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Watford v. Union County Community College

May 25, 2007

RE: WATFORD
v.
UNION COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE



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

Honorable Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge

U.S. Post Office & Courthouse Bldg. Federal Square, Newark, NJ 07101 (973) 645-6596

LETTER OPINION & ORDER

Barbara J. Watford, pro se 909 Village Dr. Franklin Park, NJ 08824

Dear Litigants:

The Court is in receipt of plaintiff Barbara J. Watford's request for appointment of pro bono counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), filed on May 1, 2007. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's request is denied.

BACKGROUND

On November 20, 2006, plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that her former employer, Union County Community College, discriminated against her on the basis of her race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Compl. at ¶ 10. On March 27, 2007, the Hon. Faith S. Hochberg dismissed the case pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) because the Complaint was defectively served. See Order, dated March 28, 2007. On April 25, 2007, Judge Hochberg reopened the plaintiff's case and permitted her to reserve the defendant. See Order, dated April 25, 2007.

On May 1, 2007, the plaintiff filed this Application for Pro Bono Counsel. See Docket Entry No. 9. In her application, plaintiff argues that she is entitled to appointed counsel because: (1) she cannot afford to hire an attorney on her own; and (2) she suffers from physical and emotional ailments that have left her "confused and unable to comprehend at times" and make it difficult to "express... feelings in person and on paper." See App. for Counsel at ¶ 3-4.

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, and must assess each application on a case by case basis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 157-58 (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 factual investigations will be necessary and the ability of the plaintiff ...


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