Case: Nowak v. Baxmeyer

3:23-cv-00589 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

Filed Date: June 26, 2023

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a putative class action lawsuit against St. Joseph County, Indiana, challenging the county's planned closure of Portage Manor, a facility for people living in poverty who have physical or mental disabilities or mental illnesses. The lawsuit alleged that the plan to close Portage Manor violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Indiana state law. The plaintiffs were residents of Portage Manor, a facility operated by St. Joseph Count…

This is a putative class action lawsuit against St. Joseph County, Indiana, challenging the county's planned closure of Portage Manor, a facility for people living in poverty who have physical or mental disabilities or mental illnesses. The lawsuit alleged that the plan to close Portage Manor violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Indiana state law.

The plaintiffs were residents of Portage Manor, a facility operated by St. Joseph County to house and care for impoverished people with disabilities, both physical and mental. The plaintiffs were represented by their respective guardians and powers of attorney, and had private counsel. The defendants were the St. Joseph County government, the Presidents of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners and the St. Joseph County Council, and the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health. The plaintiffs filed a class action complaint on June 26, 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The case was assigned to Judge Damon R. Leichty.

The plaintiffs alleged that the closing of Portage Manor would threaten their health and safety. In their amended complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the St. Joseph Board of Commissioners voted to close Portage Manor before informing residents and their families of alternate placements. The plaintiffs alleged that this vote to close the Manor occurred before the unnamed successor facility even received licensing from the State of Indiana. The plaintiffs further alleged that potential placement facilities could be located over 100 miles away from the Manor, and that it was unclear whether these facilities had the capacity and qualifications to care for the needs of the 105 residents of Portage Manor. 

The plaintiffs filed claims under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Indiana state law. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to prevent the closing of Portage Manor and the transfer of residents, declaratory relief, and the appointment of a Master or placement of the Manor into receivership for compliance. The plaintiffs also requested monetary damages for the class and attorneys’ fees. 

The plaintiffs moved to certify class status on July 5, 2023. The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction the following day, and the defendants moved to dismiss two weeks later. The parties entered into settlement discussions later that month. The case was dismissed on August 28, 2023 because a cash settlement agreement was reached. Under the settlement, the defendants paid up to $195,000 total to the plaintiffs for travel costs, and Portage Manor was subsequently shut down. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Samantha Houghton (3/7/2024)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67529205/parties/nowak-v-baxmeyer/


Judge(s)

Leichty, Damon Ray (Indiana)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Friedman, Shaw R (Indiana)

Hull, Kent (Indiana)

Attorney for Defendant

Meltzer, Katherine A (Indiana)

Misch, Michael P (Indiana)

show all people

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

3:23-cv-00589

Class Action Complaint for Equitable Relief and Damages

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

Complaint
15

3:23-cv-00589

First Amended Class Action Complaint for Equitable Relief and Damages

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

Complaint

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/67529205/nowak-v-baxmeyer/

Last updated April 20, 2024, 3:07 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 402 receipt number AINNDC-5282137.), filed by All Plaintiffs.(Hull, Kent) Modified to correct who the complaint is file against on 6/27/2023 (nhc). (Entered: 06/26/2023)

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

Clearinghouse
2

NOTICE of Appearance by Kent Hull on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 06/26/2023)

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

PACER
3

Proposed Summons filed by RANDY JOSEPH NOWAK. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 06/26/2023)

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

PACER
4

Proposed Summons filed by RANDY JOSEPH NOWAK. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 06/26/2023)

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

PACER
5

Proposed Summons filed by RANDY JOSEPH NOWAK. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 06/26/2023)

June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

PACER
6

Civil Cover Sheet by RANDY JOSEPH NOWAK (Hull, Kent) Modified to correct title of document on 6/27/2023 (nhc). (Entered: 06/27/2023)

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

PACER

Add and Terminate Judges

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

PACER

**NEW CASE** Judge Damon R Leichty and Magistrate Judge Michael G Gotsch, Sr added. (nhc)

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

PACER
7

Summons Issued as to Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County. NOTE:The attached document is accessible by court personnel only. Summons forms that were electronically submitted to the court for issuance will be returned to counsel via e-mail. (nhc) (Entered: 06/27/2023)

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

PACER
8

AFFIDAVIT of Service for SUMMONS WITH COMPLAINT served on DEFENDANTS BAXMEYER, ROOT AND ST. JOSEPH COUNTY on 06/28/2023, filed by Randy Joseph Nowak. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 06/28/2023)

June 28, 2023

June 28, 2023

PACER
9

ORDER: The undersigned RECUSES himself from all further proceedings in this case. The Clerk is ORDERED to randomly reassign this case to a Magistrate Judge within the District for the purpose of conducting all non-dispositive pretrial proceedings, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a) and the General Orders of this Court. Case reassigned to Magistrate Judge Susan L Collins for all further proceedings. Signed by Magistrate Judge Michael G Gotsch, Sr on 6/28/23. (nal) (Entered: 06/28/2023)

June 28, 2023

June 28, 2023

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

June 29, 2023

June 29, 2023

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Per DE 8 Defendants Baxmeyer, Root and St. Joseph County answer due 7/19/2023. (nae)

June 29, 2023

June 29, 2023

PACER
10

First MOTION for Leave to File Tendered Supplemental Complaint by Plaintiff Randy Joseph Nowak. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit TENDERED SUPPLEMENTA COMPLAINT, # 2 Exhibit ORIGINAL COMPLAINT, # 3 Exhibit TENDERED ORDER)(Hull, Kent) Modified to add docket text on 7/5/2023 (kmt). (Entered: 07/03/2023)

July 3, 2023

July 3, 2023

PACER
11

MOTION to Certify Class by Plaintiff Laura McLellan. (Attachments: # 1 BRIEF SUPPORTING MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS, # 2 TENDERED ORDER CERTIFYING CLASS)(Hull, Kent) Modified on 7/6/2023 correct title (jdb). (Entered: 07/05/2023)

July 5, 2023

July 5, 2023

PACER
12

First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Plaintiff Laura McLellan. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit DECLARATION OF LAURA MCLELLAN, # 2 Affidavit DECLARATION OF ROY SAENZ, # 3 Addendum PLAINTIFFS' BRIEF SUPPORTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, # 4 Addendum TENDERED ORDER)(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/06/2023)

July 6, 2023

July 6, 2023

PACER
13

AFFIDAVIT of KENT HULL re 11 MOTION to Certify Class by Laura McLellan. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/06/2023)

July 6, 2023

July 6, 2023

PACER
14

ORDER: The court DENIES IN PART the plaintiffs' request to file a supplement to their complaint [ECF 10 ] but, noting the newly-filed preliminary injunction motion, GRANTS IN PART and AFFORDS the plaintiffs until 9:00 a.m. (EDT) on July 10, 2023 to file an amended complaint. Signed by Judge Damon R Leichty on 7/6/23. (dk) (Entered: 07/06/2023)

July 6, 2023

July 6, 2023

PACER
15

AMENDED COMPLAINT FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT against Carl H. Baxmeyer, filed by Laura McLellan.(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

Clearinghouse
16

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael P Misch on behalf of Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County (Misch, Michael) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

PACER
17

NOTICE of Appearance by Stephanie L Nemeth on behalf of Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County (Nemeth, Stephanie) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

PACER
18

MOTION TO ADD DEFENDANT by Plaintiff Laura McLellan. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit TENDERED ORFER)(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

PACER
19

ORDER: The court SETS an in-person hearing for Monday, July 10, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. (ET) in the Robert L. Miller, Jr. Courtroom in South Bend, Indiana to discuss scheduling and other matters for the preliminary injunction motion. The court ORDERS the plaintiffs to provide prompt notice of this order to all defendants, including the Indiana Attorney Generals Office, by mail, telephone, and email if the plaintiffs still intend to add a state official as a defendant. The court strongly encourages the plaintiffs to perfect service and promptly notify the court upon its completion. Signed by Judge Damon R Leichty on 7/7/23. (dk) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

PACER
20

AFFIDAVIT of Service for ORDER OF JULY 7, 2023 served on PATRICIA O. ERDMANN on JULY 7, 2023, filed by Laura McLellan. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/07/2023)

July 7, 2023

July 7, 2023

PACER
21

AFFIDAVIT of Service for SUPPLEMENTAL AFFIDAVIT-DECLARATION OF SERVICE served on ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA on JULY 10, 2023, filed by Laura McLellan. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/10/2023)

July 10, 2023

July 10, 2023

PACER
22

NOTICE of Appearance by Adrienne Pope on behalf of Lindsay Weaver (Pope, Adrienne) (Entered: 07/10/2023)

July 10, 2023

July 10, 2023

PACER
23

NOTICE of Appearance by Katherine A Meltzer on behalf of Lindsay Weaver (Meltzer, Katherine) (Entered: 07/10/2023)

July 10, 2023

July 10, 2023

PACER
24

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE held on 7/10/2023 before Judge Damon R Leichty. Pla appeared by atty Hull. Dfts appeared by attys Misch, Pope. The court hears from the parties. Plaintiff's supplemental brief to be filed by 7/13/2023. Defendant's response to be filed by 7/19/2023. Plaintiff's reply to be filed by 7/21/2023. Hearing on plaintiff's 12 Motion for Preliminary Injunction set for 7/25/2023 09:30 AM (EDT) in US District Court - South Bend before Judge Damon R Leichty. For reasons stated, plaintiff's 18 Motion to add defendant is DENIED AS MOOT. (Court Reporter D. Bonk.) (dk) (Entered: 07/11/2023)

July 10, 2023

July 10, 2023

PACER
25

TRANSCRIPT of Hearing held on July 10, 2023, before Judge Damon R Leichty. Court Reporter Debra Bonk, Telephone 574-246-8039, E-mail debra_bonk@innd.uscourts.gov. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. IMPORTANT: Notice is hereby given that an official transcript of a proceeding has been filed by the court reporter in the above matter. The parties have 7 calendar days to file with the Court a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction of this transcript. Within 21 days of the filing of the transcript, a Redaction Request - Transcript shall be e-filed with the Court. Access to this request will be restricted to the Court and attorneys of record in the case. If no such Notice and Redaction Request are filed, the transcript may be made remotely, electronically available to the public without redaction. Any party needing a copy of the transcript to review for redaction purposes may purchase a copy from the Court Reporter. Counsel are strongly urged to share this notice with all clients so that an informed decision about the inclusion of certain materials may be made. The responsibility for redacting these personal identifiers rests solely with counsel and the parties. The Clerk and Court Reporter will not review each transcript for compliance with this rule. Notice of Intent to Redact due 7/18/2023. Redaction Request due 8/1/2023. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 8/11/2023. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 10/10/2023. (db) (Entered: 07/11/2023)

July 11, 2023

July 11, 2023

PACER

Scheduling Conference AND ~Util - Terminate Motions

July 11, 2023

July 11, 2023

PACER
26

STATEMENT PLAINTIFFS' WITNESS LIST. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/12/2023)

July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023

PACER
27

AFFIDAVIT in Support re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction SUPPLEMENTAL AFFIDAVIT OF ROYSAENZ filed by Roy Saenz. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/13/2023)

July 13, 2023

July 13, 2023

PACER
28

AFFIDAVIT in Support re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction SUPPLEMNTAL AFFIDAVIT OF LAURA MCLELLAN filed by Roy Saenz. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit EXHIBIT TO MCLELLAN SUPPLEMENTAL AFFIDAVIT)(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/13/2023)

July 13, 2023

July 13, 2023

PACER
29

BRIEF in Support of 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION filed by Laura McLellan. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/13/2023)

July 13, 2023

July 13, 2023

PACER

Terminate Deadlines/Hearings

July 17, 2023

July 17, 2023

PACER

***Amended Pleadings Deadline terminated. (mlc)

July 17, 2023

July 17, 2023

PACER
30

NOTICE of Appearance by Shaw R Friedman on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Friedman, Shaw) (Entered: 07/17/2023)

July 17, 2023

July 17, 2023

PACER
31

Witness List/Exhibit List by Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County. (Nemeth, Stephanie) (Entered: 07/19/2023)

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

PACER
32

Witness List/Exhibit List by Lindsay Weaver. (Pope, Adrienne) (Entered: 07/19/2023)

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

PACER
33

RESPONSE to Motion re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction AND MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFFS' AMENDED COMPLAINT filed by Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Resolution R-2-C-2023, # 2 Exhibit B - Resolution R17-23, # 3 Exhibit C - Affidavit of Kortney Mullins)(Nemeth, Stephanie) (Entered: 07/19/2023)

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

PACER
34

MOTION to Dismiss AND DEFENDANT WEAVERS MOTION TO JOIN COUNTY DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION by Defendant Lindsay Weaver. (Pope, Adrienne) (Entered: 07/19/2023)

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

PACER
35

RESPONSE to Motion re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction DEFENDANT WEAVERS SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND MOTION TO DISMISS filed by Lindsay Weaver. (Pope, Adrienne) (Entered: 07/19/2023)

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

PACER
36

DOCKETED IN ERROR PER ATTORNEY - REPLY to Response to Motion re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Laura McLellan. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit DECLARATION OF LAURA MCLELLAN, # 2 Affidavit DECLARATION OF ROY SAENZ, # 3 Affidavit DECLARATION OF JULIE CALHOUN)(Hull, Kent) Modified on 7/24/2023 (kmt). (Entered: 07/21/2023)

July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023

PACER
37

REPLY to Response to Motion re 12 First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction CORRECTED PLAINTIFFS' REPLY BRIEF SUPPORTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION filed by Laura McLellan. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit DECLARATION OF LAURA MCLELLAN, # 2 Affidavit DECLARATION OF JULIE CALHOUN, # 3 Affidavit DECLARATION OF ROY SAENZ)(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/21/2023)

July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023

PACER
38

MOTION for Leave to Appear DEFENDANT WEAVERS MOTION FOR WITNESS TO APPEAR TELEPHONICALLY OR VIA ZOOM by Defendant Lindsay Weaver. (Pope, Adrienne) (Entered: 07/24/2023)

July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

PACER
39

RESPONSE to Motion re 38 MOTION for Leave to Appear DEFENDANT WEAVERS MOTION FOR WITNESS TO APPEAR TELEPHONICALLY OR VIA ZOOM filed by Laura McLellan. (Hull, Kent) (Entered: 07/24/2023)

July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

PACER
40

ORDER: The court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer before tomorrow's hearing to plan the efficient presentation of evidence. Signed by Judge Damon R Leichty on 7/24/2023. (dk) (Entered: 07/24/2023)

July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

PACER
41

ORDER: The court GRANTS Dr. Weaver's 38 motion to allow Brenda Buroker to appear via Zoom for the July 25 preliminary injunction hearing and ORDERS counsel to coordinate with the court's courtroom deputy today to facilitate the technology, given the lateness of the request. Signed by Judge Damon R Leichty on 7/24/2023. (dk) (Entered: 07/24/2023)

July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

PACER
42

NOTICE by Carl H. Baxmeyer, Mark Root, St. Joseph County of initiation of settlement discussions (Misch, Michael) (Entered: 07/24/2023)

July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

PACER
43

MOTION HEARING held on 7/25/2023 before Judge Damon R Leichty. Pla appeared by attys Friedman, Hull. Dft appeared by attys Misch, Pope re 12 First Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Parties appear and request time to discuss potential settlement. Settlement discussions commence. Parties place settlement terms on the record. Oral motion to dismiss Indiana Department of Health is GRANTED. Dismissal Papers to be filed by 8/29/2023. (Court Reporter D. Bonk.) (dk) (Entered: 07/25/2023)

July 25, 2023

July 25, 2023

PACER

Motion Hearing

July 25, 2023

July 25, 2023

PACER
44

Final STIPULATION to Dismiss by Plaintiff Julie Calhoun. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Tendered Order)(Hull, Kent) (Entered: 08/27/2023)

Aug. 27, 2023

Aug. 27, 2023

RECAP
45

ORDER: The court DISMISSES the case with prejudice and DENIES AS MOOT Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class (ECF 11 ), Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (ECF 12 ), and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF 34 ). Text-only order by Judge Damon R Leichty on 8/28/2023. (rmc) (Entered: 08/28/2023)

Aug. 28, 2023

Aug. 28, 2023

PACER

Order Dismissing Case

Aug. 28, 2023

Aug. 28, 2023

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Indiana

Case Type(s):

Mental Health (Facility)

Public Benefits/Government Services

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Disability Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 26, 2023

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Residents of Portage Manor or those who had involuntarily left Portage Manor, a facility operated by St. Joseph County to house and care for low-income individuals with disabilities.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

St. Joseph County Council (St. Joseph), County

Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health, State

St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners (St. Joseph), County

St. Joseph County (St. Joseph), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Hospital/Health Department

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

State law

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Equal Protection

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: $195,000

Issues

General/Misc.:

Poverty/homelessness

Disability and Disability Rights:

disability, unspecified

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Reasonable Modifications

Discrimination Area:

Disparate Treatment

Medical/Mental Health Care:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general