United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. Trauger United States District Judge
Richard Mayes, an inmate of the Lois DeBerry Special Needs
Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in
forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against physician's assistant David Sehorn, Unit 7B
Provider, Dr. Madu Nwozo, and Unit 7B Physician, alleging
violations of the plaintiff's civil and constitutional
rights. (Docket No. 1). As relief, the complaint seeks
compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at p. 6).
The plaintiff also has filed a motion for appointment of
counsel (Docket No. 3) and a “Motion Requesting
Guidance and Assistance with Case” (Docket No. 5).
Motion for Appointment of Counsel
with the filing of his complaint, the plaintiff submitted a
motion seeking the appointment of counsel. (Docket No. 3).
The Supreme Court has held that “an indigent's
right to appointed counsel . . . exists only where the
litigant may lose his physical liberty if he loses the
litigation.” Lassiter v. Dep't of Social
Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981). Thus, unlike criminal
proceedings, there is no constitutional right to an appointed
counsel in a civil action, such as this action. Willett
v. Wells, 469 F.Supp. 748, 751 (E.D. Tenn. 1977),
aff'd, 595 F.2d 1227 (6th Cir. 1979);
see Williamson v. Autorama, Inc., No. 91-5759, 947
F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1991)(citing Willett
favorably). The appointment of counsel for a civil litigant
is a matter within the discretion of the district court and
will occur only under exceptional circumstances. Lavado
v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 604-05 (6th Cir.
plaintiff's circumstances as described are typical to
most prisoners and do not suggest anything exceptional in
nature. The plaintiff submitted a detailed, coherent
complaint. He does not allege that he suffers from any mental
defects or physical disabilities that would limit his ability
to prosecute his case. Therefore, his motion for the
appointment of counsel (Docket No. 3) will be denied.
Motion Requesting Guidance and Assistance with Case
plaintiff also submitted a motion “requesting guidance
and assistance with case.” (Docket No. 5). In his
motion, the plaintiff states that he has “had two other
incidents of deliberate indifference occur since filing the
complaint.” (Id. at p. 1). He states that he
is “in fear of [his] well-being” and is
“afraid something will happen to [him] soon and need to
get some guidance.” (Id.)
court must be impartial to all parties. Therefore, the court
cannot give legal advice or assistance to litigants,
including pro se litigants, because the court cannot
favor or appear to favor one litigant over another litigant.
addition, the plaintiff's motion does not explain what
“incidents” have occurred or what specific
threat(s) to the plaintiff's health and safety are
present. Without more details, the court is unable to address
the plaintiff's unspecified concerns. The motion,
therefore, will be denied.
PLRA Screening Standard
complaint is before the court for an initial review pursuant
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any
portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis
that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires
initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity, ”
id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the
complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in §
1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).
Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard
articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes
because the relevant statutory language tracks the language
in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on
initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court
must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual
allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G
Polymers, USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009)
(citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th
Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).
pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent
standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v.
Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts'
“duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro
se complaints does not require us to conjure up