Echols v. Witherspoon et al

Filing 8

ORDER directing Clerk not to authorize service and advising plaintiff to notify Clerk in writing of any change of address. Plaintiff has incurred a debt to the U.S.A. in the amount of $350. Motions granted: 2 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Motions denied: 3 MOTION to Appoint Counsel filed by Sean Alexander Echols. Signed by Magistrate Judge Shiva V Hodges on 10/12/2016. (mwal)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA Sean Alexander Echols, #282720, Plaintiff, vs. Mr. Kenneth Witherspoon, United States Assistant Attorney; and Ms. Stacey Haynes, United States Assistant Attorney, Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C/A No.: 3:16-3228-MGL-SVH ORDER This is a civil action filed by a state prisoner. Therefore, in the event that a limitations issue arises, Plaintiff shall have the benefit of the holding in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (holding that a prisoner’s pleading was filed at the moment of delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to District Court). Under Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff filed a motion to appoint counsel. [ECF No. 3]. There is no right to appointed counsel in a case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cf. Hardwick v. Ault, 517 F.2d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1975). While the court is granted the power to exercise its discretion to appoint counsel for an indigent in a civil action, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Smith v. Blackledge, 451 F.2d 1201 (4th Cir. 1971), such appointment “should be allowed only in exceptional cases.” Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). In support of his motion, Plaintiff states he is unable to afford counsel, has limited access to a law library, and limited knowledge of the law. [ECF No. 3]. After a review of the motion, the court has determined that there are no exceptional or unusual circumstances presented which would justify the appointment of counsel, nor would Plaintiff be denied due process if an attorney were not appointed. Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296 (1989). The issues in most civil rights cases are not complex, and whenever such a case brought by an uncounseled litigant goes to trial, the court outlines the proper procedure so the uncounseled litigant will not be deprived of a fair opportunity to present his or her case. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for a discretionary appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(1) [ECF No. 3] is denied. PAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE: Plaintiff has submitted an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and Affidavit and Financial Certificate, which is construed as a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. A review of the Motion reveals that Plaintiff does not have the funds to prepay the filing fee. Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis is granted. [ECF No. 2]. By filing this case, Plaintiff has incurred a debt to the United States of America in the amount of $350. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914. This debt is not dischargeable in the event Plaintiff seeks relief under the bankruptcy provisions of the United States Code. See 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(17). The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) of 1996 permits a prisoner to file a civil action without prepayment of fees or security, but requires the prisoner “to pay the full amount of the filing fee” as funds are available. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), (b). As the court has granted Plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis, the agency having custody of Plaintiff shall collect payments from Plaintiff’s prisoner trust account in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2), until the full $350 filing fee is paid. TO THE CLERK OF COURT: This case is subject to summary dismissal based on an initial screening conducted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and/or 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Therefore, the Clerk of Court shall not issue the summons or forward this matter to the United States Marshal for service of process at this time. TO PLAINTIFF: Plaintiff must place the civil action number listed above (C/A No.: 3:16-3228MGL-SVH) on any document provided to the court pursuant to this order. Any future filings in this case must be sent to United States District Court, 901 Richland Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201. All documents requiring Plaintiff’s signature shall be signed with Plaintiff’s full legal name written in Plaintiff’s own handwriting. Pro se litigants shall not use the “s/typed name” format used in the Electronic Case Filing System. In all future filings with this court, Plaintiff is directed to use letter-sized (eight and one-half inches by eleven inches) paper only, to write or type text on one side of a sheet of paper only and not to write or type on both sides of any sheet of paper. Plaintiff is further instructed not to write to the edge of the paper, but to maintain one inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides of each paper submitted. Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. Plaintiff’s attention is directed to the following important notice: 2 You are ordered to always keep the Clerk of Court advised in writing (United States District Court, 901 Richland Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201) if your address changes for any reason, so as to assure that orders or other matters that specify deadlines for you to meet will be received by you. If as a result of your failure to comply with this order, you fail to meet a deadline set by this court, your case may be dismissed for violating this order. Therefore, if you have a change of address before this case is ended, you must comply with this order by immediately advising the Clerk of Court in writing of such change of address and providing the court with the docket number of all pending cases you have filed with this court. Your failure to do so will not be excused by the court. IT IS SO ORDERED. October 12, 2016 Columbia, South Carolina Shiva V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge Plaintiff’s attention is directed to the important warning on the next page. 3 IMPORTANT INFORMATION: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY WARNING TO PRO SE PARTY OR NONPARTY FILERS ALL DOCUMENTS THAT YOU FILE WITH THE COURT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC ON THE INTERNET THROUGH PACER (PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT ELECTRONIC RECORDS) AND THE COURT’S ELECTRONIC CASE FILING SYSTEM. CERTAIN PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN OR SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM ALL DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THE DOCUMENTS TO THE COURT FOR FILING. Rule 5.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for privacy protection of electronic or paper filings made with the court. Rule 5.2 applies to ALL documents submitted for filing, including pleadings, exhibits to pleadings, discovery responses, and any other document submitted by any party or nonparty for filing. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party or nonparty filer should not put certain types of an individual’s personal identifying information in documents submitted for filing to any United States District Court. If it is necessary to file a document that already contains personal identifying information, the personal identifying information should be “blacked out” or redacted prior to submitting the document to the Clerk of Court for filing. A person filing any document containing their own personal identifying information waives the protection of Rule 5.2(a) by filing the information without redaction and not under seal. 1. Personal information protected by Rule 5.2(a): (a) Social Security and Taxpayer identification numbers. If an individual’s social security number or a taxpayer identification number must be included in a document, the filer may include only the last four digits of that number. (b) Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, the filer may include only the initials of that child. (c) Dates of Birth. If an individual’s date of birth must be included in a document, the filer may include only the year of birth. (d) Financial Account Numbers. If financial account numbers are relevant, the filer may include only the last four digits of these numbers. 2. Protection of other sensitive personal information – such as driver’s license numbers and alien registration numbers – may be sought under Rule 5.2(d)(filings made under seal) and (e) (protective orders). 4

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