United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING MOTION FOR COUNSEL
William T. Lawrence, Judge
the Court is plaintiff's fourth motion to appoint
counsel. “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).
plaintiff previously asserted that he has been unsuccessful
in recruiting representation on his own. The Court concluded,
based on the motion for counsel filed on October 11, 2017,
that the plaintiff had made a reasonable effort to secure
representation. Dkt. No. 28.
Court now proceeds to the second inquiry required in these
circumstances. Here, the Court previously concluded that the
plaintiff is competent to litigate this action on his own.
See Dkt. No. 37; Dkt. No. 51.
plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel because he asserts
that he is unable to litigate and engage in discovery on his
own in order to reply to the defendants' motion for
summary judgment. Dkt. No. 69; Dkt. No. 75.
Court understands it may be more difficult for the plaintiff
to litigate this action without counsel. Every pro
se litigant has the same dilemma. If this Court had
enough lawyers willing and qualified to accept a pro
bono assignment, it would assign a pro bono
attorney in almost every pro se case. But there are
not nearly enough attorneys to do this. As a result, this
Court has no choice but to limit appointment of counsel to
those cases in which it is clear under the applicable legal
test that the plaintiff must have the assistance of a lawyer.
complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he underwent outpatient
surgery at Union Hospital in Terre Haute. He received
specific post-operative instructions from the surgeon
regarding his care. The plaintiff alleges that once he was
moved back to the prison the defendants ignored these
instructions and as a result he had to be re-admitted to
Union Hospital several days later with complications.
defendants have moved for summary judgment on the merits.
They have provided copies of the plaintiff's medical
records from Union Hospital, including his discharge
instructions, and his medical records from Terre Haute.
date, the plaintiff's filing are comprehensible. In fact,
the plaintiff's filing are very well-written and
reasoned, and include current citations to relevant law. The
Court has no difficulty at all understanding what the
plaintiff is communicating. He previously stated that inmate
Welsey Purkey provided him legal assistance. Specifically,
the plaintiff asserted that “Purkey has prepared each
and every piece of litigation that Troya has filed in these
proceedings.” Dkt. No. 47, p. 4. He also previously
asserted that staff at USP-TH was preventing Purkey from
providing legal assistance to the plaintiff. To the extent
inmate Purkey is no longer assisting the plaintiff, the level
of quality in the plaintiff's filings to this Court has
plaintiff is familiar with the factual circumstances
surrounding the medical care he did or did not receive from
the defendants. The plaintiff has no difficulty reading or
writing English, obtained a GED in 2002, and has no physical
or mental health issues that might affect his ability to
litigate this case on his own. See Dkt. No. 33.
plaintiff asserts that without counsel he will not be able to
compel the defendants to respond to his discovery requests.
However, the plaintiff does not explain why he will not be
able to compel the defendants to respond to discovery.
Further, the plaintiff has not sought assistance from the
Court in any discovery disputes. Additionally, the Court
provided the plaintiff with subpoenas. Dkt. No. 63.
Court continues to conclude that the plaintiff is able to
competently litigate whether the defendants followed Union
Hospital's post-operative instructions. He has the
medical records, including the post-operative instructions.
The medical issues in this case are not complex. The
plaintiff may contradict the defendants' version of the
facts with his own affidavit.
Court will, however, be alert to the possibility of
recruiting representation for the plaintiff at trial or at
other points in the case where the plaintiff's
incarceration and pro se status would make it particularly
difficult for him to proceed without representation and to
the possibility at those points where the assistance of
counsel would be a benefit to both the plaintiff and the
Court in the presentation of the case.
extent the plaintiff needs additional time to file a response
to the defendants' motion for summary ...