United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
STEPHEN MARTIN KOHN, KOHN KOHN & COLAPINTO LLP, STEPHEN
M. KOMIE KOMIE AND ASSOCIATES, BRIAN J. MCCABE U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE-CIVIL DIVISION, THEODORE J. MINCH
SOVICH MINCH LLP, SHELESE M. WOODS UNITED STATES
ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS
WALTON PRATT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant, Joseph Furando's
(“Furando”), Motion for Appointment of Counsel
[Dkt. 299] and Motion for Extension of Time [Dkt. 300]. For
the following reasons, the Court denies Furando's fourth
request for appointment of counsel and grants his request for
an extension of time.
in criminal cases, there is no constitutional or statutory
right to counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v.
Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (7th Cir. 2010)28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(1). Litigants requesting that counsel be
recruited must first show that they made a reasonable attempt
to secure private counsel. Gil v. Reed, 381 F.3d
649, 656 (7th Cir. 2004). Next, the judge is required to
consider whether “given the difficulty of the case,
does the party appear competent to litigate it
himself?” Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647,
654-655 (7th Cir. 2007).
Motion for Appointment of Counsel
instant motion is Furando's fifth request for appointment
of counsel. See Dkts, 198, 220, 262, 281 and 285. His prior
request have all been denied. As stated in his prior motions,
Furando, an incarcerated person, asserts that he is unable to
afford counsel, the issues involved in his case are complex,
he has limited access to the prison library, and limited
knowledge of the law. Furando's prior motions for
appointment of counsel have been denied for two reason.
First, the court has rejected Furando's arguments that
this case is complex, and the court has determined that
Furando is competent, at this stage of the proceedings, to
litigate this matter himself.
current motion provides no information that has not
previously been considered. The Court has previously noted
that “Furando is intimately aware of the subject matter
of this litigation, which arises from his role in falsifying
Renewable Identification Numbers to the United States
government. Moreover, the civil litigation in this case stems
from Furnando's own transactions that resulted
in his incarceration”. [Dkt. 253 at 2-3.] Furando's
personal characteristics, including literacy, communication
ability, and extensive post-secondary education have been
considered by the court. Id.
pending in this action is a partial motion for summary
judgment. The purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the
pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether
there is a genuine need for trial. Matsushita Electric
Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587106 S.Ct. 1348 (1986). Pro se litigants are
frequently required to respond to this type of motion. As
required, the Plaintiff has complied with Local Rule 56-1(k)
which requires that a party seeking summary judgment against
an unrepresented party file and serve a specific notice and
instructions to a pro se litigant. See Dkt,
290-1. Moreover, pro se pleadings are liberally
construed. (A document filed pro se is to be
liberally construed and …however inartfully pleaded,
must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). The Court will take
these factors into consideration in ruling on the summary
district, the Court simply does not have enough lawyers
willing and qualified to accept a pro bono
assignment in every pro se case. The Court
recognizes Furando's frustration with self-representation
and his difficulty in acquiring documents and accessing to
legal research material. However, thus far, his efforts in
self-representation are clearly competent and sufficient.
Because of these factors, the Court again determines that
Furando is competent to respond to the pending motion. The
Court again affirms that it will be alert to the possibility
of recruiting counsel if in fact this matter proceeds to
trial or at other points in the case where Furando's
incarceration and pro se status would make it
particularly difficult for him to proceed without
representation and where the assistance of counsel would be a
benefit to both Furando and the Court.
these reasons, the Motion to Appoint Counsel, dkt. 299 is
Motion for Extension of Time
has also filed a motion requesting an additional sixty (60)
day extension of time in which to respond to the pending
summary judgment motion. He writes that his response to the
motion is due on or before October 9, 2018. Furando is in
need of additional to do his own research and legal writing
and because the facility where he is housed has experienced
numerous “lock-downs” impeding his ability to
complete research. The Court acknowledges Furando's
pro se status and finds good cause exists for
granting the motion. Accordingly, the Motion for Extension ...