United States District Court, D. Connecticut
LASHAWN W. DISMUKE, Plaintiff,
C/S LONG, ET AL., Defendants.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge.
plaintiff, LaShawn Dismuke, incarcerated and pro se,
initiated this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Commissioner Scott Semple,
Counselor Supervisor Long, Captain Colon, Warden
Maldinado and Kevin Roy. On December 20, 2016, the
Court dismissed the claims for monetary damages against all
defendants in their official capacities pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(2), the First Amendment and Fifth Amendment
claims against all defendants in both capacities pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), and the Fourteenth Amendment
and Eighth Amendment claims against defendants Roy and Semple
in both capacities pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
The case proceeded as to the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment
claims against defendants Long, Colon, and Maldinado in their
individual capacities with respect to damages and their
official capacities with respect to declaratory and
following motions are pending before the Court: (i)
Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No.
16), (ii) Plaintiff's motion for extension of time to
conduct discovery (ECF No. 18), (iii) Defendants' second
motion for extension of time to respond to the complaint (ECF
No. 20) and the supplemental statement in support of the
second motion for extension of time (ECF No. 23), (iv)
Plaintiff's “motion for extension nunc pro
tunc” (ECF No. 21), (v) Plaintiff's motion for
discovery, disclosure, and inspection (ECF No. 22), (vi)
Defendants' motion to dismiss, and (vii) Plaintiff's
motion to amend the complaint (ECF No. 27). As explained
below, the Court hereby GRANTS the  second motion for
extension of time and DENIES the remaining motions.
Defendants' Motions for Extension of Time to Respond to
Complaint [ECF Nos. 20, 23]
their second motion for extension of time (ECF No. 20) to
respond to the complaint, defendants seek an extension of
time until April 5, 2017, to file a response to the
complaint. Defendants also filed, as a motion, a
“Supplemental Statement” in support of the second
motion for extension of time. (ECF No. 23.) That statement
indicates that on March 21, 2017, defense counsel conferred
with the Plaintiff regarding the Defendants' second
motion for extension of time, and the Plaintiff consented to
the motion. (ECF No. 23 at 1.) The (ECF No. 20) second motion
for extension of time is granted absent objection and for
good cause shown. Because the (ECF No. 23) supplemental
statement in support of the second motion for extension of
time seeks no relief, it was improperly filed as a motion for
extension of time. Accordingly, it is denied.
Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel [ECF No.
Plaintiff as a civil litigant does not have a constitutional
right to the appointment of counsel. See Hodge v. Police
Officers, 802 F.2d 58, 60 (2d Cir. 1986) (district
judges are afforded “broad discretion” in
determining whether to appoint pro bono counsel for
an indigent (D. Conn.), Castellano v. Murphy, et.
al., 10-cv-794 (D. Conn.). litigant in a civil case); 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (“The court may
request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford
counsel.”) (emphasis added). The Second Circuit has
made clear that before an appointment is even considered in a
civil action, the indigent person must demonstrate that he or
she is unable to obtain counsel or legal assistance. See
Hodge, 802 F.2d at 61.
Plaintiff claims that he is not an attorney and cannot afford
the services of an attorney. (ECF No. 16 at 1.) He contends
that as a non-lawyer, he cannot meet deadlines or effectively
litigate this case. (Id.) He has made no attempts to
secure the assistance of counsel prior to filing this motion.
Furthermore, the Plaintiff does not indicate that he made any
attempts to contact the Inmate Legal Aid
Program with regard to any questions he might have
about litigating this case, including how to conduct
discovery. Because there is a possibility that the Plaintiff
may be able to secure legal assistance or representation
independently, the motion for appointment of counsel is
denied by the Court at this time. See Hodge, 802
F.2d at 61.
Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time to Conduct
Discovery [ECF No. 18]
Plaintiff seeks an extension of time to begin conducting
discovery until the Court rules on his motion for appointment
of counsel. He claims that he is unable to “facilitate
proper discovery or to cite to legal precedents(s), due in
part, to Osborn Correctional Institution not providing access
to law library materials.” (ECF No. 18 at 1-2.) The
Court has now ruled on the Plaintiff's motion for
appointment of counsel and has noted that the Plaintiff may
seek assistance from the Inmate Legal Aid Program to the
extent that he has questions regarding how to conduct
Court liberally construes the motion as a request to extend
the time period to conduct discovery. The motion is granted.
The discovery deadline is extended for an additional ninety
days from the date of this order, i.e., until November 8,
Plaintiff's “Motion for Extension Nunc Pro
Tunc” [ECF No. 21]
Plaintiff states that on January 16, 2017, he submitted a
Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to
the Department of Correction and a FOIA request to the
Department of Public Health. (ECF No. 21 at 1.) On January 19,
2017, the Department of Correction's FOIA liaison
responded to the Plaintiff's requests and indicated that
he would be hearing from the FOIA office in the near future.
(ECF No. 21-1 at 3.) The Plaintiff seeks an extension of time
in order to receive the materials he requested pursuant to
his FOIA requests. (ECF No. 21 at 2.) The process of
obtaining documents through FOIA requests is independent of
the discovery process and this litigation. In any event, in
the prior section of this ruling, the Court is extending the
discovery period to November 8, 2017. Therefore, this motion
Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery, Disclosure and