United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
unopposed motion to stay the case, pending disposition of his
motions to dismiss the Complaint (doc. 11), is
GRANTED. See S.D. Ga. L. R. 7.5
(“Failure to respond within the applicable time period
shall indicate that there is no opposition to a
motion.”). In lieu of opposing the pending motion to
dismiss, plaintiff Howard Jordan cited Ortega v.
Christian, 85 F.3d 1521, 1525 (11th Cir. 1996) and
“objected” that he requires the appointment of
counsel at public expense to meaningfully answer. Doc. 13;
see also doc. 14 (requesting appointment of
civil case, however, plaintiff has no constitutional right to
the appointment of counsel. Wright v. Langford, 562
Fed.Appx. 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.”
Wright, 562 Fed.Appx. at 777 (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)).
Eleventh Circuit 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
Fed.Appx. 456, 457 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Kilgo v.
Ricks, 983 F.2d 189, 193 (11th Cir. 1993)). A review of
the record and pleadings in this case reveals no such
“exceptional circumstances” warranting the
appointment of counsel.
plaintiff is incarcerated, this Court has repeatedly found
that “prisoners do not receive special consideration
notwithstanding the challenges of litigating a case while
incarcerated.” See, e.g., Hampton v.
Peeples, 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
Fed.Appx. 1027, 1030 (11th Cir. 2015); Wright, 562 Fed.Appx.
at 777; Faulkner v. Monroe Cty. Sheriff's
Dep't, 523 Fed.Appx. 696, 702 (11th Cir. 2013);
McDaniels, 405 Fed.Appx. at 457; Sims v.
Nguyen, 403 Fed.Appx. 410, 414 (11th Cir. 2010);
Fowler, 899 F.2d at 1091, 1096; Wahl, 773
F.2d at 1174). This case is not so complex, legally or
factually, as to prevent plaintiff from presenting “the
essential merits of his position” to the Court. His
request for appointment of counsel (doc. 14) is
also asks for an Order “to give [him] access to the law
library.” Docs. 13 at 1 & 14 at 1. It is unclear
what he seeks or whether he is being deprived of any access,
or merely unfettered access, to the Chatham County Detention
Center (CCDC) law library tablets. Jordan is proceeding
pro se in this case, and is thus unrepresented by
counsel. He therefore has a right to meaningful access to the
courts, including some right to legal research material.
See Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977);
Bowens v. Sikes, 2017 WL 486266 at *4 (S.D. Ga. Jan.
4, 2017); see also Bass v. Singletary, 143 F.3d
1442, 1445 (11th Cir. 1998) (deprivation of that right may be
actionable where “the prison official's actions
which allegedly infringed on an inmate's right of access
to the courts [ ] frustrated or impeded the inmate's
efforts to pursue a nonfrivolous legal claim.”).
the Court cannot provide Jordan with an Order to increase his
law library privileges beyond what the CCDC deems adequate,
as that type of relief is outside the scope of his current
lawsuit. See doc. 1. His motion is therefore
DENIED. The Court hopes, however, that by
clarifying that service has been authorized on defendant in
this case (see docs. 7 & 8), further
clarification regarding Jordan's pro se status
(i.e., self-representation in this Court and need
for law library services and legal research materials) will