United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RECONSIDER
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE.
plaintiff, Daniel Troya, has filed a motion to reconsider the
Court's Entry dated July 23, 2018, that denied his fourth
motion for counsel. Troya asserts that the Court made a
factual error when it determined that inmate Wesley Purkey
was being prevented from providing him legal assistance in
drafting his pleadings and based on this factual error the
Court was wrong to deny the motion for counsel.
Court based its finding that inmate Purkey was being
prevented from providing Troya legal assistance on the
Facts Supporting Claims of Interference By USP/TH Staff With
Troya's Access To The Court In The Immediate
the past several months Troya has diligently tried to gain
legal assistance from Inmate Turkey who resides on the same
Range as he does baaed on the extremely limited one (1) hour
per week that the governing SCU Policy allows. See
Purkey's Aff'd / Appx. (A). On average Troya has
been afforded access to what the applicable governing SCU
characterizes as "Inmate Assisted Legal Meetings1'
either once every other week and/or three 'one hour
meetings' every two months- See purkey's
Aff'd ¶(s)(2) thr (7).
Troya has sought redress of such limited access based on
policy mandates with Unit Manager Thomas who basically has
turned a deaf ear to concerns presented to her through the
past several month period. Further' he has reiterated to
applicable SCU Administrative Staff concerns of certain SCU
Security Staff on the 2-10 Shift's ongoing
interference with scheluded 'legal meetings.' with
Inmate as delineated via given SCU policy dictates without
Ms.'Thomas, as well as the USP/TH Legal Department
Supervisor Ms. K. Siereveld claim that Troya has absolutely
no right to have Inmate Purkey or for that matter any
particular inmate to afford him with legal assistance and
that they can designate any inmate they choose to afford
Troya with legal assistance whether such other inmate's
have tenable qualifications in affording him with legal
assistance. Sea Turkey's Affrd ¶
in the July 23, 2018, Entry, the Court denied Troya's
motion for counsel for multiple reasons. Dkt. No. 76. One of
those reasons is that the quality of Troya's legal
filings had not diminished even after he was believed no
longer to be receiving assistance from inmate Purkey.
Regardless of Troya's access to legal assistance from an
inmate or the law library, this Court, having reviewed this
record, is confident for the following reasons, that Troya is
competent to litigate this case.
motion to reconsider, Troya relies on James v. Eli,
889 F.3d 320 (7th Cir. 2018) for support as to why he should
be appointed counsel. In James, the Court reiterated
the necessary analysis for counsel requests previously set
forth in Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647 (7th Cir.
2007) (en banc). Here, the Court has already determined that
Troya has satisfied the first inquiry of Pruitt in
that he has made sufficient efforts to recruit counsel on his
own. The second inquiry, whether Troya is competent to
litigate this action himself, is at issue in Troya's
motion to reconsider. With respect to the second inquiry, the
Court in James stated that the question is
“‘whether the difficulty of the case - factually
and legally - exceeds the particular plaintiff's capacity
as a layperson to coherently present it to the judge or jury
himself.'” James, 889 F.3d at 327, citing
Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir.
2006). The Court also recognized that “‘cases
involving complex medical evidence are typically more
difficult for pro se litigants.'” Id.,
Santiago v. Walls, 599 F.3d 749, 761 (7th Cir.
2010); Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 792, 784 (7th
Cir. 2015); Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655-56; Zarnes
v. Rhodes, 64 F.3d 285, 289 n.2 (7th Cir. 1995).
Ultimately, the Court in James instructed that
district courts should “‘review any information
submitted in support of the request for counsel, as well as
the pleadings, communications from, and any contact with the
plaintiff.'” Id., quoting Pruitt,
503 F.3d at 655. The court should also consider the
“‘plaintiff literacy, communication skills,
education level, and litigation experience.'”
Id., quoting Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655.
Troya seeks the appointment of counsel because 1) he is being
prevented from obtaining evidence to support his claims from
witnesses/inmates, 2) the defendants submitted expert
testimony in support of their motion for summary judgment,
and 3) he only has a G.E.D.
Troya has complained that he was not able to obtain evidence
from other inmates confined at USP-Terre Haute. Thus, the
Court attempted to assist him by allowing him to file (ex
parte) a letter directed to inmates Tipton and Barrett that
requested that they provide an affidavit setting forth their
personal knowledge of Troya's wellbeing on April 11,
2016. Dkt. No. 80. Troya responded and notified the Court
that he did not want to submit correspondence via the Court
to these individuals. He further stated that his inability to
obtain this evidence was further evidence that he needed
defendants also responded to the Court's Entry and
notified the Court that USP-TH would be willing to
accommodate Troya's need to correspond with Tipton and
Barrett in accordance with Bureau of Prison Program Statement
5265.14 and 28 C.F.R. § 540.17. Thus, Troya may use this
mechanism to obtain necessary evidence from Tipton and
in denying Troya's fourth motion for counsel with respect
to his concern that he would not be able to ...