Torrez v. Mulligan et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel; denying without prejudice 13 Motion to Appoint Counsel; denying without prejudice 16 Motion to Compel; denying 19 Motion for Reconsideration; granting in part and denying in part 24 Motion for Copy(s); granting 25 Motion for Order; denying without prejudice 26 Motion for Default Entry 55(a). Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 7/31/2017. (Landman, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JOSE ANTHONY TORREZ,
WILLIAM MULLIGAN, et al.,
: No. 3:17-cv-677 (SRU)
RULING AND ORDER
Plaintiff Jose Anthony Torrez (“Torrez”) has filed two motions seeking appointment of pro bono
counsel in this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, two motions for copies, a motion for reconsideration
of my Initial Review Order, a motion requesting that I rule on the motions for appointment of counsel,
and a motion for default entry. I will address each motion in turn.
Motions for Appointment of Counsel
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);
Hendricks v. Coughlin, 114 F.3d 390, 393 (2d Cir. 1997). The Second Circuit also has made clear that
before an appointment is even considered, the indigent person must demonstrate that he is unable to
obtain counsel. Saviano v. Local 32B-32J, 75 F. App’x 58, 59 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Cooper v. A.
Sargenti Co., 877 F.2d 170, 173 (2d Cir. 1989)).
Torrez identifies several law firms he has contacted, all of which have denied representation. He
also states that an attorney from Inmates’ Legal Aid Program told him that the program attorneys cannot
represent him. Although their contract with the Department of Correction does not include
representation of inmates in court, Inmates’ Legal Aid Program is able to provide legal assistance such
as advice relating to discovery and assistance in responding to dispositive motions filed by the
defendants. Torrez does not indicate that he requested the type of assistance Inmates’ Legal Aid
Program can provide. Thus, the Court cannot determine whether Torrez is unable to obtain legal
assistance on his own.
In addition, the Second Circuit also has cautioned the district courts against the “routine
appointment of counsel” and reiterated the importance of requiring an indigent to “pass the test of likely
merit.” Cooper, 877 F. 2d at 173-74. The Court explained that “even where the claim is not frivolous,
counsel is often unwarranted where the indigent’s chances of success are extremely slim.” Id. at 171.
The current record consists only of the Complaint. Although Torrez states that all of his claims are
meritorious, I cannot properly evaluate the claims without a response from the defendants. That
response is not yet due. Thus, the current record is insufficient for me to determine whether the
plaintiff’s claims possess likely merit. Thus, appointment of counsel is premature.
Torrez’ motion requesting that I rule on his motions for appointment of counsel is granted [ECF
No. 25], but the motions for appointment of counsel [ECF Nos. 8, 13] are denied without prejudice.
Motions for Copies
Torrez has filed a motion to compel [ECF No. 16] seeking a copy of his medical records. That
motion is denied without prejudice as premature. Once the defendants appear in the case, Torrez will
have an opportunity to submit his discovery request to defense counsel.
Torrez has also filed a motion [ECF No. 24] for a copy of ECF No. 18, his original complaint,
and a “couple” copies of the standard motions to proceed in forma pauperis. That motion is granted
with respect to ECF No. 18 and his original complaint, but denied with respect to the motions to proceed
in forma pauperis. Torrez is currently proceeding in forma pauperis and thus has not identified any
reason why he needs additional copies.
Motion for Reconsideration of Initial Review Order
Torrez has filed a motion for reconsideration of his initial review order for the purported purpose
of “emphasizing primary key components of his initial complaint that were previously stated therein.”
Doc. # 19 at 1. Motions for reconsideration “will generally be denied unless the moving party can point
to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked—matters, in other words, that might
reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70
F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). Motions for reconsideration will not be granted where the party merely
seeks to relitigate an issue that has already been decided. Id.
Torrez’s motion admittedly seeks to relitigate issues that I have decided. Accordingly, the
motion [ECF No. 19] is denied.
Motion for Default Entry
Torrez has filed a motion for default entry against Laprey, James Delpesio, Parfumi, Paul
Balatka, and Barbra Savoie. The time in which the defendants must appear and answer the complaint
has not yet expired. Moreover, in my Initial Review Order, I expressly permitted the defendants to
respond to the pending motions within 21 days of being served. Because it is not apparent that such
time has passed, Torrez’s motion for default entry is denied [ECF No. 26] without prejudice.
SO ORDERED this 31st day of July 2017 at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
/s/STEFAN R. UNDERHILL
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
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