Williams v. Olukaka
ORDER APPOINTING Counsel: Jamison Meadville Joiner, Allison N. Cook and Sara Hollan Chelette for Michael Williams. Pretrial Conference set for 7/16/2018 09:00 AM before Judge Robert Pitman, Jury Selection and Trial set for 7/30/2018 09:00 AM before Judge Robert Pitman. Signed by Judge Robert Pitman. (tb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
JO A. OLUKAKA, et al.,
Before the Court is the above-entitled action, in which Plaintiff Michael Williams is
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. In May 2017, the Court denied a Request for Appointment of
Counsel filed by Plaintiff. (Order, Dkt. 23). In light of the Court’s recent ruling on Defendants’
Motion for Summary Judgment, (Order, Dkt. 37), Plaintiff’s entitlement to counsel should be
“A civil rights complainant has no right to the automatic appointment of counsel,” and “the
trial court is not required to appoint counsel for an indigent plaintiff asserting a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 . . . unless the case presents exceptional circumstances.” Ulmer v. Chancellor, 691 F.2d
209, 212 (5th Cir. 1982). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has identified four
factors—known as the Ulmer factors—that federal courts should consider in determining, in their
discretion, whether counsel should be appointed. Those factors include (1) the type and complexity
of the case; (2) whether the indigent plaintiff is capable of adequately presenting his case; (3)
whether the indigent plaintiff is in a position to adequately investigate the case; and (4) whether the
evidence will consist in large part of conflicting testimony so as to require skill in the presentation of
evidence and in cross examination. Id. at 213 (citations omitted). The court “should also consider
whether the appointment of counsel would be a service to the indigent plaintiff and, perhaps, the
court and defendant as well, by sharpening the issues in the case, shaping the examination of
witnesses, and thus shortening the trial and assisting in a just determination.” Id. Subsequent cases in
the Fifth Circuit have followed the reasoning set forth in Ulmer. See Vinson v. Heckmann, 940 F.2d
114, 116 (5th Cir. 1991); Cooper v. Sheriff, Lubbock County, Texas, 929 F.2d 1078, 1084 (5th Cir. 1991);
Hulsey v. State of Texas, 929 F.2d 168, 172–73 (5th Cir. 1991); Freeze v. Griffith, 849 F.2d 172, 175 (5th
Cir. 1988); Lopez v. Reyes, 692 F.2d 15, 17 (5th Cir. 1982).
Applying the Ulmer factors to the instant case, the Court concludes that counsel should be
appointed. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that attorneys Jamison M. Joiner, Allison N. Cook,
and Sara Hollan Chelette are appointed to represent Plaintiff. All of the above-named attorneys are
employed by Jackson Walker LLP and may be reached at the following address:
Jackson Walker LLP
2323 Ross Avenue, Suite 600
Dallas, TX 75201
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is set for (1) a jury trial commencing at 9:00
a.m. on July 30, 2018; and (2) a final pretrial conference at 9:00 a.m. on July 16, 2018. Both the trial
and the final pretrial conference will be held in Courtroom No. 1 of the United States Courthouse
located at 800 Franklin Avenue in Waco, Texas.
SIGNED on March 12, 2018.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?