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Ramos v. Department of Correction

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 16, 2018

JOSE ERIC RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL. Defendants.

          RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         Jose Eric Ramos (“Plaintiff”) filed this lawsuit on October 2, 2015, 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. See generally Compl., ECF No. 1. Following a settlement conference, the parties voluntarily dismissed the case, with prejudice and without costs or fees. See Notice of Voluntary Dismissal, ECF No. 93. The Court subsequently dismissed the case. See Order Dismissing Case, ECF No. 94.

         Mr. Ramos now moves for a judgment on the pleadings “and/or” a motion to compel because he claims that Defendants breached the settlement agreement by requiring him to sign a W-9 form. Pl. Mot. at 1, ECF No. 96. He seeks compliance with the settlement agreement, and an additional $30, 000.

         For the reasons discussed below, the motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Mr. Ramos is currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut (“MacDougall-Walker”). See Amend. Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 76. Defendants include the current and former Commissioners of the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections (“DOC”), as well as the director of religious services for the department. Id. ¶¶ 4-7. Each defendant is sued in their individual and official capacity. Id. ¶ 8.

         A. Factual Allegations[1]

         Mr. Ramos alleges that he requested religious tarot cards from prison officials. Id. ¶ 9. He claims that the cards were shipped from a bookseller, but he was informed three months later that the cards were sent back to the bookseller because he had not filed out the proper forms. Id. ¶¶ 10, 14-15. Several months later, he ordered a second set of cards from Avanti Enterprises, Inc. Id. ¶ 17. He alleges that the Department of Corrections took money out of his inmate trust account, but he had not received the cards by the time he initiated the lawsuit. Id. ¶¶ 18-20

         B. Procedural History

         Mr. Ramos filed the initial Complaint in this lawsuit on October 2, 2015. He asserted claims under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, (“RLUIPA”) 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. See generally Compl.

         The Court dismissed all claims for monetary damages against the 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 at 7, ECF No. 9. The Court concluded, however, that the First Amendment free exercise claim, the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim and RLUIPA claim would proceed against the Commissioner of Correction and Reverend Bruno in their individual and official capacities. Id. The Court also noted that the U.S. Marshal could not serve the Commissioner, unless he was identified by name, id. at 8. Mr. Ramos subsequently identified the Commissioner as Leo C. Arnone, and the Clerk added Mr. Arnone as a defendant. See Notice, ECF No. 13; Order, ECF No. 16.

         Mr. Ramos then moved to amend the Complaint and filed two proposed supplemental complaints. See Mot. Leave Amend., ECF No. 22; Proposed Suppl. Compl., ECF No. 44; Second Proposed Suppl. Compl., ECF No. 48. He also filed two motions for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 44, 48. Defendants moved to dismiss. See Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 29.

         The Court granted leave to amend, but ordered that the supplemental complaints be removed from the docket because they added allegations unrelated to those raised in the initial Complaint. See Ruling on Motions to Amend, to Dismiss, for Summ. J. and Proposed Suppl. Compl. at 4, 12, ECF No. 71. The Court also denied both motions for summary judgment and the motion to dismiss, without prejudice to renewal after the filing of the Amended Complaint. Id. at 12-15.

         The Court also “warn[ed] Mr. Ramos that he has not been granted leave to add any of the new claims from his proposed supplemental complaint.” Id. at 15. The Court directed Mr. Ramos to file an amended complaint identifying himself as the plaintiff, Commissioner Arnone, Commissioner Dzurenda, Deputy Commissioner Scott Semple, and Reverend Bruno as defendants. It also instructed Mr. Ramos to “include the First Amendment free exercise and RLUIPA claims, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim as asserted in the complaint against Reverend Bruno and Commissioner Arnone and the deprivation of property claim and the free exercise of religion claim as asserted in the proposed amended complaint against ...


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