Mardis v. Enloe et al
ORDER : Plaintiff's third motion for attorney representation 52 is denied without prejudice, for the reasons stated in the Court's order of December 19, 2017 47 , and for the reasons stated below. Due to the dismissal of Defendant Donald Enloe 55 , the Clerk is directed to amend the caption to list Scott Nailor as the sole and lead Defendant. [See STATEMENT] Signed by the Honorable Iain D. Johnston on 2/8/2018. Mailed notice (jp, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Jaleel Mardis (M-50108),
Donald Enloe, et al.,
Case No. 17 CV 50009
Judge Iain D. Johnston
Plaintiff’s third motion for attorney representation  is denied without prejudice, for
the reasons stated in the Court’s order of December 19, 2017 , and for the reasons stated
below. Due to the dismissal of Defendant Donald Enloe , the Clerk is directed to amend the
caption to list Scott Nailor as the sole and lead Defendant.
Plaintiff Jaleel Mardis, an Illinois prisoner housed at Dixon Correctional Center, brought
this pro se civil rights action, invoking 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, claiming that a prison
official have discriminated against her for her transgender status and retaliated against her for
submitting a grievance and Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) report about her treatment.
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s renewed motion for attorney representation.
Although “[t]here is no right to court-appointed counsel in federal civil litigation,” Olson
v. Morgan, 750 F.3d 708, 711 (7th Cir. 2014), the Court has discretion to request that an attorney
represent an indigent litigant on a volunteer basis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). In making the
decision whether to recruit counsel, the Court must engage in a two-step analysis: (1) has the
plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel on his own behalf or been effectively
precluded from doing so; and, if so, (2) given the factual and legal complexity of the case, does
this particular plaintiff appear competent to litigate the matter herself. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d
647, 654-55 (7th Cir. 2007) (en banc). This analysis does not focus solely on the plaintiff’s
ability to try the case, but on her ability to gather evidence and prepare and respond to motions.
Navejar v. Iyiola, 718 F.3d 692, 696 (7th Cir. 2013).
Factors to be considered include: (1) the stage of litigation, Romanelli v. Suliene, 615
F.3d 847, 852 (7th Cir. 2010) (holding that it is difficult to make an accurate determination
regarding a plaintiff’s ability to litigate the matter when case is still in “its infancy”); (2)
plaintiff’s submissions and pleadings, Olson, 750 F.3d at 712 (well-written pleadings and
appearance that plaintiff can follow instructions indicate that counsel is not needed); (3) medical
and mental health issues, Olson, 750 F.3d at 712; (4) transfer to a different facility, Junior v.
Anderson, 724 F.3d 812, 815 (7th Cir. 2013) (transfer to a different facility may impede
plaintiff’s ability to obtain evidence including affidavits/declarations from others to support
his/her claim); (5) plaintiff’s capabilities, including intelligence (IQ), literacy, degree of
education, communication skills, and litigation experience, Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655; Dewitt v.
Corizon, Inc., 760 F.3d 654, 658 (7th Cir. 2014) (recruitment of counsel required for a blind
inmate with a tenth-grade education); Henderson v. Ghosh, 755 F.3d 559, 565 (7th Cir. 2014)
(enlistment of counsel was necessary for a functionally illiterate inmate); and (6) complexity of
the case, Dewitt, 760 F.3d at 658; Henderson, 755 F.3d at 566; Santiago v. Walls, 599 F.3d 749,
761 (7th Cir. 2010); Pruitt, 503F.3d at 655-56.
After considering the above factors, the Court concludes that solicitation of counsel for
Plaintiff is not currently warranted. Plaintiff indicates that her requests for representation from
attorneys or legal organizations have been unsuccessful. (Dkt. 52, pg. 1.) The Court incorporates
the analysis from its order of December 19, 2017 (Dkt. 47), but will address the additional points
Plaintiff raises here. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s submissions, as well as her participation
during the status conferences held to date. Plaintiff first indicates that, contrary to her first
motion for attorney representation (Dkt. 4, pg. 2), which indicated that she is a high school
graduate, she in fact has a “10th grade education” and her “reading and writing is not up to an
acceptable level.” (Dkt. 52, pg. 1, 2.) She takes “several” listed “psychotropic medications,” the
effects of which she does not describe. (Id. at 1.) Another inmate has assisted her thus far, but
that “inmate paralegal has never prepared a [sic] initial disclosure under Rule 26 before.” (Id.)
Such litigation inexperience is common among pro se litigants, but this factor, considered with
the factors mentioned above, and Plaintiff’s status conference participation, does not suggest that
Plaintiff is incapable of proceeding at this stage. Plaintiff was a participant in the events and
possesses much of the information regarding her claims. Plaintiff is encouraged to review the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including Rules 26, 33, and 34. Rule 26(a)(1)(A) provides
categories of information that parties must volunteer to one another, relating to favorable
witnesses, documents, and damage computations. Plaintiff, who was a participant in the events
she challenges here, is in a position to know of the other participants or witnesses with
information likely to support her claims (she appears to be gathering such information already,
see Dkt. 36, pg. 1 (seeking to dismiss claims against Lt. Dan Newman, who, “upon consultation .
. . will actually be a witness for the plaintiff”), the documents that might support her claims, and
the types and amounts of damages she seeks. The Court grants pro se litigants considerable
leeway in the pursuit of their lawsuits and will broadly and liberally construe Plaintiff’s
submissions in this case. Her motion is denied without prejudice to later renewal.
Date: February 8, 2018
Iain D. Johnston
United States Magistrate Judge
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