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 Amy Victoria Ramirez Rodriguez
(“Plaintiff”) for the appointment of pro
bono counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) [ECF
No. 22]. Plaintiff's Motion is supported by Defendants
[ECF No. 29]. For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiff's Motion for the appointment of pro
bono counsel [ECF No. 22] is DENIED.
initiated this action on February 8, 2019 by filing a
Complaint and an application to proceed in forma
pauperis in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York. ECF Nos. 1, 2. The Court
granted Plaintiff's application to procced in forma
pauperis on March 14, 2019. ECF No. 4. On March 15,
2019, Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 5.
Thereafter, on March 29, 2019, the case was transferred from
the Southern District of New York to the District of New
Jersey. ECF No. 7.
17, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file a Second
Amended Complaint. ECF No. 20. Plaintiff filed her Second
Amended Complaint on August 8, 2019. ECF No.
Plaintiff-a former employee of Defendant Morgan
Stanley-alleges discrimination and retaliation on the basis
of her disability and discrimination on the basis of her
“race, ethnic origin, and sex” in violation of
various statutes including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the New York State
Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”), the New York City
Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), the New Jersey Law
Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), and the Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). See ECF No.
36. All Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint on August 26, 2019. ECF No. 43. On
December 13, 2019, the Court issued an order granting
Plaintiff thirty (30) days to file a Third Amended Complaint
to supersede and replace Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint and administratively denying as moot
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Second
Amended Complaint. See ECF No. 57.
now 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) (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 at 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.
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, two Amended Complaints, several letters to the
Court, and the present motion for the appointment of pro
bono counsel. These filings themselves demonstrate that
Plaintiff is able to present her case. Plaintiff's
application for pro bono counsel states that she
seeks counsel because “an attorney can guide [her]
understanding of legal writing, research and
procedures” and “pro bono counsel would help
[her] translate [her] claims into arguments developed
properly for the Court . . . .” Dkt. No. 22 at p. 3.
Defendants agree that “pro bono counsel would relieve a
burden on the Court and Defendants as such counsel would
provide the necessary legal advice to assist Plaintiff with
streamlining her assertion of claims and