McFerrin v. Patel et al
ORDER denying 22 Motion to Appoint.(Signed by Judge George C Hanks, Jr) Parties notified.(dperez, 3)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
ERVIN LEE MCFERRIN,
MICHELLE LASTRAPES, et al,
November 29, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
§ CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:15-CV-274
State inmate Ervin Lee McFerrin (TDCJ #01607758) has filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that the defendants provided him with Constitutionally
deficient medical treatment. McFerrin has filed a motion requesting the appointment of
counsel (Dkt. 22). That motion is denied for the reasons set forth briefly below.
There is no automatic constitutional right to appointment of counsel in civil rights
cases. Baranowski v. Hart, 486 F.3d 112, 126 (5th Cir. 2007). Where a litigant proceeds
in forma pauperis, the most a court can do is “request an attorney to represent any person
unable to afford counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); see also Mallard v. United States
District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 310 (1989) (holding that
the statute governing in forma pauperis cases does not authorize “coercive appointments
of counsel” for indigent litigants in civil cases). “An attorney should be appointed only if
exceptional circumstances exist.” McFaul v. Valenzuela, 684 F.3d 564, 581 (5th Cir.
2012) (citing Ulmer v. Chancellor, 691 F.2d 209, 212 (5th Cir. 1982)). In making that
determination, the Court considers the case’s type and complexity, the litigant’s ability to
investigate and present his claims, and the level of skill required to present the evidence.
Baranowski, 486 F.3d at 126.
This case does not, as yet, present any exceptional circumstances necessitating the
appointment of counsel. McFerrin has clearly articulated his claims; the Texas Attorney
General has provided the Court and McFerrin with a Martinez report containing the
pertinent medical records; and the legal and factual issues presented by the case are not
extraordinarily complex. The court concludes that it is unnecessary to locate counsel for
McFerrin at this time and will deny his motion for the appointment of counsel.
It is therefore ORDERED that the plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel
(Dkt. 22) is DENIED without prejudice to refiling.
The Clerk will provide a copy of this Order to the parties.
SIGNED at Galveston, Texas, this 29th day of November, 2017.
George C. Hanks Jr.
United States District Judge
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