January 25, 2015 Practice Points

Third Circuit Holds That Rule 23(B)(2) Classes Do Not Have To Be Ascertainable

Ascertainability is not a requirement for certification of a Rule 23(b)(2) class seeking only injunctive and declaratory relief

by David Garner

In a case of first impression in the Third Circuit, the court in Shelton v. Bledsoe, No. 12-4226 (3rd Cir. January 7, 2015), held that ascertainability is not a requirement for certification of a Rule 23(b)(2) class seeking only injunctive and declaratory relief.

The ruling arises from a suit by Norman Shelton, an inmate within the Special Management Unit (SMU) of the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Shelton sued prison officials for alleged Eighth Amendment violations arising from defendants’ alleged practice of placing inmates in cells with other inmates known to be hostile to them and failing to protect such inmates from inmate-on-inmate violence. 

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