United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
STACY K. PERKINS, Plaintiff,
BANK OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge [*]
13, 2017, Plaintiff Stacy Perkins, proceeding pro se, filed
this suit against defendants Bank of America, Deutsche Bank
and Trust, Country Wide Home Loan, Temple Inland Mortgage,
Guaranty Residential, and Bankers Trust Company. Presently
before the court are Perkins' motion to proceed by jury,
motion for a three-judge panel, and motion seeking the
appointment of counsel. For the following reasons,
Perkins' motions will be denied.
Motion for Jury
complaint does not contain a jury demand. However, on the
same day he filed his complaint, Perkins filed a motion for a
jury trial. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
38(b), a party may demand a jury trial by “serving the
other parties with a written demand-which may be included in
a pleading-no later than 14 days after the last pleading
directed to the issue is served” and filing the demand
in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5(d).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 38(b). If a party has not properly demanded a
jury in accordance with Rule 38, “the court may, on
motion, order a jury trial on any issue for which a jury
might have been demanded.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 39(b). Because
the last pleading directed to the issue has not yet been
served, Perkins may properly serve and file a timely jury
demand in this case. Therefore, the court will deny
Perkins' motion as premature. Perkins is responsible for
serving the defendants with a jury demand in accordance with
Rule 5(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
also requests that a three-judge district court panel hear
his case. “A district court of three judges shall be
convened when otherwise required by Act of Congress, or when
an action is filed challenging the constitutionality of the
apportionment of congressional districts or the apportionment
of any statewide legislative body.” 28 U.S.C. §
2284(a). Perkins does not challenge any reapportionment, and
he has not shown that an Act of Congress requires that a
three-judge panel be convened to hear this case. Therefore,
Perkins' motion will be denied.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
filed a motion for representation pursuant to a consent
judgment entered in Scruggs v. Superintendent of
Pendleton Correctional Facility, Case No.
1:12-cv-00361-RMC, though it appears Perkins was not a party
to that lawsuit. Even if he was, a court's order in
another case is not binding on this one. Accordingly, the
court will construe Perkins' motion as a new request for
litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory right to
appointed counsel. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 649
(7th Cir. 2007); Zarnes v. Rhodes, 64 F.3d 285, 288
(7th Cir. 1995). Yet, district courts have discretion to
recruit attorneys to represent indigent parties in
appropriate cases pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). As
a threshold matter, litigants must make a reasonable attempt
to secure private counsel on their own. Puritt, 503
F.3d at 654. Once this threshold burden has been met, the
court must address the following question: given the
difficulty of this case, does the plaintiff appear competent
to litigate it himself? Id. at 654-55 (citing
Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 321-22 (7th Cir.
Perkins has not demonstrated that he made reasonable efforts
to secure private counsel on his own. This alone is a
sufficient basis to deny Perkins' request. See
Id. at 655. But even if Perkins had made reasonable
efforts to find a lawyer on his own, his request for
appointed counsel must be denied. Perkins has failed to
demonstrate that the difficulty of the case and his
competence to litigate it require appointed counsel.
Id. at 649. He has not demonstrated that he is
incapable of litigating this case himself. Perkins has not
alleged that he is incompetent and has provided no specific
evidence to support a finding that he lacks the competency to
litigate this case. There is nothing in the record to suggest
that Perkins does not have the same competence to represent
himself as the vast number of other pro se litigants
who cannot afford to hire an attorney and are unable to
convince one to take his case on a contingent fee basis.
Recruitment of counsel occurs more commonly in prisoner
litigation, where inmates are not free to seek counsel on
their own and are limited in conducting their own research.
From what the court can tell, Perkins suffers from none of
these defects. Accordingly, Perkins' motion is denied
without prejudice. The court will give further consideration
to Perkins' request as the case proceeds.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Perkins' motion to
proceed by jury (ECF No. 3) is DENIED as
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Perkins' motion for a
three-judge panel (ECF No. 3) is DENIED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Perkins' motion to