HUGHES v. POLAR CORP
ORDER denying 30 Motion to Appoint Counsel ; denying 30 Motion to Compel; finding as moot 31 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE C ASHLEY ROYAL on 7/17/2017 (lap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
POLAR CORP. (MA),
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL,
MOTION TO COMPEL MEDIATION, AND
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Before the Court are pro se Plaintiff Jeremy Hughes’s Motion to Compel
Arbitration or Mediation, Motion for Appointment of Counsel, and Motion for Leave
to Proceed in forma pauperis [Docs. 30 & 31]. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in
Florida and unable to retain legal counsel to assist him in this case. Therefore, Plaintiff
requests the Court compel arbitration or mediation and/or appoint counsel to
represent him in this case. Defendant Polar Corp. (MA) opposes Plaintiff’s Motion to
Compel Arbitration or Mediation. For the following reasons, Plaintiff’s Motions to
Compel Arbitration or Mediation and for Appointment of Counsel [Doc. 30] are
DENIED, and Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 31] is
On February 16, 2016, with assistance of counsel, Plaintiff brought this
disability discrimination suit against his former employer, Defendant Polar Corp.
(MA). However, shortly thereafter, the Court permitted Plaintiff’s counsel to
withdraw from the case. The Court provided Plaintiff over five months to obtain new
counsel, as he is incarcerated in Florida, and discovery in the case remained stayed.
On May 4, 2017, Plaintiff sought a third extension or, in the alternative, requested the
Court appoint a mediator. The Court denied Plaintiff’s requests and instructed him to
proceed with the case pro se. The stay of discovery was lifted on June 2, 2017.
On June 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed several Motions requesting the Court to compel
mediation or arbitration, appoint him counsel, and provide him leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. According to Plaintiff, prior to his counsel’s withdrawal, Defendant
was willing to participate in mediation or arbitration and only refuses to participate
now because Plaintiff has not obtained replacement counsel. Thus, Plaintiff contends
the Court should appoint him counsel and compel arbitration or mediation. In
addition, Plaintiff argues the Court should still appoint him counsel even if it does not
compel arbitration or mediation because Plaintiff is unable to properly articulate his
claims for relief, and imprisonment greatly limits his ability to litigate this case. The
Court will address each in Motion in turn.
First, as already explained in the June 2, 2017 Order, the Court will not appoint
a mediator when Defendant does not intend to facilitate a settlement in this case.
Defendant still opposes Plaintiff’s request because it does not wish to settle the case.
Thus, the Court will not compel mediation, and this Motion is DENIED.
Second, “[i]n the absence of an agreement to arbitrate, a court cannot compel
the parties to settle their dispute in an arbitral forum.”1 Plaintiff makes no claim that
the parties entered into an arbitration agreement, and there is no indication that one
exists. Therefore, the Court cannot compel arbitration in this case, and the Motion is
Third, a civil plaintiff has no constitutional right to counsel, but the district
court may appoint one for an indigent plaintiff.2 However, a district court is only
justified in appointing counsel in “exceptional cases, such as the presence of facts and
legal issues [which] are so novel or complex as to require the assistance of a trained
Klay v. All Defendant, 389 F.3d 1191, 1200 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing AT&T Techs., Inc. v. Communications
Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, 648 (1986)).
2 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Bass v. Perrin, 170 F.3d 1312, 1320 (11th Cir. 1999).
practioner.”3 “Where the facts and issues are simple, he or she usually will not need
such help.”4 The Court “has broad discretion in determining whether such
circumstances exist.”5 After reviewing the record and pleadings in this case, the Court
finds there are no “exceptional circumstances” warranting the appointment of counsel.
This case is not so complex legally or factually as to prevent Plaintiff from presenting
the essential merits of his position to the Court. Accordingly, the Court will not
appoint counsel for Plaintiff, and the Motion is DENIED.
Lastly, Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis because he is unable to
afford counsel.6 However, Plaintiff has already paid the filing fee in this case. Thus,
Plaintiff’s Motion is MOOT.
Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motions to Compel Arbitration or Mediation
and for Appointment of Counsel [Doc. 30] are DENIED, and Plaintiff’s Motion for
Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 31] is MOOT.
Vickers v. Georgia, 567 F. App’x 744, 749 (11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (quoting Kilgo v. Ricks, 983 F.2d
189, 193 (11th Cir. 1993)).
4 Kilgo, 983 F.2d at 193.
5 Id. (citing Smith v. Fla. Depʹt of Corrs., 713 F.3d 1059, 1063 (11th Cir. 2013)).
6 It appears Plaintiff filed this Motion to support his request for appointment of counsel in this case.
However, as explained above, Plaintiff’s inability to afford counsel is not an “exceptional circumstance”
as to warrant appointment.
SO ORDERED, this 17th day of July, 2017.
S/ C. Ashley Royal
C. ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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