Williams v. Lombardi et al

Filing 17

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 4 MOTION to Appoint Counsel filed by Plaintiff Cornelius Williams, Jr. motion is DENIED without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 11/21/16. (MRS)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI EASTERN DIVISION CORNELIUS WILLIAMS, JR., Plaintiff, V. GEORGE LOMBARDI, et al. , Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. 1: 16CV102 RL W MEMORANDUM AND ORDER This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No. 4). Upon review of the record, the Court will deny Plaintiffs motion. Background On May 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 . Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Southeast Correctional Center ("SECC") when he filed this action; however, he has since been released. Plaintiff alleges that he has Hepatitis C and that, while incarcerated at the SECC, Dr. Michael Hakala and Dr. Cleveland Rayford refused to give him treatment even though is ammonia levels were elevated. He further claims that Defendant Becky Lizenbee, a nurse, did not always document his complaints and interfered with his treatment. Finally, he alleges that Corizon, LLC, had a policy ofrefusing treatment to Hepatitis C patients because treatment is expensive. Plaintiff also sought to hold Defendants George Lombardi and Ian Wallace liable as a result of their supervisory duties. However, on August 8, 2016, this Court dismissed those parties. (ECF No. 11) On that same date, this Court also granted Plaintiffs Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. (ECF No. 10) Currently pending is Plaintiffs Motion for Appointment of Counsel. (ECF No. 4) Plaintiff claims that because of his poverty, he is unable to pay a reasonable attorney fee or obtain legal counsel, despite diligent efforts to do so. (Id.) Discussion "'Indigent civil litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel. "' Davis v. Scott, 94 F .3d 444, 44 7 (8th Cir. 1996) (quoting Edgington v. Missouri Dep 't of Corr., 52 F.3d 777, 780 (8th Cir. 1995)). When determining whether to appoint counsel for an indigent plaintiff, the Court should consider the factual and legal complexity of the case, the existence of conflicting testimony, and the ability of the indigent person to investigate the facts and present her claim. Id. (citing Swope v. Cameron, 73 F.3d 850, 852 (8th Cir. 1996)). Upon review of Plaintiffs Complaint, the Court finds that appointment of counsel is not warranted at this time. The facts ofthis case are not complex. Plaintiff raises only one claim: Defendants failed and refused to properly treat his Hepatitis C virus while incarcerated at the SECC, demonstrating deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Further, the undersigned notes that Plaintiff has thus far clearly articulated and presented his legal claims to the Court, and he is able to investigate the facts of his case. Because the facts and the legal issues of this case are not complex, the undersigned finds that at this time Plaintiffs motion should be denied. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No. 4) is DENIED without prejudice. Dated this 21st day of November, 2016. UNITED ST ATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2

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