United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge
Wright has filed motions for class certification and
appointment of class counsel. He also seeks a temporary
restraining order or preliminary injunction. For the reasons
that follow, Wright's motions are denied.
Motion for Class Certification
commenced this action by complaint signed by him and
thirty-eight other inmates. Only Wright submitted a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. When no other inmate
submitted a motion to proceed in forma pauperis
after being notified of their obligation to do so, the
thirty-eight inmates were dismissed as plaintiffs.
See Doc. #52.
moves for class certification. Class certification is
governed by Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Specifically, Rule 23(a) identifies four prerequisites which
must be met before a class action can be certified.
One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as
representatives parties on behalf of all only if (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.
party seeking to certify a class bears the burden of
demonstrating that the requirements of Rule 23 have been met.
See Eisen v. Carlisle & Jacquelin, 417 U.S. 156,
177-78 (1974). In addition, the Second Circuit has held that
class certification is properly denied where the prospective
relief requested would benefit all members of the proposed
class to the extent that class certification would provide no
additional benefit. See Davis v. Smith, 607 F.2d
535, 540 (2d Cir. 1978). For example, class certification
would not be necessary in an action seeking declaratory and
injunctive relief against state officials on the ground that
a statute or administrative practice is unconstitutional.
Correction of the practice would benefit all inmates, not
just the plaintiff. See Galvan v. Levine, 490 F.2d
1255, 1261 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 417 U.S.
pro se litigant, Wright can only represent himself.
He cannot adequately represent a class of prisoners. See
Nieblas-Love v. New York City Housing Auth.,
___F.Supp.3d ___, 2016 WL 796845, at * 13 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26,
2016) (denying motion for class certification because pro
se litigant cannot adequately represent class).
Accordingly, the request for class certification is denied. I
also note that Wright seeks declaratory and injunctive relief
challenging a practice within the Department of Correction.
Should he prevail in this action, any relief afforded him
would also be applied to other inmates in the same situation.
Thus, class certification is not warranted.
Motion for Appointment of Class Counsel
seeks appointment of class counsel in this action pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(g) and 28 U.S.C. §
23(g)(1) provides: “Unless a statute provides
otherwise, a court that certifies a class must appoint class
counsel.” The criteria to be considered by the court
show that the rule contemplates appointment of class counsel
from among the lawyers representing the members of the class
after the class is certified. Because the rule makes no
provision for appointment of counsel before a class is
certified, Rule 23(g)(1) provides no authority for
appointment of counsel in this circumstance. See Ayazi v.
New York City Bd. of Educ., 2010 WL 4789403, at *2
(E.D.N.Y. Nov. 17, 2010).
1915(e)(1) is intended to guarantee that indigent litigants
can meaningfully access the courts. “[T]he purpose of
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (1) . . . does not require
appointing counsel solely to permit plaintiff's case to
proceed in the form of a class action.” See
Ayazi, 2010 WL 4789403, at *2. Because Wright filed this
motion to obtain appointment of class counsel, the motion for
appointment of counsel is denied.
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary
motion for temporary restraining order or preliminary
injunction is written in general terms with no references to
him or any actions taken against him. In his supporting
affidavit, Wright ...