Echols v. Witherspoon et al
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)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Sean Alexander Echols, #282720,
Mr. Kenneth Witherspoon, United
States Assistant Attorney; and Ms.
Stacey Haynes, United States Assistant
C/A No.: 3:16-3228-MGL-SVH
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.
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
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.
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).
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