United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION AND ORDER
B. CLARK, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion by pro
se Plaintiff Guilio Mesadieu for the appointment of
pro bono counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). [ECF No. 16]. Plaintiff's Motion is unopposed.
For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion for
the appointment of pro bono counsel [ECF No. 16] is
5, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing his
Complaint and an application to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 1. In an Order entered by this Court
on September 7, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's
in forma pauperis application, dismissed several
counts in Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a
claim, and Denied Plaintiff's request for injunctive
relief without prejudice. ECF No. 3. The Order also provided
that Plaintiff may amend his Complaint within thirty days
from the date of the Order. Id. After timely
submitting his Amended Complaint, the Court Ordered that
Counts III and IX as to Plaintiff's 2001, 2003, and 2006
arrests and Count VIII as to Plaintiff's 2003 arrest may
claims in this action arise from multiple incidents that
allegedly occurred over a five-year period. According to
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was
“unlawfully [p]hysically assault[ed]” and
illegally searched by multiple named Defendants. Am. Compl.
at 16, 19. As a result, Plaintiff now seeks an injunction and
monetary relief in the form of compensatory and punitive
damages. Id. at 3.
seeks the appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e), which provides that “[t]he court may request
an attorney to represent any person unable to afford
counsel.” The appointment of counsel is a privilege,
not a statutory or constitutional right. Brightwell v.
Lehman, 637 F.3d 187, 192 (3d Cir. 2011). The decision
to appoint pro bono counsel involves a two-step analysis.
First, a court must determine, as a threshold matter, whether
a plaintiff's claim has “some merit in fact and
law.” Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 155 (3d
Cir. 1993). If a court finds that the action arguably has
merit, it should then consider the following factors:
(1) the plaintiff's ability to present his or her own
(2) the complexity of the legal issues;
(3) the degree to which factual investigation will be
necessary and the ability of the plaintiff to pursue such
(4) the amount a case is likely to turn on credibility
(5) whether the case will require the testimony of expert
(6) whether the plaintiff can attain and afford counsel on
his own behalf.
Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 457 (3d Cir. 1997)
(citing Tabron, 6 F.3d at 155-56, 157 n.5). This
list is not exhaustive, but rather provides guideposts for
the Court. Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 499
(3d Cir. 2002) (additional citations omitted). A court's
decision to appoint counsel “must be made on a
case-by-case basis.” Tabron, 6 F.3d at 157-58.
Additionally, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has stated
that “courts should exercise care in appointing counsel
because volunteer lawyer time is a precious commodity and
should not be wasted on frivolous cases.”
Montgomery, 294 F.3d 499 (citing Parham,
126 F.3d at 458).
as an initial matter and regardless of whether or not
Plaintiff's claims have merit, the factual and legal
issues “have not been tested or developed by the
general course of litigation, making [a number of factors] of
Parham's test particularly difficult to
evaluate.” See Chatterjee v. Philadelphia
Federation of Teachers, 2000 WL 1022979 at *1 (E.D.Pa.
July 18, 2000) (stating that unlike Parham, which
concerned a directed verdict ruling, and Tabron,
which involved summary judgment adjudication, plaintiff's
claims asserted in the complaint and motions “have
barely been articulated” and have a distinctive
procedural posture). With respect to the Tabron
factors, Plaintiff has not demonstrated at this stage of the
proceeding that pro bono counsel is warranted.
Plaintiff's application for pro bono counsel,
Plaintiff states: “I am not well verse[d] in civil law
and need legal assistance.” ECF No. 16 at 3. Although
Plaintiff's legal experience may not be on the same level
as an attorney's, Plaintiff's filings with the Court
thus far reflect literacy and the ability to reference
relevant legal authority. For example, without the assistance
of counsel, Plaintiff has filed a Complaint, an application
to proceed in forma pauperis, an Amended Complaint,
and the present motion for the appointment of pro