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Norman v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 25, 2019

KEVIN NORMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPTAIN CARLA TAYLOR and WARDEN DAVID OWENS, Defendants.

         APPEARANCES:

          Kevin Norman, Plaintiff Pro Se.

          OPINION

          Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is plaintiff Kevin Norman's ("Plaintiff") December 18, 2018 Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel ("Plaintiff s Motion") . (D.E. 26.)

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion without prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff initiated this matter on December 9, 2016 with a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County Correctional Facility ("CCCF") and Captain Carla Taylor and Warden David Owens (Taylor and Owens referred to as "the Individual Defendants") for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (D.E. 1.) On October 20, 2017, this Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's claims against defendant CCCF and proceeded Plaintiff's claims against the Individual Defendants. (D.E. 4; D.E. 5.)

         Before the Individual Defendants answered the Complaint, Plaintiff moved on November 20, 2017 for appointment of pro bono counsel. (D.E. 7.) On November 29, 2017, Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio denied Plaintiff's request without prejudice. (D.E. 11 ("[T]he Court finds that an appointment of pro bono counsel would be premature at this stage").)

         On December 19, 2017, the Individual Defendants filed an Answer to the Complaint. (D.E. 15.) Thereafter, the parties participated in several scheduling conferences before Judge Donio.

         On November 13, 2018, the Individual Defendants moved for summary judgment. (D.E. 22.) On December 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed opposition to their summary judgment motion and requested further extension of time. (D.E. 25.) That same day, he filed his Motion To Appoint Pro Bono Counsel (D.E. 26), which the Court now considers in the instant Opinion.[1]

         III. DISCUSSION

         Indigent persons raising civil rights claims have no absolute right to counsel. See Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997). As a threshold matter, there must be some merit in fact or law to the claims the plaintiff is attempting to assert. See Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 155 (3d Cir. 1993). If the court finds that it does, the court should consider the following factors: (1) the plaintiff's ability to present his or her own case; (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 investigation; (4) the amount a case is likely to turn on credibility determinations; (5) whether the case will require the testimony of expert witnesses; and (6) whether the plaintiff can attain and afford counsel on his own behalf. See Id. at 155-56, 157 n.5; see also Cuevas v. United States, 422 Fed.Appx. 142, 144-45 (3d Cir. 2011) (reiterating the Tabron factors). The Tabron list of factors is not exhaustive, nor is a single factor determinative. Parham, 126 F.3d at 458.

         As the Court permitted the Plaintiff's Complaint to proceed against the Individual Defendants when it performed sua sponte screening under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(2) (D.E. 4; D.E. 5), there ...


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