Gaskill v. NH State Prison
ORDER Directing Clerk to Make Service upon the NH Office of the Attorney General; Plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended complaint within 30 days of the date of this order; plaintiff's request for appointed counsel is denied without prejudice to renewing his request should circumstances warrant, and plaintiff's request for subpoenas is denied without prejudice to renewal should the court schedule an evidentiary hearing or trial. So Ordered by Magistrate Judge Landya B. McCafferty.(jab)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Michael D. Gaskill
Civil No. 11-cv-274-SM
New Hampshire State Prison et al.
O R D E R
Before the court is Michael Gaskill’s complaint (doc. no.
1) and addenda to the complaint (doc. nos. 8-10, 12, 13, and 2528), alleging that employees of the New Hampshire State Prison
(“NHSP”) have violated his constitutional and state law rights
during his incarceration.1
Because Gaskill is incarcerated, this
action is before the court for preliminary review to determine,
among other things, whether the plaintiff has asserted any claim
in the matter upon which relief might be granted.
See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a); United States District Court District of New
Hampshire Local Rule (“LR”) 4.3(d)(2).
This case includes the allegations contained in the abovecaptioned case and in two other cases filed by Gaskill that have
been consolidated into this case by order issued February 2,
2012 (doc. no. 24). The pleadings in those cases have been
redocketed as addenda to the complaint here. The complaint in
this matter is therefore comprised of the initial complaint
(doc. no. 1) and the addenda and attachments to the addenda (810, 12, 13, and 25-28).
As explained fully in a report and recommendation issued
simultaneously with this order,2 Gaskill has stated claims upon
which relief might be granted as follows: (1) an excessive force
claim against C.O. Lee Houston; (2) federal and state law claims
asserting inadequate medical care against Houston and Nurse
Dahlia Kasahas; and (3) Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act, First Amendment, and Equal Protection claims
against C.O. Azzara.
Accordingly, the court now directs service
of these claims on the identified defendants.
The Clerk=s office is directed to serve the New Hampshire
Office of the Attorney General (AAG@), as provided in the
Agreement on Acceptance of Service, electronic copies of this
Order and the complaint (document nos. 1, 8-10, 12, 13, and 2528).
See LR 4.3(d)(2)(C).
Within thirty days from receipt of
these materials, the AG will submit an Acceptance of Service
notice to the court specifying whether each defendant has
authorized the AG=s office to receive service on his or her
When the AG’s office files the Acceptance of Service,
service will be deemed made on the last day of the thirty-day
In the report and recommendation, the court has recommended
dismissal of all claims in the complaint that the court has not
directed to be served or amended in this order.
If any defendant does not authorize the AG=s office to
receive service on his or her behalf, or the AG declines to
represent any defendant, the AG shall, within thirty days from
receipt of the aforementioned materials, provide to the court
the last known address of that defendant.
Defendants are instructed to answer or otherwise plead
within twenty days of service.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A).
Plaintiff is instructed that all future pleadings, written
motions, notices, or similar papers shall be served directly on
the defendants by delivering or mailing the materials to the
defendants or their attorney(s), pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
Leave to Amend Complaint
As explained in the report and recommendation, Gaskill is
granted leave to file an amended complaint to name a defendant
or defendants as to each of the following claims, and to state
with specificity what each defendant did or failed to do to
violate Gaskill’s rights:
an endangerment claim based on officers placing
Gaskill in a cell with a violent inmate;
excessive force claims concerning incidents that
Gaskill alleges occurred in MHU and SHU;
inadequate medical care claims concerning: (a)
injuries incurred in the MHU and SHU incidents; (b) irritable
bowel syndrome; and (c) chest pains.
If Gaskill chooses to amend his complaint as directed, he
must file his amended complaint within thirty days of the date
of this order.
Request for Representation
In his complaint, Gaskill requests that this court appoint
counsel to represent him in this matter.
There is no absolute
constitutional right to free legal representation in a civil
See King v. Greenblatt, 149 F.3d 9, 14 (1st Cir. 1998).
Rather, appointment of counsel in a civil case is left to the
discretion of the court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d).
appointment of counsel would be warranted in a case where the
indigent litigant can show that “‘exceptional circumstances were
present such that a denial of counsel was likely to result in
fundamental unfairness impinging on [plaintiff’s] due process
King, 149 F.3d at 14 (quoting DesRosiers v. Moran,
949 F.2d 15, 23 (1st Cir. 1991)).
Gaskill has failed to establish the existence of
exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of counsel
in this case.
There is no reason at this time to believe that
Gaskill will be unable to adequately represent himself in this
Accordingly, Gaskill’s request for appointed counsel is
denied without prejudice to Gaskill renewing his request should
Request for Subpoenas
In his complaint, Gaskill has also requested that two NHSP
employees be subpoenaed to testify as witnesses in his case.
no evidentiary hearing or trial has been scheduled in this
matter, the request is premature.
The request is denied without
prejudice to renewal should the court schedule an evidentiary
hearing or trial.
The Clerk’s office is ordered to make service as directed
Gaskill is granted leave to file an amended complaint, as
directed above, within thirty days of the date of this order.
Should Gaskill fail to comply with the order to amend, the court
will recommend that the claims at issue be dismissed for failure
to name a defendant or to otherwise state a claim upon which
relief might be granted.
Gaskill’s requests for appointed counsel and for witness
subpoenas are denied without prejudice.
United States Magistrate Judge
February 21, 2012
Michael D. Gaskill, pro se