United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL, DENYING
MOTIONS TO SUBMIT STATEMENTS, DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND
GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 26, 2017, Plaintiff Winfred Wright, who is incarcerated
at the Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Whiteville,
Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 5.) In an order issued April
27, 2017, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 8.) The Clerk shall record
the Defendants as the WCF and Correctional Officer First Name
with the complaint, Wright also filed a motion for
appointment of counsel. (ECF No. 6.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(1), the “court may request an attorney
to represent any person unable to afford counsel.”
However, “[t]he appointment of counsel in a civil
proceeding is not a constitutional right.” Lanier
v. Bryant, 332 F.3d 999, 1006 (6th Cir. 2003); see
also Shepherd v. Wellman, 313 F.3d 963, 970 (6th Cir.
2002) (“[T]he plaintiffs were not entitled to have
counsel appointed because this is a civil lawsuit.”);
Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 605-06 (6th Cir.
1993) (no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case);
Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 323 (7th Cir. 1993)
(“There is no constitutional or . . . statutory right
to counsel in federal civil cases . . . .”).
Appointment of counsel is “a privilege that is
justified only by exceptional circumstances.”
Lavado, 992 F.2d at 606 (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). “In determining whether
‘exceptional circumstances' exist, courts have
examined the type of case and the abilities of the plaintiff
to represent himself. This generally involves a determination
of the complexity of the factual and legal issues
involved.” Id. at 606 (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted). Appointment of counsel is not
appropriate when a pro se litigant's claims are
frivolous or when his chances of success are extremely slim.
Id. (citing Mars v. Hanberry, 752 F.2d 254,
256 (6th Cir. 1985)); see also Cleary v. Mukasey,
307 F. App'x 963, 965 (6th Cir. 2009) (same).
stage of the proceeding, because the complaint is being
dismissed with leave to amend, Wright has not satisfied his
burden of demonstrating that the Court should exercise its
discretion to appoint counsel. Therefore, the motion for
appointment of counsel is DENIED.
accompanying the complaint are separate motions in which
Wright seeks to submit witness statements by three other WCF
inmates: William Dykes (ECF No. 2), Maxwell Novack (ECF No.
3), and Chris Wheeler (ECF No. 4). Only the motions
concerning Novack and Wheeler contain the statements
referenced therein. Those statements are not sworn and
notarized, nor do they qualify as unsworn declarations made
under penalty of perjury. See 28 U.S.C. § 1746.
Therefore, the motions to submit the statements in support of
Wright's complaint are DENIED.
calls his complaint an “emergency” petition and
alleges he is in danger of death or dismemberment because he
is being denied medical treatment for cancer that is all over
his body. (ECF No. 1 at 3, 5.) He states that he “kept
constantly telling all the C/Os in this complaint as well as
medical” (id. at 3), but no one will help him
(id. at 5). Wright alleges the cancer is so severe
that it is causing abrasions and serious infections in the
lymph nodes of his ears. (Id. at 5.) He seeks
declaratory relief, punitive damages of $2 million, and
medical treatment or accommodations. (Id.)
Screening and Standard
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the court applies standards
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), as stated in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and
in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555-57 (2007). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true, the Court
‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d
380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
681) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . .
are no more than conclusions . . . are not entitled to the
assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see
also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket