Jones v. Pierce et al
MEMORANDUM Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 5/18/2017. (lmm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
MICHAEL L. JONES,
) Civ. Action No. 15-1007-GMS
DAVID PIERCE, et al.,
The plaintiff Michael L. Jones ("Jones"), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional
Center ("VCC"), Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
proceeds prose and has been granted leave to proceed informa pauperis. (See D.I. 6.)
Jones requests counsel to aid in redressing health grievances, for assistance in serving
defendants, the VCC is currently on lockdown, the defendants submitted false evidence in their
opposition to his motion for injunctive relief, and he needs assistance to litigate his case. (D.1.
47, 56.) He also seeks additional time to respond to the defendant's motion to dismiss that was
filed on December 1, 2016. (D.I. 35, 46.)
A pro se litigant proceeding in forma pauperis has no constitutional or statutory right to
representation by counsel. 1 See Brightwell v. Lehman, 63 7 F .3d 187, 192 (3d Cir. 2011 ); Tabron
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See Mallard v. United States Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of1
(§ 1915(d) (now§ 1915(e)(l)) does not authorize a federal court to 1
din unwilling,.att()mey \
to represent an indigent civil litigant, the operative word in the statu . ibg "r~eSf.'8).LUl I
lJ1,:i ! t-\il..
l DISTRICT OF DE!_AVvARE
v. Grace,6F.3d 147, 153 (3dCir.1993). However,representationbycounselmaybe
appropriate under certain circumstances, after a finding that a plaintiff's claim has arguable merit
in fact and law. Tabron, 6 F.3d at 155.
After passing this threshold inquiry, the court should consider a number of factors when
assessing a request for counsel. Factors to be considered by a court in deciding whether to
request a lawyer to represent an indigent plaintiff include: ( 1) the merits of the plaintiff's claim;
(2) the plaintiff's ability to present his or her case considering his or her education, literacy,
experience, and the restraints placed upon him or her by incarceration; (3) the complexity of the
legal issues; (4) the degree to which factual investigation is required and the plaintiff's ability to
pursue such investigation; ( 5) the plaintiff's capacity to retain counsel on his or her own behalf;
and (6) the degree to which the case turns on credibility determinations or expert testimony. See
Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 498-99 (3d Cir. 2002); Tabron, 6 F.3d at 155-56. The list
is not exhaustive, nor is any one factor determinative. Tabron, 6 F.3d at 157.
After reviewing the plaintiff's requests, the court concludes that the case is not so
factually or legally complex that requesting an attorney is warranted. To date, the filings in this
case demonstrate the plaintiff's ability to articulate his claims and represent himself. Thus, in
these circumstances, the court will deny without prejudice to renew the plaintiff's requests for
counsel. (D.I. 47, 56.) Should the need for counsel arise later, one can be appointed at that time.
Finally, the court will grant Jones' motion for an extension oftime to file a response to
the pending motion to dismiss.
For the above reasons, the court will deny Jones' requests for counsel (D.I. 47, 56) and
will grant his motion for an extension of time (D.I. 46).
An appropriate order will be entered.
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