Russell v. Pallito et al
ENTRY ORDER Adopting 204 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION recommending that Plaintiff's 183 MOTION for Joinder of Additional Plaintiff be denied and 193 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION recommending that Plaintiff's 178 RENEWED MOTION to Certify Class be denied; denying as moot 178 Motion to Certify Class. Signed by Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford on 5/28/2020. (esb)
Case 5:15-cv-00126-gwc-jmc Document 205 Filed 05/28/20 Page 1 of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
ANDREW PALLITO, CYNTHIA MASON, )
RICHARD BILODEAU, LISA MENARD, )
MICHAEL TOUCHETTE, ROBERT
Case No. 5:15-cv-126
ENTRY ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND
(Docs. 178, 183, 193, 204)
Plaintiff Justin Russell, who was formerly under the supervision of the Vermont
Department of Corrections (“DOC”), brought this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants Andrew Pallito, former DOC Commissioner; Cynthia Mason and Richard Bilodeau,
DOC Correctional Officers; Lisa Menard, former DOC Commissioner; Michael Touchette,
current DOC Commissioner; and Robert Arnell, Correctional Facility Operations Manager. (See
Docs. 1, 21, 166.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his right to the free exercise of
religion because of a DOC policy relating to the dietary restrictions for Muslim detainees.
Before the court are the following motions: Russell’s Renewed Motion to Certify Class
Action (Doc. 178); and Russell’s Motion for Joinder of Additional Plaintiff on Expedited Basis
On December 18, 2019, the magistrate judge issued his Report and Recommendation on
Russell’s Renewed Motion to Certify Class Action. (Doc. 193.) Finding that “Russell’s claims
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would require individualized inquiries for each proposed class member,” the magistrate judge
recommended that Russell’s motion be denied. (Id. at 3.)
Russell’s objections to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on the motion
were filed on January 1, 2020. (Doc. 194.)
On February 26, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel informed this court that Plaintiff had been
released from DOC custody as of February 21, 2020. (Doc. 203.)
A day later, on February 27, 2020, the magistrate judge issued his Report and
Recommendation on the Motion for Joinder of Additional Plaintiff on Expedited Basis.
(Doc. 204.) The magistrate judge recommended that Plaintiff’s motion for joinder be denied.
First, the magistrate judge found that Plaintiff failed to establish good cause under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure Rule 16(b) for permission to amend the complaint to join an additional
plaintiff. (Doc. 204 at 5–8.) The magistrate judge additionally noted that “[d]iscovery has been
closed in this case for approximately two years” and that “factor weighs against granting Russell
leave to join another plaintiff at this late stage.” (Doc. 204 at 8, 9.)
The magistrate judge also considered Plaintiff’s motion to join an additional plaintiff
under Rule 20, which governs permissive joinder. Pursuant to Rule 20, the magistrate judge
found that it would not be appropriate to join a new plaintiff because “the claims asserted by
Russell and [the new plaintiff] present few, if any common questions of law or fact.” (Doc. 204
Plaintiff did not file objections to the magistrate judge’s recommendation that his motion
to join an additional plaintiff be denied. The time for Plaintiff’s objections has elapsed.
A district judge must make a de novo determination of those portions of a magistrate
judge’s report and recommendation to which an objection is made. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3);
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28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Sargent v. Soc. Sec. Admin., Comm’r, No. 5:11-CV-44, 2019 WL
5388109, at *2 (D. Vt. Oct. 22, 2019). The district judge may “accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3).
The court first considers the magistrate judge’s Report and Recommendation on the
Motion for Joinder of Additional Plaintiff on Expedited Basis (Doc. 204).
After careful review of the record and the magistrate judge’s thorough Report and
Recommendation, this court ADOPTS the magistrate judge’s recommendations in full for the
reasons stated in the Report (Doc. 204).
In light of this court’s adoption of the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 204), and
Plaintiff’s release from DOC custody, the Plaintiff’s Renewed Motion to Certify Class Action
(Doc. 178) is DENIED as MOOT.
Dated at Burlington, in the District of Vermont, this 28th day of May, 2020.
/s/ Geoffrey W. Crawford
United States District Court
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