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Gregory v. Santos

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


July 29, 2009

DAVID W. GREGORY, INMATE #B- 63881, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VERENIO SANTOS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff David W. Gregory's Appeal of Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud's Order Denying Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 69). Judge Proud engaged in the analysis mandated by Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647 (7th Cir.2007). He determined that Gregory had made reasonable efforts to retain counsel. However, Judge Proud found that this case is a relatively straightforward action alleging deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Judge Proud also found that Plaintiff has been able to understand the issues and communicate his positions to the Court. Therefore, Judge Proud determined that Gregory is competent to represent himself in this matter.

A district court reviewing a magistrate judge's decision on nondispositive issues should only modify or set aside that decision if it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Accordingly, the Court will affirm Magistrate Judge Proud's decision unless his factual findings are clearly erroneous or his legal conclusions are contrary to law. Id.

Judge Proud's factual findings and legal conclusions are well supported by the record. Gregory's filings demonstrate that he is competent to understand the issues and to coherently present the case to the judge or jury himself. Pruitt, 503 F. 3d at 655. At this point in the litigation, discovery has been limited to the narrow question of whether Gregory exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing suit. The facts and the law on this issue are simple and straightforward. Should the case take on greater legal or factual complexity as it progresses, Gregory is free to renew his motion for appointment of counsel at that time. However, at this time, the Court finds that Gregory is competent to represent himself in this litigation. Therefore, the Court DENIES Gregory's Appeal (Doc. 69).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090729

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