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Morgan v. Dzurenda

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 18, 2016

LLOYD GEORGE MORGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES E. DZURENDA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTIONS TO AMEND, MOTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, AND MOTION TO RECTIFY

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Lloyd George Morgan, Jr., initiated this action by filing a civil rights complaint against twenty-one officials or officers employed by the State of Connecticut Department of Correction. ECF No. 1. On September 29, 2015, the Court dismissed multiple claims in the Complaint as to all defendants and a prison transfer claim against defendants Semple and Lewis and concluded that the case should proceed as to the Eighth Amendment claims of deliberate indifference to safety and failure to protect from harm and the First Amendment retaliation claim as well as state law claims of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Initial Review Order, ECF No. 11.

         On September 29, 2015, the Court also denied in part and granted in part the defendants' motion to dismiss. See Ruling Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 53. On February 26, 2016, Defendants moved for an extension of time until April 1, 2016 to file their motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 73, which the Court granted on February 29, 2016, ECF No 74. Defendants then filed their motion for summary judgment on April 1, 2016. ECF No. 82

         Before the Court are several of Mr. Morgan's pending motions. Mr. Morgan moves to amend the complaint, ECF No. 88; ECF No. 91, for injunctive relief, ECF No. 90, for acknowledgement of his objection to a motion for extension of time filed by the Defendants, and to rectify docket entries by the Clerk, ECF No. 77 (objecting to Defendants' motion for extension of time to file summary judgment motion); ECF No. 92 (moving “to rectify” and moving to seek acknowledgment of his objection to Defendants' motion for extension of time). For the reasons set forth below, the motions to amend and the motion to acknowledge/rectify are DENIED in their entirety and the motion for injunctive relief and the objection to Defendants' motion for extension of time are DENIED as moot.

         I. Motion for Injunctive Relief, ECF No. 90

         In his motion for injunctive relief, referred to as a motion for intentional interference in the docket, Mr. Morgan claims that prison officials at Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”) are interfering with his legal mail and requests that the Court order the officials to cease interfering with his mail. ECF No. 90.

         Because Mr. Morgan has now been discharged from prison, his motion for injunctive relief is moot. “A case becomes moot when interim relief or events have eradicated the effects of the defendant's act or omission, and there is no reasonable expectation that the alleged violation will recur.” Van Wie v. Pataki, 267 F.3d 109, 113 (2d Cir. 2001); see also Martin-Trigona v. Shiff, 702 F.2d 380, 386 (2d Cir. 1983) (explaining that case or controversy is moot when “relief sought can no longer be given or is no longer needed”). Thus, an inmate's requests for injunctive and declaratory relief against correctional staff or conditions of confinement at a particular correctional institution become moot when the inmate is discharged or transferred to a different correctional institution. See Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 272 (2d Cir. 2011) (“In this circuit, an inmate's transfer from a prison facility generally moots claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against officials of that facility.”); see also Prins v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 504, 506 (2d Cir. 1996) (“It is settled in this Circuit that a transfer from a prison facility moots an action for injunctive relief against the transferring facility.”) (per curiam); Young v. Coughlin, 866 F.2d 567, 568 n.1 (2d Cir. 1989) (“Since Young is no longer incarcerated at Auburn, but was transferred to Attica Correctional Facility, his claim for declaratory and injunctive relief is moot.”). Moot claims must be dismissed. See N.Y. City Employees' Ret. Sys. v. Dole Food Co., 969 F.2d 1430, 1433 (2d Cir. 1992) (“A moot action therefore must be dismissed, even if the case was live at the outset but later events rendered it moot.”)

         Prison officials have discharged Mr. Morgan from prison. He now resides in New Haven, Connecticut. See ECF No. 102. Thus, he cannot obtain the injunctive relief he seeks with regards to conditions of confinement at Garner. To the extent that Mr. Morgan seeks injunctive relief, the request is denied as moot.

         Mr. Morgan's motion for injunctive relief also includes a request for appointment of counsel. See Motion at 1-2, ECF No. 102. A review of the motion for leave to amend and response to the Defendants' motion for summary judgment reflects that an attorney from the Inmates' Legal Aid Program is assisting Mr. Morgan in litigating this case. ECF No. 88; ECF No. 91; ECF No. 100. Accordingly, the motion is denied to the extent that it seeks the appointment of counsel. The motion to deter intentional interference is therefore denied in all respects, both as to the requested injunctive relief and as to the request for appointment of counsel.

         II. Motion to Rectify/Seeking Acknowledgement of Objection, ECF No. 92; Objection to Motion for Extension of Time, ECF No. 77

         On April 27, 2016, Mr. Morgan filed a motion seeking to draw the Court's attention, ECF No. 92, to the objection that he filed on March 15, 2016 to the Defendants' February 26, 2016 motion for extension of time, ECF No. 77. The Court had already, on February 29, 2016, granted the defendants' motion for extension of time until April 1, 2016 to file a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 74. Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on April 1, 2016. ECF No. 82.

         The Clerk of the Court had docketed Mr. Morgan's March 15, 2016 motion objecting to the Defendants' request for an extension of time as two separate motions: the objection to the motion for extension of time, ECF No. 77, and a motion for relief from judgment because the motion also contained a separate request for appointment of counsel and allegations that the Court was biased against him and had not been fair in denying previous requests for appointment of counsel, ECF No. 78. On April 21, 2016, the Court denied the motion, ECF No. 78, seeking relief from judgment and Mr. Morgan's request for appointment of counsel. See ECF No. 89.

         The objection to the motion for extension of time, ECF No. 77, is now denied as moot. As explained above, when a motion or claim seeks relief that “can no longer be given or is no longer needed, ” the claim is moot. See Martin-Trigona, 702 F.2d at 386. As Defendants have already filed their motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 82, the objection to the motion for extension of time to file that motion for summary judgment is necessarily moot. To the extent that Mr. Morgan's motion to rectify, ECF No 92, seeks to direct the Court's attention to the objection to the motion for extension of time, it is denied as moot.

         Mr. Morgan's motion to rectify also contends that members of the Clerk's office staff are not docketing his many motions properly and asks the Court to rectify these alleged errors. ECF No. 92. Mr. Morgan claims that staff members are not reading his motions thoroughly, are biased and are “just intentionally denying mostly any and all the plaintiff motion possibly because the plaintiff is poorly trained and not properly educated at law and have sloppy handwriting.” Mot. Rectify at 2, ECF No. 92. There is no evidence of improper docketing or bias on the part of the Clerk's office staff. Furthermore, members of the Clerk's office staff have not ruled on Mr. Morgan's motions. Instead, the Court has done so.

         Mr. Morgan also complains that he is confused by docket entries, such as ECF No. 89, that reference a ruling addressing multiple motions filed by him. When a ruling addresses multiple motions, the docket entry reflects the disposition of each motion. If the plaintiff in the case is an inmate, a member of the Clerk's office staff e-mails the docket entry, or the Notice of Electronic Filing, to the inmate at his or her place of confinement on file with the Court under the Standing Order on Prisoner Electronic Filing Program. See ECF No. 46. A member of the Clerk's office staff also mails a copy of the ruling disposing of the motions to the inmate. The docket reflects that a docket clerk mailed a copy of the ruling addressing various motions, ECF No. 89, to Mr. Morgan on April 25, 2016. Accordingly, Mr. ...


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