Al-Bukhari v. Semple et al
ORDER granting 10 Motion to Dissolve Stay; denying as moot 11 Motion to Expedite IRO; granting 14 Motion for Copy(s); denying 15 Motion for Class Action Certification. Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 5/16/2017. (Landman, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JA QURE AL-BUKHARI,
SCOTT SEMPLE, et al.,
No. 3:16-cv-1428 (SRU)
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
Ja Qure Al-Bukhari, proceeds pro se in this civil rights action. On October 27, 2016, I
issued an order staying this action to permit the parties in this and other cases filed by Al-Bukhari
that have also been stayed to attempt to settle all of the stayed actions. Al-Bukhari has filed a
motion to lift the stay, a motion for a copy of the complaint, a motion for an initial review order,
and a motion seeking an order certifying this case as a class action. For the reasons set forth below,
the motion to lift the stay is granted, the motion for copy is granted, and the remaining two motions
Motion for Copy [ECF No. 14]
Al-Bukhari states that his copy of the complaint became lost or damaged in early January
2017. The fact that the court previously granted Al-Bukhari permission to proceed in forma
pauperis does not automatically entitle him to free copies of documents or rulings. See In re
Richard, 914 F.2d 1526, 1527 (6th Cir. 1990) (28 U.S.C. § 1915 “does not give the [prisoner]
litigant a right to have documents copied and returned to him at government expense”); Collins v.
Goord, 438 F. Supp. 2d 399, 416 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (“inmate[s] ha[ve] no constitutional right to free
[photo]copies”). Still, receipt of the complaint should facilitate the efficient resolution of this case.
Accordingly, the Clerk shall mail Al-Bukhari a copy of his complaint.
Motion for Class Action Status and Certification [ECF No. 15]
Al-Bukhari claims that this action involves a claim regarding the use of restraints on
mentally-ill inmates. He contends that he has met the standard for class action status.
Courts have held consistently that inmates do not have standing to sue on behalf of fellow
prisoners or other persons. See Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 114 (1976) (“Ordinarily, one may
not claim standing in this Court to vindicate the constitutional rights of some third party.” (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted)); McCall v. Pataki, 232 F.3d 321, 322 (2d Cir. 2000) (“A
pro se litigant . . . is not empowered to proceed on behalf of anyone other than himself.” (citations
omitted)); Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe of Indians v. Weicker, 39 F.3d 51, 58 (2d Cir. 1994)
(standing requires that plaintiff assert “its own legal rights, and not those of third parties”); Swift v.
Tweddell, 582 F. Supp. 2d 437, 449 (W.D.N.Y. 2008) (holding inmate “lack[s] standing . . . to
assert claims on other inmates’ behalf” (citation omitted)). Furthermore, although a litigant in
federal court has a right to act as his own counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1654, a non-attorney has
no authority to appear as an attorney for others. See United States ex rel. Mergent Servs. v.
Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89, 92 (2d Cir. 2008) (“[A]n individual who is not licensed as an attorney may
not appear on another person’s behalf in the other’s cause.” (internal quotation omitted)).
Al-Bukhari is not represented by counsel in this action. In addition, the attorney who had
been appointed as pro bono counsel in the lead case of three consolidated actions filed by AlBukhari, Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU), has withdrawn as counsel for
Al-Bukhari. As a pro se litigant, Al-Bukhari cannot assert claims on behalf of anyone other than
Rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure identifies four prerequisites that must be
met before a class action can be certified. One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as
representative parties on behalf of all members only if:
the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or
defenses of the class; and
the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the
Rule 23(a), Fed. R. Civ. P. The party seeking to certify a class bears the burden of demonstrating
that the requirements of Rule 23 have been met. See Eisen v. Carlisle & Jacquelin, 417 U.S. 156
A pro se party may not represent the interests of a class. See Barnes v. Ross, 926 F. Supp.
2d 499, 505 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (“inmate who [was] not an attorney [failed to] demonstrate that he
[was] an adequate class representative” and as “[a] pro se litigant” the inmate was “not empowered
to proceed on behalf of anyone other than himself.” (citation omitted)); Jolley v. Correctional
Managed Health Care, No. 3:04-cv-1582 (RNC), 2007 WL 2889469, at *1 (Sept. 27, 2007) (pro se
litigants are not permitted to represent the interests of other class members). Because Al-Bukhari is
not an attorney and cannot assert claims on behalf of anyone other than himself, he has not
demonstrated that he is an adequate class representative. Furthermore, he has not demonstrated that
the class is so numerous that joinder of the all the members is not practicable. I decline to certify
this as a class action because Al-Bukhari has not met all of the prerequisites of Rule 23. The
motion for class action status and certification is denied.
Motion to Dissolve the Stay [ECF No. 10]
Motion to Expedite Initial Review Order [ECF No. 11]
Al-Bukhari seeks to lift the stay entered on October 27, 2016, because the parties have failed
to reach a settlement agreement. Al-Bukhari also asks the court to review the allegations in the
complaint and issue an initial review order. Because Al-Bukhari and counsel for the defendants
named in another stayed case have reported that the parties have failed to reach an agreement to
settle this case and other cases filed by Al-Bukhari, the motion to dissolve the stay entered in this
case is granted. See Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU) (lead case), ECF No.
78 (Joint Status Report).
An IRO will issue today. Accordingly, Al-Bukhari’s motion seeking an expedited review of
the allegations in the complaint is denied as moot.
A review of the allegations in the complaint filed in this action and the allegations in the
amended complaint filed in Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU) (lead case),
reflects that the claims are sufficiently similar enough to warrant consolidation of this case with AlBukhari v. Dep’t of Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU). Both actions involve incidents that
occurred at Northern Correctional Institution. The allegations in this action occurred in March 2016
and the allegations in Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU), occurred in
December 2015. Specifically, the incidents involved the use of force in the form of pepper spray/a
chemical agent, the use of in-cell and four point restraints, deliberate indifference to serious medical
and mental health needs and safety and unconstitutional conditions of confinement. In addition,
five of the same individuals were involved in both incidents. Accordingly, the Clerk is directed to
consolidate this case with Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU) (lead case).
Once this case is consolidated with the lead case, I will issue an order with regard to the filing of
one amended complaint in the consolidated action.
The Motion for a Copy of the Complaint [ECF No. 14] is GRANTED.
The Motion for Class Action Status and Certification [ECF No. 15] and Motion to Expedite
Initial Review Order [ECF No. 11] are DENIED. The Motion to Dissolve the Stay [ECF No. 10]
is GRANTED. The Clerk is directed to consolidate this case with Al-Bukhari v. Dep’t of
Correction, No. 3:16-cv-53 (SRU) (lead case). Once this case is consolidated with the lead case,
the court will issue an order with regard to the filing of one amended complaint in the consolidated
SO ORDERED at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 16th day of May 2017.
/s/STEFAN R. UNDERHILL
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?