United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
Riddick, currently confined in a Connecticut Department of
Correction facility, filed a complaint pro se
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Riddick alleges that the
defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his medical
needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. I issued my
Initial Review Order on December 22, 2016, permitting
Riddick's claim to proceed against all defendants, Doc.
No. 9, and the defendants answered the complaint on May 1,
2017, Doc. No. 45. From the defendants' tardy filing of
an answer to the original complaint to the present, progress
in litigating this case has been slow. The delays appear to
have been due to factors including Riddick's filing of
numerous motions that are not suitable for motion practice in
this action, and internal personnel matters at the
Connecticut Attorney General's Office. My earlier order
at doc. no. 95 has provided some guidelines for Riddick
regarding motion practice and future filings. In this ruling,
I rule on any currently outstanding motions. The defendants
have also filed a motion to withdraw the attorney formerly
responsible for this case, Doc. No. 98, which I hereby grant.
Defendants' new counsel has timely managed litigation of
this case since her appointment in January of this year, and
I expect she will continue to do so moving forward. In light
of prior delays, this ruling sets a new discovery deadline of
January 8, 2019, and a deadline for dispositive motions of
February 8, 2019. Absent extraordinary circumstances, further
extensions are unlikely to be granted.
Riddick's Motion for a Gag Order (Doc. No. 65)
support of his motion for a gag order, Riddick asserts that
the defendants are permitting non-clinical staff to be
present during discussions of his medical issues, in
violation of his right to medical privacy. To the extent that
Riddick's grievance is legitimate, a gag order in this
case is not his appropriate remedy.
order is typically issued by a court prior to trial to
prevent possible tainting of the prospective jury pool.
See, e.g., Coggins v. County of Nassau,
2014 WL 495646, *1 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 6, 2014). Because a gag
order is essentially a limitation on speech, the party
seeking the order must show that good cause exists to limit
the dissemination of covered information. See Schoolcraft
v. City of New York, 2013 WL 4534913, *3 (S.D.N.Y. Aug.
27, 2013) (“[I]t is the burden of the party seeking the
order to show that good cause exists for issuance of the
case, Riddick has not stated sufficient grounds for the
issuance of a gag order. It is unclear at this stage of the
litigation whether Riddick's case will proceed to trial,
and, thus, Riddick has not shown any danger of potential jury
tainting or has he shown that the defendants are sharing
information about his case with members of the public. If he
is seeking the gag order for a purpose other than the
preservation of a fair trial in this case-for example,
because he believes that the defendants or other individuals
are violating applicable laws by improperly divulging his
medical information-he may pursue such a claim by filing a
complaint for such violations in a separate action.
Riddick's motion for a gag order in this case (Doc. No.
65), is DENIED.
Riddick's Requests for Orders to Show Cause,
Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary Injunctions
(Doc. Nos. 66, 74, 76, 81, 82, 88)
has filed numerous motions requesting injunctive relief that
are not appropriately the subject of equitable relief at this
stage of the proceedings in this action. In my order at doc.
no. 95, I explained that requests for injunctive relief must
relate to the underlying claims in this action. I have also,
in an order at doc. no. 53, denied a prior request from
Riddick for a TRO related to the underlying remedies
requested in this action, because Riddick has failed to
demonstrate the threshold likelihood of success on the
merits. The Second Circuit recently affirmed my decision on
the issue. Doc. No. 99. Finally, to the extent a motion for
equitable relief seeks to obtain discovery on an underlying
claim, Riddick must satisfy the standards for motions to
compel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a) and
Local Rule 37(a).
No. 66, Riddick has sought an “Emergency Order to Show
Cause and TRO” requesting an order for the defendants
to produce to him a copy of his medical records. Despite its
title, the motion best appears to be an attempt to compel
discovery. On its merits, Riddick's request should be
denied due to its failure to comply with the standards for
motions to compel. I have previously denied an earlier
attempt by Riddick to compel discovery for the same reason.
See Doc. No. 31. Moreover, Riddick's request
appears to be moot because defendants have indicated that
they have provided to Riddick his medical file. To the extent
that is not the case, Riddick should first seek resolution of
the issue pursuant to the informal procedures set out for
discovery in the federal and local rules, and may then, if
necessary, file a motion to compel that complies with the
applicable rules. Riddick's request (Doc. No. 66) is
Nos. 74 and 88, which were both cross-filed in numerous of
his cases, Riddick has sought to be provided with certain
electronic filing receipts, and to have returned to him his
legal books and materials. These requests do not relate to
the underlying claims in this case and are thus not the
appropriate subject of injunctive relief in this case.
Moreover, in filings in other cases, Riddick has indicated
that his legal materials have already been returned to him,
and that at least some filing receipts have likewise been
provided to him. To the extent Riddick requires additional
information regarding the administration of this case, he may
seek such information in compliance with my order at doc. no.
95. Riddick's requests (Doc. Nos. 74, 88) are
no. 76, Riddick seeks an order requiring defendants to repair
or replace his eyeglasses. As a preliminary matter, the
defendants' opposition to Riddick's request at doc.
no. 79 indicates that Riddick's eyeglasses were repaired,
and Riddick has not yet objected to that fact, so
Riddick's request may be moot. Moreover, to the extent
Riddick's request that I enjoin the defendants to repair
his eyeglasses pertains to the relief sought in his
underlying Eighth Amendment claims, I have already denied
Riddick preliminary injunctive relief on such claims. To the
extent Riddick's request is not related to the underlying
relief sought in his complaint, it is not an appropriate
subject for equitable relief in this case. Riddick's
request (Doc. No. 76) is DENIED as moot.
nos. 81 and 82, Riddick seeks to prevent defendants from
limiting his ability to communicate with Inmates' Legal
Aid Program personnel. As outlined in my order at doc. no.
95, such requests are not an appropriate topic of a request
for injunctive relief, because they do not relate to the
claims raised in the underlying complaint in this case.
Accordingly, Doc. Nos. 81 and 82 are DENIED.
Because Al-Bukhari's motion at doc. no. 82 is denied, his
motion for an extension of time to respond to the
defendants' opposition to such motion (Doc. No. 97) is
DENIED as moot.
Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. No. 83)
no. 83, Riddick has filed a motion to appoint counsel. That
motion was cross-filed in multiple of his cases and does not
properly explain why counsel would be merited in this
specific case. Civil litigants have no constitutional right
to appointment of counsel, Parks v. Smith, 505
Fed.Appx. 42, 43 (2d Cir. 2012) (citing Cooper v. A.
Sargenti Co., 877 F.2d 170, 172-74 (2d Cir. 1989)), and
the Second Circuit repeatedly has cautioned the district
courts against the routine appointment of counsel, see,
e.g., Ferrelli v. River Manor Health Care
Center, 323 F.3d 196, 204 (2d Cir. 2003). I have
previously denied a motion by Riddick to have counsel
appointed in this case, Doc. No. 56, because I did not think
that Riddick had established that this case passed ...