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Egwuenu v. Brennan

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 5, 2018




         This matter is before the Court for determination of the sufficiency of pro se Plaintiff Wilson Egwuenu's (“Egwuenu”) Amended Complaint.[1] Dkt. [75]. Also pending is Egwuenu's Motion to Appoint Counsel, Dkt. [68], Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Default Judgment Dkt. [70]. For the reasons explained below, Egwuenu's pending motions are denied and the Amended Complaint is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.


         On May 22, 2017, Egwuenu, a citizen of Polk County, Iowa, filed a 46 page, single spaced Complaint consisting of 255 paragraphs, against Defendants the Hon. Megan Brennan, United States Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Services (“Brennan”), Walter Bettinger, President and CEO of Charles Schwab, and Dr. Joe Feldman, President and CEO of St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana. Dkt. [1]. On November 30, 2017, this Court granted Motions to Dismiss filed by Dr. Joe Feldman, Dkt. [29], Walter Bettinger, Dkt. [34], and Hon. Megan Brennan, Dkt. [65] (Dkt. [67]). As required, the dismissals were without prejudice because it may have been possible that Egwuenu might have a viable claim under some set of facts that had not been sufficiently alleged in his pro se Complaint. The Court granted Egwuenu leave to replead by filing an amended complaint. However, he was instructed that the amended complaint must be free of the deficiencies which warranted dismissal of the original complaint. In particular, Egwuenu was instructed that he must bring unrelated claims in separate lawsuits against the proper party and each complaint must state a short and plain statement of the facts; the claims must be plausible, and he was further instructed that only related claims of action may be filed in an amended complaint under this case number. Dkt. [67] at 6.


         A. Appointment of Counsel

         On December 14, 2017, Egwuenu filed a third request for appointment of counsel, stating that “due process requires that the court appoint him a counsel.” Dkt. [68] at 9. On prior occasions, courts in this district have informed Egwuenu that the court has no authority to “appoint” counsel in a civil proceeding. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), courts are empowered only to “request” counsel. Mallard v. United States District Court, 490 U.S. 296, 300 (1989). “When confronted with a request . . . for pro bono counsel, the district court is to make the following inquiries: (1) has the indigent plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to litigate it himself?” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654-655 (7th Cir. 2007). The court must deny “out of hand” a request for counsel made without a showing of such effort. Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 114 S.Ct. 438 (1993).

         In his motion, Egwuenu provides no information regarding indigency or of reasonable efforts that he has made on his own to secure representation. Regarding the second inquiry, the court's task is to analyze the plaintiff's abilities as related to “the tasks that normally attend litigation: evidence gathering, preparing and responding to motions and other court filings, and trial.” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d at 654-55. The Court notes that Egwuenu is a frequent litigator who has filed four actions in the Southern District of Indiana, each seeking to redress substantially the same group of defendants and nearly the same perceived grievances. The Court finds, in this case and at present, that the claims asserted by Egwuenu are not of sufficient complexity or merit as to surpass his ability to properly develop and present them. He is an experienced litigator, and appears to be literate, to have access to research and writing materials, and to have an understanding of the court's processes.

         The Court determines that Egwuenu has not shown that he is indigent, nor has he shown a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been effectively precluded from doing so; and considering the claims, he appears to be competent to litigate this action himself. Accordingly, the third motion for appointment of counsel, Dkt. [68], is denied.

         B. The Amended Complaint

         On March 30, 2018, Egwuenu filed an Amended Complaint, which he titled Plaintiff's First Amended Petition. Dkt. [75]. Unfortunately, the Amended Complaint cures none of the deficiencies described in the original Complaint and is legally insufficient. As an initial matter, the Court notes that the Amended Complaint does not name or make allegations concerning defendants Walter Bettinger and Joe Feldman; accordingly dismissal as to these two defendants is now with prejudice.

         The Amended Complaint is 55 pages long, 326 paragraphs and adds new defendants, St. Vincent Hospital and Charles Schwab & Co. The Amended Complaint brings a series of unrelated claims and does not describe any connection that may exist between Brennan, the United States Post Master General, who is sued in her individual capacity, St. Vincent Hospital, and Charles Schwab & Co. It is packed with irrelevant facts and details unnecessary to establish a valid claim for relief and makes it difficult to locate the specific actions and allegations giving rise to liability. Egwuenu states “the primary cause of this action is a widespread and prolonged RICO conspiracy” from 1996 to the present, to defraud him, impede his meaningful access to court, inflict severe and sustained economic and emotional hardships on him with the intent to make him homeless, discourage him from seeking meaningful access in order to cover up their wrongdoing and retain his property. (See Dkt. [75].) As far as the Court can discern, the claims concerning the named defendants are as follows:

He alleges in a conclusory statement, that under her watch as the United States Post Master, Brennen maintained long standing policies, customs, and practices of mercilessly abusing and discriminating against him and she conspired to not deliver legal documents he mailed to the court, or legal documents the courts mailed to him.
He alleges that Schwab has been his stockbroker agency since the 1980s. Schwab agents/employees fraudulently enrolled in a Security Loan Program in his name and received all the appreciation from one of the stocks. When he found out about the fraud Schwab agents froze his accounts and marked them abandoned in order to cover their conspiracy; he was ...

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