Delk v. Hardeman County Correctional Facility et al
ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS. Signed by Judge James D. Todd on 9/25/17. (mbm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
ADRIAN DESHUN DELK,
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, ET AL.,
ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
On October 21, 2016, Plaintiff Adrian Deshun Delk, an inmate at the Hardeman
County Correctional Facility (HCCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and
a motion to appoint counsel. (ECF Nos. 1, 3 & 4.) The Court subsequently granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 6.)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), “[t]he court may request an attorney to represent
any person unable to afford counsel.” However, “[t]he appointment of counsel in a civil
proceeding is not a constitutional right.” Lanier v. Bryant, 332 F.3d 999, 1006 (6th Cir.
2003); see also Shepherd v. Wellman, 313 F.3d 963, 970 (6th Cir. 2002) (“[T]he plaintiffs
were not entitled to have counsel appointed because this is a civil lawsuit.”); Lavado v.
Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 605-06 (6th Cir. 1993) (no constitutional right to counsel in a civil
case); Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 323 (7th Cir. 1993) (“There is no constitutional or . .
. statutory right to counsel in federal civil cases . . . .”). Appointment of counsel is “a
privilege that is justified only by exceptional circumstances.” Lavado, 992 F.2d at 606
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “In determining whether ‘exceptional
circumstances’ exist, courts have examined the type of case and the abilities of the plaintiff
to represent himself. This generally involves a determination of the complexity of the factual
and legal issues involved.” Id. at 606 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
This case is currently undergoing screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
and 1915A. At this time, Plaintiff has not sufficiently demonstrated that the Court should
exercise its discretion to appoint counsel. Therefore, the motion for appointment of counsel
(ECF No. 4) is DENIED.
On December 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting that process be issued for
the Defendants. (ECF No. 11.) However, as stated, this case is still undergoing screening.
Process will not be issued unless and until the Court determines that Plaintiff’s claims should
be allowed to go forward. Therefore, the motion to issue process is DENIED at this time.
The initiating documents in this case consist of a 27-page complaint, 137 pages of
exhibits, and 46 additional pages of medical records. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) Since that filing,
Plaintiff has submitted many additional exhibits and “evidence.” (ECF Nos. 12, 14, 15, 17 to
22, 24 & 26). Including those submitted with the complaint itself, there are now some 342
pages of exhibits in the record.
At this stage of the litigation, Plaintiff is not required to submit the evidence he may
have to support his claims. Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires
pleadings to contain only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” While well-chosen exhibits can often be helpful in clarifying some
claims, Plaintiff has submitted so many exhibits, on such a continual basis, that they have
become merely confusing, hindering the Court in its obligation to screen the complaint.
Nevertheless, the Court will not strike Plaintiff’s documents and GRANTS the
pending motions to file the exhibits. (ECF Nos. 12, 14, 15, 17 & 20.) However, in order to
simply the screening process, the Court declines to consider those additional documents at
this time. In determining whether this case should go forward, the Court will consider only
the allegations of the complaint itself. If the case survives screening, Plaintiff may ask for
his exhibits to be considered at a later time, such as in support of or in opposition to a
dispositive motion. Accordingly, Plaintiff should refrain from filing any additional exhibits
until a more appropriate time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ James D. Todd
JAMES D. TODD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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