Gordon v HCR
ORDER denying 3 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by Hon. Jonathan W. Feldman on 09/13/2017. A copy of this Order has been mailed to pro se plaintiff at her address of record. (JKT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
HCR HOME CARE,
instant action alleging unlawful employment discrimination based
on her religion,
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
2000e et seq.
See Complaint (Docket#
Pending before the Court is plaintiff's motion to appoint
counsel, dated October 11, 2016.
See Docket# 3.
appointed counsel because she is "a low income individual who is
on maternity leave."
Plaintiff states that she does not "have
the funds to pay for a lawyer."
Docket # 3.
For the reasons
plaintiff's motion is denied without prejudice to
Indigent civil litigants, unlike criminal defendants, do not
have a constitutional right to counsel.
See Burgos v. Hopkins,
Nevertheless, a court has the
14 F.3d 787, 789 (2d Cir. 1994).
discretion to appoint
counsel to represent indigent litigants
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) when the facts of the case warrant
Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Charles W Sears Real Estate, Inc.,
865 F.2d 22, 23
(2d Cir. 1988); see also, In re Martin-Trigona,
737 F.2d 1254, 1260 (2d Cir. 1984).
The Second Circuit set forth
the factors to be considered in deciding whether or not to assign
counsel in Hodge v. Police Officers:
[Tl he district judge should first determine whether
the indigent's position seems likely to be of
If the claim meets this threshold
the court should then consider the
indigent's ability to investigate the crucial facts,
whether conflicting evidence implicating the need for
cross-examination will be the major proof presented to
the fact finder, the indigent's ability to present the
case, the complexity of the legal issues, and any
special reason in the case why appointment of counsel
would be more likely to lead to a just determination.
802 F.2d 58, 61-62 (2d Cir. 1986).
Plaintiff's case is at the earliest stages of litigation,
but the Court will assume that plaintiff has satisfied an initial
threshold showing of merit.
However, assuming plaintiff has a
appointment of counsel is not warranted at this particular time
based on the nature of the issues involved and plaintiff's ability
thus far to present her claims.
"Volunteer lawyer time is a precious commodity" that "should
Cooper v. A.
not be allocated arbitrarily."
Sargenti Co., 877
F.2d 170, 172 (2d Cir. 1989).
In this case, plaintiff's claims
do not present any novel or complex legal or factual issues that
would require the immediate assistance of counsel.
Guess v. University of Rochester, No. 11-CV-6473, 2014 WL 4724889
(W. D. N. Y. Sept. 8, 2014)
(plaintiff's employment discrimination
case did not involve novel or complex legal issues); White v.
Eastman Kodak Co.,
(W.D.N.Y. June 20, 2007)
2007 WL 1827508,
(case where plaintiff alleged employment
discrimination did not involve complex issues);
Fegs Health and Human Servs. Sys., No. 12 Civ. 2223(CM), 2012 WL
2353732, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. June 13, 2012)
appointment of counsel was merited).
Here, plaintiff's prose
complaint is straightforward and well drafted in describing the
detailed events that gave rise to the alleged violation:
Complaint (Docket# 1).
Plaintiff successfully applied for and
was granted in forma pauperis status by the Court.
On September 13,
scheduling conference with the parties,
at which plaintiff was
articulate, asked thoughtful and related questions, and evinced
an understanding of the litigation processes as explained by the
See Docket# 13.
Lastly, plaintiff provides no specific
reasons why she is unable to litigate the case on her own.
find that plaintiff's request to be appointed pro
bono counsel is not warranted at this time.
Plaintiff may consult
with the Western District's prose office attorneys for questions
on discovery process and procedure.
Plaintiff's motion to appoint
counsel is denied without prejudice to renew.
appointment of counsel (Docket# 3)
is denied without prejudice
September /1_, 2017
Rochester, New York
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