United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DISTRICT JUDGE LINDA V. PARKER
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON
MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL AND MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
INJUNCTION, (Docs. 20 & 21)
Patricia T. Morris United States Magistrate Judge
reasons set forth below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that
plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 20) be DENIED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and that his Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (Doc. 21) be DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Dwight Franklin Blackmon is a state prisoner who filed a
pro se complaint on July 19, 2016 alleging
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. (Doc.
1). On that same day, plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis was granted. (Doc. 2). On October
14, 2016, the case was referred to the undersigned magistrate
judge. (Doc. 15). Shortly thereafter, on October 25, 2016,
Plaintiff filed the instant motions for appointment of
counsel and preliminary injunction. (Docs. 20-21).
Motion To Appoint Counsel
further asks the Court to appoint counsel to represent him
because: (1) he “is unable to afford counsel”;
(2) the “issues involved in this case are
complex”; (3) he “has extremely limited access to
the law library”; and (4) he “has limited
knowledge of the law.” (Doc. 20).
appointment of counsel is only justified by exceptional
circumstances. Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601,
605-06 (6th Cir. 1993). In determining whether exceptional
circumstances are present, the court must consider the
“nature of the case, ” the complexity of the
factual and legal issues involved, and the plaintiffs'
ability to represent themselves. Id. at 606; see
also Shavers v. Bergh, 516 F. App'x 568, 571 (6th
Cir. 2013); Garrison v. Michigan Dep't of
Corrections, 333 F. App'x 914, 917-18 (6th Cir.
2009). The complexity of the case and the plaintiffs'
ability to handle it are “separate and distinct
considerations.” Kensu v. Rapelje, No.
12-11877, 2014 WL 585328, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 14, 2014).
For example, plaintiffs' prior pro se experience
is relevant to their ability to manage their current cases.
claims are frivolous or have “extremely slim”
chances of success, the court should not appoint counsel.
Richmond, 450 F. App'x at 452. Courts may also
decline to appoint counsel where a case has not progressed
far enough to assess its merits. See, e.g.,
Cleary v. Mukasey, 307 F. App'x 963, 965 (6th
Cir. 2009) (upholding denial where the magistrate judge
thought “it was too early to assess the merits of the
claim”). Nonetheless, a plaintiff “is not
entitled to the appointment of counsel merely because his
case may proceed to trial.” Gresham v.
Granholm, No. 2:09-cv-231, 2012 WL 3126781, at *5 (W.D.
Mich. July 31, 2012) (citing Lince v. Youngert, 136
F. App'x 779, 782-83 (6th Cir. 2005)); see also
Zibbell v. Marquette Cnty. Res. Mgmt., No. 2:12-cv-302,
2013 WL 625062, at *13 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 20, 2013) (noting
that the procedural posture of case is a consideration).
19, 2016, Plaintiff filed a competently drafted complaint
with this Court. (Doc. 1). Thereafter, he submitted four
motions on October 25, 2016, all of which included specific
grounds for the requests buttressed by case law and statutory
references. Although plaintiff's understanding of the law
seems far from perfect, the legal issues at play in this case
are not sufficiently complex to warrant appointment of
counsel at this early stage in the proceedings. This rings
especially true where, as discussed infra, the
merits of the case do not clearly favor Plaintiff. For this
reason, plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel should be
Motion for Preliminary Injunction
moves for the issuance of a preliminary injunction or
temporary restraining order “to ensure he is safe from
any further injuries/risk due to the MDOC['s]
‘mali[ci]ous negligence'” resulting from MDOC
employees' refusal to accommodate his need for a ...