West v. Tafelski et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 14 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Honorable Edwin M. Kosik on 1/18/2017 (emksec, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
RONALD BLUE WEST,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL NO. 3:16-CV-2460
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
Plaintiff, Ronald Blue West, commenced this civil rights action pursuant to the
Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346. In this action he seeks injunctive and
monetary relief for violations of his constitutional rights in conjunction with actions
of employees at the Federal Correctional Institution at Allenwood (“FCIAllenwood”), Pennsylvania, who are alleged to have negligently put his life in
danger. Plaintiff is no longer confined there, and is currently housed at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Estill, South Carolina. The United States of America has
been substituted as the sole Defendant in this matter and service of the complaint has
been directed. (Docs. 8, 9.) In addition, Plaintiff’s request for the appointment of
counsel was denied (Docs. 8, 9), and reconsideration of this decision has also been
denied. (Doc. 13.) Presently pending is Plaintiff’s motion seeking reconsideration of
the court’s denial of his request for counsel motion and the denial of his request for
reconsideration thereof. (Doc. 14.) For the reasons that follow, his motion will be
A motion for reconsideration “is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to
present newly discovered evidence.” Kabacinski v. Bostrom Seating, Inc., 98 F.
App’x 78, 81 (3d Cir. 2004)(quoting Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909
(3d Cir. 1985)). The standard for appointing counsel was properly set forth by the
court in the Memorandum of December 22, 2016, and will not be repeated herein.
(Doc. 8.) In his pending motion, Plaintiff claims that he seeks to correct “errors of
evidence” that the court will not allow him to present in his case against the United
States. In particular, he claims that because he is now confined in South Carolina,
and his evidence is in Pennsylvania, namely the testimony of inmate Patrick Patterson
who is confined at Plaintiff’s former prison - FCI-Allenwood - that counsel is
necessary. According to Plaintiff, Officer Prutzman told inmate Patterson that
Plaintiff used to work in law enforcement and this placed his life in danger. He
claims that counsel is necessary to conduct the necessary discovery to prove his
The initial motion for counsel filed by Plaintiff was very general and did not
mention this information. He merely spoke of needing counsel to conduct discovery.
Plaintiff did mention inmate Patterson toward the end of his first motion for
reconsideration, but the court did not specifically address this issue. It is the gist of
his pending motion for reconsideration. Nevertheless, the court finds that Plaintiff is
still capable of securing the necessary discovery even though he is not confined at the
same prison as inmate Patterson or Officer Prutzman. There are many instances were
inmates file a lawsuit after they have been transferred to a different prison. While it
may be more difficult to obtain the discovery and more time-consuming to do so, this
alone does not warrant the appointment of counsel. While Plaintiff states that if his
motion is not granted he may wish to withdraw his action until he can obtain counsel,
he is advised that a statute of limitations exists when filing the above action, and also
the need to advise the court of any decision to withdraw his matter.
While it is true that Plaintiff may be limited by his imprisonment, he has
exhibited the ability to litigate this action thus far. This case is also in a very early
stage, and any concerns about discovery and trial are premature at his time. In fact,
the action was just filed on December 13, 2016, and an answer has not yet been
submitted by Defendant.
ACCORDINGLY, THIS 18th DAY OF JANUARY, 2017, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED THAT Plaintiff’s motion seeking that the court reconsider the denial of
counsel (Doc. 14) is DENIED without prejudice.
s/Edwin M. Kosik
EDWIN M. KOSIK
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?