Nalls v. Napolean
ORDER DENYING 41 Motion to Appoint Counsel Without Prejudice. Signed by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford. (Williams, Marlena)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Action No.: 11-12670
Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford
BENNY N. NAPOLEAN, et al.,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT 
Before the Court is plaintiff Kenyatta Nalls’ motion to appoint counsel.
 Nalls, a prisoner proceeding pro se, filed his original complaint in June
2011 against a number of correctional officers and prison medical staff
alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need arising out of an
injury sustained to his hands when cell doors closed on them. His original
complaint did not properly identify all defendants and a recommendation
was made to dismiss them for failure to prosecute. . Nalls moved to
instead amend his complaint and the Court permitted discovery to ascertain
the identities of the unidentified defendants. [22. 28, 30]. As a result, on
January 6, 2015, Nalls filed a verified first amended complaint properly
identifying all defendants. .
Nalls now seeks appointment of counsel, alleging that he is unable to
access the law library for a sufficient amount of time to prepare his case
due to the prison’s time limitations on law library use, as well as conflicts in
his schedule due to a seven-day-a-week job detail. He alleges that his
case involves medically complex issues that require extensive medical
research and investigation that he is unable to accomplish due to these
limitations, as well as his lack of legal training.
Defendants respond, arguing that the sole issue here is whether they
were deliberately indifferent to Nalls’s serious medical needs, and that the
only evidence required to answer this question is Nalls’ own medical
records. Defendants state there are no complex medical issues that arise
in the scope of this case, nor has Nalls shown that this case is more
complex than the myriad other deliberate indifference cases that routinely
come before the Court. Finally, Defendants argue that Nalls has ably
litigated this case for almost four years despite the limitations he alleges
are preventing him from adequately accessing the Court.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, “[t]he court may request an attorney to
represent any person unable to afford counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1)
(emphasis added). Although a district court is vested with broad discretion
in determining whether to appoint counsel for an indigent civil litigant,
appointment of such counsel is not a constitutional right. Courts generally
do not appoint counsel in a civil case absent a showing of “exceptional
circumstances.” Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 604-606 (6th Cir.
1993). In order to make the determination the Court considers the type of
case involved, the party’s ability to represent himself, the complexity of the
case, and whether the claims being presented are frivolous or have a small
likelihood of success. Id.
Having review Nalls’ amended complaint and case filings to this point,
and considering the relevant factors, the Court finds that Nalls has not
shown exceptional circumstances meriting the appointment of counsel at
this juncture. As Defendants point out, Nalls has adequately litigated his
own case for the past four years, including navigating discovery practice
and identifying parties, despite the limitations imposed on his time by the
prison. Further, Nalls’ amended complaint has yet to be tested for
sufficiency under either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or 56.
Thus, the immediate questions do not appear to involve issues of medical
complexity and Nalls appears aptly capable of litigating his case at this
point in time. For these reasons, Nalls’ motion to appoint counsel  is
DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: January 21, 2015
s/Elizabeth A. Stafford
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD
United States Magistrate Judge
NOTICE TO THE PARTIES REGARDING OBJECTIONS
The parties’ attention is drawn to Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a), which
provides a period of fourteen (14) days from the date of receipt of a copy of
this order within which to file objections for consideration by the district
judge under 28 U.S. C. §636(b)(1).
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served
upon counsel of record and any unrepresented parties via the Court’s ECF
System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail addresses
disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on January 21, 2015.
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