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Ja-Qure Al-Bukhari v. Department of Correction

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 23, 2018

JA-QURE AL-BUKHARI, also known as JEROME RIDDICK, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge.

         On July 17, 2016, Ja Qure Al-Bukhari a/k/a Jerome Riddick, a Connecticut Department of Correction inmate, filed a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several officials of the Connecticut Department of Correction for violating his right to freely exercise his religion under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, by denying him access to particular religious books. I issued an Initial Review Order on May 17, 2017 permitting his First Amendment and RLUIPA claims to proceed against the individual defendants. Initial Review Order, Doc. No. 24. The defendants answered the complaint on August 21, 2017. Answer, Doc. No. 38.

         On January 4, 2017, Al-Bukhari filed an “Emergency Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order, ” Doc. No. 12, requesting that I order the defendant to (1) remove his leg shackles while he showers, (2) permit water in his cell to run for five minutes at a time to accommodate ritual washing, and (3) permit him to purchase Halal items from the commissary. After reviewing the arguments from both parties, I denied the motion for preliminary injunctive relief because Al-Bukhari did not establish a substantial likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of such relief. Ruling on Emergency Mot. for TRO, Doc. No. 17. Al-Bukhari filed an interlocutory appeal, which the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected. Mandate, Doc. No. 50.

         The following motions are currently pending in this case: (1) Motions for Preliminary Injunctive Relief, Doc. Nos. 39, 40, 44; (2) Motion to Appoint Counsel, Doc. No. 41; (3) Motion to Compel Answer, Doc. No. 43; (4) Motion for Extension of Time to Conduct Discovery, Doc. No. 45; (5) Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply to Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief, Doc. No. 47; and (6) Motion to Amend/Correct the Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 49.

         A. Motions for Preliminary Injunctive Relief (Doc. Nos. 39, 40, 44)

         Al-Bukhari has filed three “Emergency Motion[s] for Order[s] to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order[s]” against the defendants. Doc. Nos. 39, 40, 44. The first two motions (Doc. Nos. 39, 40) seek orders requiring the defendants to restore Al-Bukhari's telephone privileges, the loss of which is allegedly depriving Al-Bukhari of his ability to contact attorneys in Connecticut's Inmate Legal Aid Program (“ILAP”) for assistance with his pending federal cases. The third motion (Doc. No. 44) seeks an order requiring the defendants to provide Al-Bukhari with his legal books, materials, and case files, which Al-Bukhari claims the defendants are withholding. The defendants have not yet submitted responses to those motions. Thus, I direct the defendants to file written responses to those three motions within twenty-one (21) days of the date of this order.

         B. Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. No. 41)

         On March 16, 2018, Al-Bukhari filed a motion for the appointment of counsel to represent him in the instant case and in several other cases currently pending in this court. Mot. for Pro Bono Appointment of Counsel, Doc. No. 41. In the case caption of that motion, Al-Bukhari includes the name of this case and the case numbers of six other cases. The listed cases are at different procedural stages. The procedural posture of a case influences whether appointment of counsel is appropriate. See Holmes v. New York City Dep't of City Wide Admin. Servs., 2015 WL 1958941, at *1 n.3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 30, 2015) (noting that court considered procedural posture of case and standard governing appointment of counsel in denying request). Therefore, Al-Bukhari's motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. No. 41) is DENIED without prejudice to refiling with an explanation why appointment of counsel is warranted in this particular case.

         C. Motion to Compel (Doc. No. 43)

         On April 2, 2018, Al-Bukhari filed a motion to compel the defendants to send him a copy of their answer to the complaint. Mot. to Compel, Doc. No. 43. Although the defendants certified that their answer “was filed electronically [and served by mail on anyone unable to accept electronic filing];” Answer at 5; Al-Bukhari claims that he never received a copy of the answer. Al-Bukhari's motion (Doc. No. 43) is DENIED, but the Clerk is ordered to mail one copy of the defendant's answer (Doc. No. 38) to Al-Bukhari at his current address.

         D. Motions for Extension of Time (Doc. Nos. 45, 47)

         With respect to his first motion for extension of time (Doc. No. 45), Al-Bukhari seeks an extension of time until January 8, 2019 to conduct necessary discovery. In the motion, however, Al-Bukhari does not explain why the nine-month extension he seeks is warranted in this particular case; again he included three other of his cases in the case caption. Therefore, his motion for extension of time to conduct discovery (Doc. No. 45) is DENIED without prejudice to refiling with an explanation why an extension is warranted in this particular case.

         With respect to his second motion for extension of time (Doc. No. 47), Al-Bukhari seeks an extension of time to reply to the defendants' opposition to his motion for injunctive relief. (Doc. No. 40). The defendants, however, have not yet responded to Al-Bukhari's motion in this particular case. Therefore, the second motion for extension of time (Doc. No. 47) is DENIED without prejudice.

         E. Motion to Amend/Correct ...


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