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Stevens v. Lopez

October 12, 2006

RE: STEVENS
v.
HUDSON COUNTY CORRECTIONAL CENTER OFFICER PILINO LOPEZ ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge

LETTER OPINION

Dear Litigants:

The Court is in receipt of plaintiff Leon A. Stevens' request for appointment of pro bono counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), filed September 29, 2006. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's request is denied.

BACKGROUND

The plaintiff is currently confined in the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearney, New Jersey. On August 8, 2006, plaintiff filed the Complaint and an application to proceed in forma pauperis ["IFP"]. He alleges that on June 2, 2006 the defendants violated his civil rights when they used excessive force against him while he was handcuffed, resulting in a severe nose bleed and a completely shut left eye. See Compl. at ¶ 6. The plaintiff also alleges that the defendants denied him medical attention, confined him in a room with three inches of water, and tampered with his meals. See Compl. at ¶ 6.

On August 30, 2006, the Court granted plaintiff's IFP application. See Docket Entry No.

2. On September 29, 2006, the plaintiff filed this application for the appointment of counsel. See Docket Entry No. 6. In his application, plaintiff argues that he is entitled to counsel because:

(1) he lacks the ability to present an effective case; and (2) he is unable to obtain and afford counsel. [See App. for Counsel at 3].

DISCUSSION

There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel for indigent civil litigants. Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997). District courts have broad discretion in determining whether the appointment of counsel is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (c)(1); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153 (3d Cir. 1993).

In considering a request for appointment of counsel, the Court must first assess the threshold matter of ". . . whether the claimant's case has some arguable merit in fact and law." Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 498-99 (3d Cir. 2002). If the applicant satisfies this threshold requirement, then the Court should consider the following factors:

(1) the plaintiff's ability to present his case;

(2) the difficulty of the particular legal issues;

(3) the degree to which a factual investigation will be necessary and the ability of the plaintiff ...


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