Clemmons v. United States of America et al
ORDER denying plaintiff's 69 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on 1/12/2017. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Sean Christopher Clemmons,
United States of America; Warden Hudson;
Unit Manager Amy Leonard; Case Manager
W. Wahlen; Warden Travis Bragg; A.W.
Furman; Captain Hicks; Health Services
Administrator Canada; Food Service
Administrator Kinnion; Lieutenant Baits; E.
Negron-Oliver, Disciplinary Hearing Official; )
Unit Manager Holland; Trust Fund Official
Leviner; Lieutenant Torres; Case Manager
Swan; Counselor Keyes; Lieutenant Dunbar; )
Officer Strictland; Mays; Mills; Doctor
Berrios; M.L.P. H. Hansen; Kirkland; R.N.
Donna Griffith; K. Robinson; D. Kowszik,
R.N.; H.I.T. Kimbrell; Physician Kimberly
Lemons; M.L.P. Romero; Adams; Jane Doe,
Medical Air Marshall; Federal Bureau of
Prisons; S.I.S. Bennett; SIS Connery; Fortune; )
Officer Godbey; Officer Legett; Psychologist )
Figuora; Acting Captain Caraluzzi; Associate )
C/A No. 0:16-1305-RMG-PJG
Plaintiff Sean Christopher Clemmons, a self-represented federal inmate, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of his constitutional rights. This matter is before
the court on the plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel. (ECF No. 69.) The defendants filed
a response in opposition. (ECF No. 75.) In his motion, Clemmons alleges that he is indigent, that
he lacks knowledge of the law, and that his case is complex and has merit. He also argues that an
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attorney would be able to more clearly present the issues in his case. He further alleges that he has
multiple lawsuits pending, and that this is “burdening [him] greatly emotionally and mentally.”
(ECF No. 69 at 2.)
There is no right to appointed counsel in § 1983 cases. Hardwick v. Ault, 517 F.2d 295 (5th
Cir. 1975). The court may use its discretion to request counsel to represent an indigent in a civil
action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Mallard v. United States Dist. Court for S. Dist. of Iowa, 490
U.S. 296 (1989). However, such discretion “should be allowed only in exceptional cases.” Cook
v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). Whether exceptional circumstances are present
depends on the type and complexity of the case, and the pro se litigant’s ability to prosecute it.
Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard, 490 U.S.
Upon review of the file, the plaintiff’s filings thus far demonstrate a capacity to present his
claims. Based on the pleadings before the court, the plaintiff writes well and appears capable of
addressing the legal issues. Accordingly, the court has determined that there are no exceptional or
unusual circumstances presented at this time, nor would the plaintiff be denied due process if the
court denied plaintiff’s request for counsel. Id. Therefore, the plaintiff’s motion requesting counsel
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Paige J. Gossett
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
January 12, 2017
Columbia, South Carolina
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