United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER RE: MOTION FOR ORDER (DOC. NO. 779).
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Lawrence Dressler (“Dressler”), moves this court
pro se for an Order requiring his former counsel in
this criminal matter to “release the complete file
pertaining to this case.” Motion for Order (Doc. No.
779) ¶ 2. Dressler's former counsel, Attorney Eugene
Riccio (“Riccio”), refused to release the full
file. He did so based on an agreement with the United States
Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut, that
certain documents would be produced to Attorney Riccio only
with the understanding they would not be further
disseminated. See Counsel's Memorandum in
Response to Defendant's Motion for Order (“Riccio
Response”) (Doc. No. 780) at 1-2. Dressler initiated a
malpractice suit against Attorney Riccio in Connecticut
Superior Court, see Dressler v. Riccio, Conn.
Super., NNH-CV17-6072589-S,  and seeks the release of his file
in connection with that suit, as well as to assist him in
reapplying to the Connecticut Bar and gaining employment,
see Motion for Order ¶ 9.
Government argues that this court lacks jurisdiction to order
the release of Dressler's criminal file, and that the
Connecticut court presiding over the ongoing state civil
litigation is the proper venue for determination of such a
question. See Government's Response to Motion
and Order (Doc. No. 785) (“USA First Response”)
3-4; Government's Response to Motion and Order (Doc. No.
788) (USA Second Response) at 1-2. Dressler argues that the
court has ancillary jurisdiction to Order the release of his
criminal file. See Dressler Response to
Government's Response (Doc. No. 789) (“Dressler
Reply”) ¶ 1.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and “parties
cannot confer subject matter jurisdiction where the
Constitution and Congress have not.” Doe v. United
States, 833 F.3d 192, 196 (2d Cir. 2016). While
“‘[t]he boundaries of ancillary jurisdiction are
not easily defined and the cases addressing it are hardly a
model of clarity' . . . ‘[a]t its heart, ancillary
jurisdiction is aimed at enabling a court to administer
justice within the scope of its
jurisdiction.'” Id. at 197 (quoting
Garcia v. Teitler, 443 F.3d 202, 208 (2d Cir. 2006)
(emphasis in original).
cites to Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am.,
511 U.S. 375, 378- 79 (1994), in support of his argument that
this court has ancillary jurisdiction over his Motion.
See Dressler Reply ¶ 1. Kokkonen does
not support his argument. In Kokkonen, the Supreme
Court noted that ancillary jurisdiction is generally asserted
“for two separate, though sometimes related, purposes:
(1) to permit disposition by a single court of claims that
are, in varying respects and degrees, factually
interdependent; and (2) to enable a court to function
successfully, that is, to manage its proceedings, vindicate
its authority, and effectuate its decrees.”
Id. at 379-80 (citations omitted).
of the purposes noted in Kokkonen would be served by
this court ordering the release of Dressler's criminal
file. As to the first purpose, though Dressler's Motion
may “depend[ ] in part on facts developed in [the]
prior criminal proceeding, ” as in Doe, this
court “fail[s] to see how these two analytically and
temporally distinct proceedings can be described as
‘factually interdependent.'” Doe,
833 F.3d at 198. As to the second purpose, while
Dressler's former counsel and the government entered into
the now-contested agreement limiting disclosure of
Dressler's criminal file during the criminal proceedings
in this court, the agreement was a private matter between the
parties. Nothing in the docket of the criminal matter
indicates that the court had any role in negotiating,
approving, effectuating, or otherwise enforcing the agreement
between the government and Attorney Riccio. Intervening to
resolve what is essentially a private dispute between
Dressler and his former counsel has no bearing on this
court's ability to function, to manage proceedings, or to
effectuate its decrees. “[T]he power asked for here is
quite remote from what courts require in order to perform
their functions.” Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 380.
Indeed, the criminal matter having long since concluded,
there is nothing left for this court to manage, vindicate, or
effectuate. See Doe, 833 F.3d at 198 (holding that
where district court's sentence “had long ago
concluded and its decrees long since expired, ”
ancillary jurisdiction to expunge a criminal record did not
serve any of the goals identified in Kokkonen's
court does not have ancillary jurisdiction over
Dressler's Motion for an Order compelling disclosure of
his criminal file. Dressler's Motion for Order (Doc. No.
779) is therefore dismissed for lack of
 The full docket for the Connecticut
Superior Court proceedings is available at
The court takes ...