United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court are Plaintiff's “Motion to Amended
Grounds”, which the Court construes as a Motion to
Amend, and Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel.
(Docs. 52, 54.) Defendants filed a Response to
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. (Doc. 53.) For the reasons
which follow, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and DENIES
Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel. The Court
DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to docket
Plaintiff's “Motion to Amended Grounds” as a
separate docket entry entitled “Plaintiff's
April 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, levying allegations pertaining to the
conditions of his confinement at Georgia State Prison. (Doc.
1.) The Court directed service of Plaintiff's Complaint
upon Nurse Strickland and Officer Brantley on August 8, 2016.
(Doc. 8.) On October 11, 2016, Defendant Strickland filed a
Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 10), and Plaintiff filed Responses,
(docs. 16, 17). The Court stayed the proceedings in this case
upon Defendant Strickland's Motion on November 15, 2016.
(Doc. 19.) Defendant Brantley filed his Answer to
Plaintiff's Complaint on September 11,
2017.(Doc. 49.) Plaintiff filed his Motion to
Amend on October 2, 2017, nearly an entire year after
Defendant Strickland filed her Motion to Dismiss but within
twenty-one (21) days of the filing of Defendant
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend (Doc. 52)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1), a party may amend
his complaint once as a matter of right within twenty-one
(21) days after service of a responsive pleading or a motion
under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f). Even when a party may not amend
as a matter of right, he may amend with the opposing
party's written consent or the court's leave.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “The court should freely give
leave when justice so requires.” Id. While
leave to amend is generally freely given, it is by no means
guaranteed. “The function of Rule 15(a), which provides
generally for the amendment of pleadings, is to enable a
party to assert matters that were overlooked or were unknown
at the time he interposed the original complaint or
answer.” 6 Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice
and Procedure: Civil 2d § 1473. However, the decision on
whether to grant a motion to amend is within the sound
discretion of the trial court. Addington v. Farmer's
Elevator Mut. Ins. Co., 650 F.2d 663, 666 (5th Cir.
1981). “In making this determination, a court should
consider whether there has been undue delay in filing, bad
faith or dilatory motives, prejudice to the opposing parties,
and the futility of the amendment.” Cooks v. United
States, No. CV 114-195, 2015 WL 7069665, at *1 (S.D. Ga.
Nov. 13, 2015) (quoting Saewitz v. Lexington Ins.
Co., 133 F. App'x 695, 699 (11th Cir. 2005)).
oppose Plaintiff's Motion. According to Defendants,
Plaintiff's desired amendment would be futile, and the
Court would not err by denying Plaintiff's Motion. (Doc.
53, p. 1.) Defendants assert Plaintiff does not add any new
claims or parties or make any new, meaningful factual
averments in his proposed amendment. (Id. at p. 2.)
Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend. In this Motion, Plaintiff only makes factual
allegations against Defendant Brantley, and Plaintiff filed
his Motion within twenty-one (21) days of the filing of
Defendant Brantley's Answer. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). The
allegations in his Motion to Amend clarify and supplement
Plaintiff's allegations against Defendant Brantley. Under
Rule 15(a)(2), Plaintiff's proposed amendment was not
made in bad faith, and there is no showing that he was
dilatory in moving to amend his Complaint. What is more,
Defendant Brantley will not be prejudiced as a result of this
amendment. Thus, under either standard contained in Rule
15(a), Plaintiff's proffered amendment is permissible.
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to
docket Plaintiff's “Motion to Amended
Grounds” as a separate docket entry entitled
“Plaintiff's Supplemental Complaint”, as the
contentions set forth therein cannot serve to replace
Plaintiff's original Complaint.
Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc.
noted above, Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Appointment of
Counsel seeking assistance in this case. (Doc. 54.) In this
civil case, Plaintiff has no constitutional right to the
appointment of counsel. Wright v. Langford, 562 F.
App'x 769, 777 (11th Cir. 2014) (citing Bass v.
Perrin, 170 F.3d 1312, 1320 (11th Cir. 1999)).
“Although a court may, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1), appoint counsel for an indigent plaintiff, it has
broad discretion in making this decision, and should appoint
counsel only in exceptional circumstances.”
Id. (citing Bass, 170 F.3d at 1320).
Appointment of counsel in a civil case is a “privilege
that is justified only by exceptional circumstances, such as
where the facts and legal issues are so novel or complex as
to require the assistance of a trained practitioner.”
Fowler v. Jones, 899 F.2d 1088, 1096 (11th Cir.
1990) (citing Poole v. Lambert, 819 F.2d 1025, 1028
(11th Cir. 1987), and Wahl v. McIver, 773 F.2d 1169,
1174 (11th Cir. 1985)). The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
has explained that “the key” to assessing whether
counsel should be appointed “is whether the pro
se litigant needs help in presenting the essential
merits of his or her position to the court. Where the facts
and issues are simple, he or she usually will not need such
help.” McDaniels v. Lee, 405 F. App'x 456,
457 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Kilgo v. Ricks, 983
F.2d 189, 193 (11th Cir. 1993)).
Court has reviewed the record and pleadings in this case and
finds no “exceptional circumstances” warranting
the appointment of counsel. While the Court understands that
Plaintiff is incarcerated, this Court has repeatedly found
that “prisoners do not receive special consideration
notwithstanding the challenges of litigating a case while
incarcerated.” Hampton v. Peeples, No. CV
614-104, 2015 WL 4112435, at *2 (S.D. Ga. July 7, 2015).
“Indeed, the Eleventh Circuit has consistently upheld
district courts' decisions to refuse appointment of
counsel in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions similar to this case
for want of exceptional circumstances.” Id.
(citing Smith v. Warden, Hardee Corr. Inst., 597 F.
App'x 1027, 1030 (11th Cir. 2015); Wright, 562
F. App'x at 777; Faulkner v. Monroe Cty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 523 F. App'x 696, 702 (11th
Cir. 2013); McDaniels, 405 F. App'x at 457;
Sims v. Nguyen, 403 F. App'x 410, 414 (11th Cir.
2010); Fowler, 899 F.2d at 1091, 1096; and
Wahl, 773 F.2d at 1174). This case is not so complex
legally or factually to prevent Plaintiff from presenting
“the essential merits of his position” to the
Court. In fact, Plaintiff has ably filed motions and other
pleadings in this case, all of which indicate his ability to
present the essential merits of his claims to this Court. For
these reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs
above-stated reasons, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiffs Motion to Amend and DENIES his
Motion for Appointment of Counsel. The Court
DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to docket
Plaintiffs “Motion to Amended Grounds” as a