Rollakanti v. Holy Cross Hospital et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 4 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by Judge Paula Xinis on 2/6/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 2/6/17)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. PX 16-2914
HOLY CROSS HOSPITAL et al.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
Plaintiff has requested the appointment of counsel. See ECF No. 4. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e5(f)(1) provides the avenue for appointment of counsel in a Title VII case under “such
circumstances as the court may deem just.” Id. In a Title VII action, the Plaintiff need not be
indigent, a pauper, or entirely destitute in order for a court to appoint counsel under 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(f)(1)). See Castner v. Colorado Springs Cablevision, 979 F.2d 1417, 1421 (10th Cir.
1992); Poindexter v. F.B.I., 737 F.2d 1173, 1182 (D.C. Cir. 1984); Jenkins v. Chem. Bank, 721
F.2d 876, 879 (2d Cir. 1983). Whether a civil case warrants the appointment of counsel depends
on the characteristics of the claim and the litigant. Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th
Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. District Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298
(1989). When an unrepresented litigant has a colorable claim but lacks the capacity to present it,
counsel should be appointed. See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1153 (4th Cir. 1978). The
factors relevant to deciding if appointment of counsel is warranted are the plaintiff’s financial
ability to retain an attorney, the efforts of the plaintiff to retain counsel, and the merits of the
case. See Scott v. Health Net Fed. Servs., LLC, 463 F. App’x 206, 209 (4th Cir. 2012). In a Title
VII case, the Court considers the EEOC’s conclusions regarding Plaintiff’s claim when deciding
whether to appoint counsel. See Garrison v. State of Md. Great Oaks Cntr., 850 F. Supp. 366,
368 (D. Md. 1994).
Plaintiff states that he is “unable to find an attorney who can take up [his] case” because
some of them want a “huge amount of money up front.” ECF No. 4. He also states that he
“cannot afford an attorney” but provides no underlying evidence regarding his financial status
and inability to pay for a lawyer. Id. Plaintiff also does not explain the steps he took to retain
counsel nor does he present evidence of his efforts. Moreover, from a reading of his Complaint,
while his lawsuit may not be patently frivolous, the Court notes that the EEOC adopted the no
probable cause finding of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. ECF No. 1-1. Finally,
Plaintiff has submitted several pro se filings and appears capable of pursuing his claims.
Therefore, the Court declines to appoint counsel pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1).1
Accordingly, it is this 6th day of February, 2017, by the United States District Court for
the District of Maryland, ORDERED that:
Plaintiff’s request for the appointment of counsel (ECF No. 4) BE and the same
HEREBY IS DENIED; and
The clerk is directed to mail a copy of this Order to Plaintiff and counsel for
United States District Judge
The general mechanism for the appointment of counsel in civil cases is set forth at 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the in
forma pauperis provision. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) supplants 28 U.S.C. § 1915 in Title VII cases. But even if 28
U.S.C. § 1915 governed, Plaintiff would not be entitled to appointed counsel because he did not first seek and obtain
permission to proceed in forma pauperis as 28 U.S.C. § 1915 requires.
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