Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Corradi v. N.J. State Parole Board

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

October 24, 2018

LOUIS CORRADI, Plaintiff,
v.
NJ STATE PAROLE BOARD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DOUGLAS E. ARPERT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The following matters are before the Court: Plaintiff's second Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), ECF No. 32; Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint, ECF No. 36; and Plaintiff's Application for an Order for the USMS to Serve Subpoenas, ECF Nos. 34, 39. The Court has fully considered Plaintiff's motions and application and, having declined to hold oral argument pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b), for the reasons set forth below Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel, Motion to Amend the Complaint, and Application for an Order for the USMS to Serve Subpoenas are DENIED.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is a pro se civil litigant proceeding in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. ECF No. 4. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges violations of his civil rights in connection with his April 15, 2015 arrest. ECF No. 1. The original Complaint, filed on August 17, 2016, when Plaintiff was incarcerated, named 15 defendants. Id. Upon screening the Complaint in November 2017 pursuant to §1915(e)(2)(B), U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson allowed Plaintiff's §1983 claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and illegal search to proceed against Defendants Kimberly Cavanaugh and Michelle Rey, while his claims against all other named defendants were dismissed. ECF No. 14.

         On December 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel claiming “he is ‘unfamiliar with Federal Court procedure and [is] not versed in Federal law.'” ECF No. 16 at 2. This Court denied that motion as premature, because the factual and legal issues had not been developed with the case then at its earliest stages. Id. This Court also stated that Plaintiff's admitted unfamiliarity “with Federal Court procedure” and with federal law alone are “not a basis for appointing counsel, because it is a limitation held in common by most pro se parties.” Id. (citing Hooks v. Schultz, No. 07-5627, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7344, at *1 n.2 (D.N.J. Jan. 29, 2010)). Lastly, this Court ruled that Plaintiff's in forma pauperis status and statements that he could not afford counsel also were “insufficient to grant Plaintiff's motion.” Id.

         On August 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed his second Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel. ECF No. 32. On September 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Motion to Amend the Complaint seeking to join an individual defendant. ECF No. 36. On August 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Application for an Order for the USMS to Serve Subpoenas, stating that he “had no money to cover the cost of this action” and that the subpoenas “are an integral part of my case” and were needed “to further pursue this current case at bar.” ECF No. 34.

         II. Legal Standard for the Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel

         Although there is no right to counsel in a civil case, Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153-54 (3d Cir. 1993), pursuant to §1915(e)(1), “[t]he court may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel.” Appointment of counsel under § 1915(e)(1) may be made at any point in the litigation and may be made by the Court sua sponte. See Tabron, 6 F.3d at 156.

         When deciding whether to appoint counsel under § 1915, the Court must be persuaded that Plaintiff's claim has some merit in law and fact. Id. at 155. If the Court finds Plaintiff's claim has merit, the Court then must weigh a variety of factors to decide whether it is appropriate to appoint counsel: (1) the applicant's ability to present his or her case; (2) the complexity of the legal issues presented; (3) the degree to which factual investigation is required and the ability of the applicant to pursue such investigation; (4) whether credibility determinations will play a significant role in the resolution of the applicant's claims (5) whether the case will require testimony from expert witnesses; and (6) whether the applicant can afford counsel on his or her own behalf. Tabron, 6 F.3d at 155-157. Other factors such as “the lack of funding to pay appointed counsel, the limited supply of competent lawyers willing to do pro bono work, and the value of lawyers' time” also must be considered when deciding an application for the appointment of pro bono counsel. Jenkins v. D'Amico, No. 06-2027, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59102, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 22, 2006) (citing Tabron, 6 F.3d at 157-58).

         III. Discussion

         Judge Wolfson's ruling allowing Plaintiff's § 1983 claims to proceed against Defendants Kimberly Cavanaugh and Michelle Rey means the Complaint has at least some merit on its face. Thus, the Court can proceed to examine the Tabron factors.

         Fewer than 10 months ago, this Court denied Plaintiff's first Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel for the reasons stated above. The Court notes that little has changed beyond the filing of an Answer in March 2018 by the only two remaining defendants. ECF No. 26. This Court earlier found that Plaintiff's admitted unfamiliarity “with Federal Court procedure” and with federal law alone are “not a basis for appointing counsel, because it is a limitation held in common by most pro se parties.” Plaintiff now adds that with the case at the discovery stage Plaintiff “will need to file motions with the Court and I am unsure what to do.” ECF No. 32 at 3. And yet in the intervening 10 months, Plaintiff has competently filed a Motion Seeking Summary Judgment, ECF No. 31, the instant Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel, an Application for Issuance of Subpoenas, ECF No. 33, an Application for an Order for the Marshall's Service to Serve Subpoenas, as well as the instant Motion to Amend the Complaint. ECF No. 36. Only the last is facially deficient, a matter to be discussed below. Furthermore, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the legal issues involved here and any necessary factual investigation, credibility determinations, or expert testimony warrant the appointment of counsel. It still appears, as it did 10 months ago, that this matter presents relatively straightforward legal issues and is not unusually complex, and that Plaintiff appears capable of-and indeed has-presenting his claims without the assistance of counsel.

         This motion, therefore, is denied.

         IV. Legal Standard for a Motion ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.