted when each class member is otherwise entitled to
individualized relief, whether in the form of monetary damages or
individual injunctions. Id.
Plaintiff's four-page memorandum in support of his motion for class certification does not satisfy his burden under Rule 23. He fails to demonstrate the rigorous Rule 23(a) requirements of numerosity, typicality, and adequacy.*fn5 Moreover, because of the individualized nature of ...