United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL,
MOTION TO COMPEL MEDIATION, AND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE
the Court are pro se Plaintiff Jeremy Hughes's
Motion to Compel Arbitration or Mediation, Motion for
Appointment of Counsel, and Motion for Leave to Proceed
in forma pauperis [Docs. 30 & 31]. Plaintiff is
currently incarcerated in Florida and unable to retain legal
counsel to assist him in this case. Therefore, Plaintiff
requests the Court compel arbitration or mediation and/or
appoint counsel to represent him in this case. Defendant
Polar Corp. (MA) opposes Plaintiff's Motion to Compel
Arbitration or Mediation. For the following reasons,
Plaintiff's Motions to Compel Arbitration or Mediation
and for Appointment of Counsel [Doc. 30] are DENIED, and
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. 31] is MOOT.
February 16, 2016, with assistance of counsel, Plaintiff
brought this disability discrimination suit against his
former employer, Defendant Polar Corp. (MA). However, shortly
thereafter, the Court permitted Plaintiff's counsel to
withdraw from the case. The Court provided Plaintiff over
five months to obtain new counsel, as he is incarcerated in
Florida, and discovery in the case remained stayed. On May 4,
2017, Plaintiff sought a third extension or, in the
alternative, requested the Court appoint a mediator. The
Court denied Plaintiff's requests and instructed him to
proceed with the case pro se. The stay of discovery
was lifted on June 2, 2017.
5, 2017, Plaintiff filed several Motions requesting the Court
to compel mediation or arbitration, appoint him counsel, and
provide him leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
According to Plaintiff, prior to his counsel's
withdrawal, Defendant was willing to participate in mediation
or arbitration and only refuses to participate now because
Plaintiff has not obtained replacement counsel. Thus,
Plaintiff contends the Court should appoint him counsel and
compel arbitration or mediation. In addition, Plaintiff
argues the Court should still appoint him counsel even if it
does not compel arbitration or mediation because Plaintiff is
unable to properly articulate his claims for relief, and
imprisonment greatly limits his ability to litigate this
case. The Court will address each in Motion in turn.
as already explained in the June 2, 2017 Order, the Court
will not appoint a mediator when Defendant does not intend to
facilitate a settlement in this case. Defendant still opposes
Plaintiff's request because it does not wish to settle
the case. Thus, the Court will not compel mediation, and this
Motion is DENIED.
“[i]n the absence of an agreement to arbitrate, a court
cannot compel the parties to settle their dispute in an
arbitral forum.” Plaintiff makes no claim that the parties
entered into an arbitration agreement, and there is no
indication that one exists. Therefore, the Court cannot
compel arbitration in this case, and the Motion is DENIED.
a civil plaintiff has no constitutional right to counsel, but
the district court may appoint one for an indigent
plaintiff. However, a district court is only
justified in appointing counsel in “exceptional cases,
such as the presence of facts and legal issues [which] are so
novel or complex as to require the assistance of a trained
practioner.” “Where the facts and issues are
simple, he or she usually will not need such
help.” The Court “has broad discretion in
determining whether such circumstances
exist.” After reviewing the record and pleadings
in this case, the Court finds there are no “exceptional
circumstances” warranting the appointment of counsel.
This case is not so complex legally or factually as to
prevent Plaintiff from presenting the essential merits of his
position to the Court. Accordingly, the Court will not
appoint counsel for Plaintiff, and the Motion is DENIED.
Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis
because he is unable to afford counsel. However,
Plaintiff has already paid the filing fee in this case. Thus,
Plaintiff's Motion is MOOT.
on the foregoing, Plaintiff's Motions to Compel
Arbitration or Mediation and for Appointment of Counsel [Doc.
30] are DENIED, and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 31] is MOOT.
Klay v. All Defendant, 389
F.3d 1191, 1200 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing AT&T Techs.,
Inc. v. Communications Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, ...