United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jose Eric Ramos, is currently confined at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut
(“MacDougall-Walker”). He initiated this action
by filing a civil rights complaint asserting claims under the
First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as under the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,
(“RLUIPA”), and 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et
seq. against the Department of Correction, Reverend
Bruno, Counselor Arcouette, and John Doe Commissioner of the
Department of Correction. Compl., ECF No. 1.
February 24, 2016, the Court dismissed all claims for
monetary damages against Defendants in their official
capacities under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2) and all other
claims against the Department of Correction and Counselor
Arcouette under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). See
Initial Review Order, ECF No. 9. The Court concluded that Mr.
Ramos's First Amendment free exercise claim, his
Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim, and his RLUIPA
claim would proceed against the Commissioner of Correction
and Reverend Bruno in their individual and official
capacities. Id. at 7.
Ramos has filed two motions for an order directing Defendants
to answer the complaint, a motion to accept and preserve
discovery, three motions for default, two motions for
production of documents, a motion to appoint counsel, and a
motion to disqualify Defendants' counsel. For the reasons
set forth below, all of the motions are DENIED, with the
exception of the motion to appoint counsel, which is GRANTED
for the limited purpose of providing Mr. Ramos appointed
counsel at the upcoming settlement conference.
Motion for Response to Service [ECF No. 21]
motion dated April 14, 2016, Mr. Ramos asks the Court to
order Defendants to respond to the complaint. Defendants
filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on June 9, 2016.
Accordingly, Mr. Ramos's motion is denied as moot.
Motion for Court to Accept and Preserve Discovery [ECF No.
another motion docketed on April 26, 2016, Mr. Ramos asks the
Court to accept and preserve the documents attached to his
motion as discovery documents. By attaching the documents to
the motion, the documents have, in effect, been accepted by
and filed with the Court. Thus, the motion is denied to the
extent that it seeks an order that his documents be accepted.
support of his request that the Court preserve the documents,
he claims that he “has had issues in the past with
legal papers being stolen by Correction Officers.”
Mot., ECF No. 23, 1. At the time of the filing of the motion,
Mr. Ramos was confined at Corrigan-Radgwoski Correctional
Institution (“Corrigan”). Mr. Ramos adds that he
did not have problems with theft at Corrigan, but filed the
motion “out of precaution in the event that [he] be
transferred.” Id. at 1. Mr. Ramos is currently
confined at MacDougall-Walker. He did not mention any
problems with officers at MacDougall-Walker in his motion.
Court notes that the documents attached to the motion have
been submitted as attachments to motions and pleadings that
have been filed with the Court since the filing of the motion
to accept and preserve. See ECF Nos. 26, 36, 44.
Thus, they are now preserved as part of the Court record.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that the documents and
exhibits have been or will be destroyed by prison officials
at MacDougall-Walker. For the reasons set forth above, the
motion to preserve and accept discovery is denied in all
Motion for Default [ECF No. 33]
motion docketed on June 17, 2016, Mr. Ramos claims that
Defendants are in default for failure to respond to the
complaint. See Mot. for Default entry 55(a), ECF No.
33. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on June 9, 2016.
See Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 29. Because Defendants
are not in default for failure to plead, the motion is
denied. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55 (a) (allowing for
default “when a party against whom a judgment for
affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise
Ramos also claims that, on an unidentified date, he served
interrogatories and a request for production of documents on
counsel for Defendants. Mot. for Default, 1. On June 1, 2016,
counsel for Defendants indicated that he would need an
extension of time to respond to the discovery requests.
Id. at 2. Mr. Ramos agreed to the extension of time.
On June 8, 2016, counsel for Defendants served objections to
the interrogatories and request for production of documents
on Mr. Ramos. Id. Mr. Ramos claims that counsel
breached a verbal agreement to respond to the discovery
requests and not to object to the requests. Id.
docket reflects no extension of time to respond to discovery
requests having been filed by Defendants. Furthermore,
counsel for Defendants did not violate Rules 33 and 34 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by objecting to the
interrogatories and request for production of documents.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2)-(4); 34(b)(2)(A)-(C).
Accordingly, the motion for default is denied to the ...