Bills et al v. Klee

Filing 56

ORDER (1) Withdrawing Reference to Magistrate Judge, (2) Conditionally Appointing Counsel for Plaintiff, (3) Terminating Defendants' 28 , 32 and 41 MOTIONS to Dismiss and Plaintiff's Objection to 52 Report and Recommendation Without Prejudice, and (4) Staying Action Pending Appointment of Counsel. Signed by District Judge Matthew F. Leitman. (HMon)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION RICKY BILLS, Plaintiff, Case No. 15-cv-11414 Hon. Matthew F. Leitman v. DANIEL HEYNS et. al. Defendants. _________________________________/ ORDER (1) WITHDRAWING REFERENCE TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE, (2) CONDITIONALLY APPOINTING COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF, (3) TERMINATING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS (ECF ## 28, 32, 41) AND PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTION TO REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF #52) WITHOUT PREJUDICE, AND (4) STAYING ACTION PENDING APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL In this prisoner civil rights action, state prisoner Ricky Bills (“Bills”) alleges that numerous current and former employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections (the “MDOC”) misappropriated or misapplied funds that were deposited into his prison bank account. (See Amended Complaint, ECF #18.) Bills’ primary claim is that the Defendants violated an October 7, 2008, written order entered by the Ingraham County Circuit Court (the “State Court Order”). (See ECF #53 at 22, Pg. ID 520.) The State Court Order required the MDOC to retain funds deposited on Bills’ behalf in order to pay a filing fee that Bills owed. (See id.) Bills says that the Defendants have not complied with the order and that, as a result, he has an 1 outstanding balance that prevents him from filing documents in the state court. (See generally Am. Compl.) The Defendants have each moved to dismiss Bills’ claims (the “Motions”). (See ECF ## 28, 32, and 41.) On January 4, 2017, the assigned Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation in which he recommended that the Court grant the Motions and dismiss Bills’ claims with prejudice (the “R&R”). (See ECF #52.) Bills filed timely objections to the R&R on January 24, 2017 (the “Objections”).1 (See ECF #53.) The Court is not comfortable that dismissal of the Amended Complaint is warranted at this time. The Court believes that the most efficient and appropriate course of action is to (1) withdraw the order of reference to the Magistrate Judge (ECF #25), (2) terminate the Motions and the Objections (ECF ## 28, 32, 41, and 52) without prejudice, (3) refer this action to the Court’s Pro Bono Committee and conditionally appoint counsel for Bills providing that the committee is successful in enlisting pro bono counsel on Bills’ behalf, and (4) stay this action pending the appointment of counsel. If the Pro Bono Committee is unsuccessful in enlisting counsel, counsel will not be appointed and Bills will continue to proceed pro se or 1 Bills identified this filing as a “Motion for Reconsideration.” (See ECF #53.) On February 2, 2017, the Court entered a written Order in which it construed Bills’ “motion” as objections to the R&R. (See ECF #54.) 2 retain counsel at his own expense. Upon the appointment of pro bono counsel, the Court will schedule a telephonic status conference with all counsel to discuss how this action should proceed. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 27, 2017 s/Matthew F. Leitman MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties and/or counsel of record on February 27, 2017, by electronic means and/or ordinary mail. s/Holly A. Monda Case Manager (313) 234-5113 3

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