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Grabarczyk v. Stein

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

September 18, 2019

KENNETH S. GRABARCZYK, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSHUA STEIN, Attorney General of the State of North Carolina, in his official capacity; BOB SCHURMEIER, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, in his official capacity; SEAN BOONE, District Attorney of Alamance County, North Carolina, in his official capacity; Defendants.

          ORDER

          TERRENCE W. BOYLE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This cause comes before the Court on plaintiffs motions pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for class certification and to appoint class counsel. Defendants have responded in opposition, plaintiff has replied, and the matters are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons, plaintiffs motions are granted.

         BACKGROUND

         The Court incorporates by reference as if fully set forth herein the factual and procedural background of this matter as recited in its order denying defendants' motions to dismiss. [DE 36].

         DISCUSSION

         Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that certification of a class is appropriate if the following prerequisites are satisfied:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and
(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Fed R. Civ. P. 23(a).[1] If the prerequisites have been satisfied, the party seeking class certification must also demonstrate that the action falls within a category of Rule 23(b). See Haywood v. Barnes, 109 F.R.D. 568, 575 (E.D. N.C. 1986).

         A court's inquiry into whether the Rule 23(a) prerequisites have been satisfied must be rigorous, but it does not entail a "free-ranging merits inquiry at the certification stage." Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Ret. Plans & Tr. Funds, 568 U.S. 455, 466 (2013). A party must also satisfy the Rule 23(b) provision with evidentiary proof, and may not rely on the pleadings alone. Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 569 U.S. 27, 33 (2013). In addition to Rule 23's express requirements, the Fourth Circuit has recognized an implicit requirement that the class be ascertainable or readily identifiable. EQT Prod. Co. v. Adair, 764 F.3d 347, 358 (4th Cir. 2014). The party seeking class certification bears the burden of proof. Thorn v. Jefferson-Pilot Life Ins. Co., 445 F.3d 311, 321 (4th Cir. 2006).

Plaintiffs proposed class is comprised of
All persons placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry solely on the basis of an offense committed in a state other than North Carolina and who both committed the predicate offense prior to December 1, 2006, and moved into ...

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