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Lester Dobbey (#R-16237 v. Liping Zhang

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

January 23, 2012


Name of Assigned Judge ROBERT M. DOW, JR. Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge



Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [62] is respectfully denied, without prejudice.

O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants, correctional officials and health care providers at the Stateville Correctional Center, have violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he has received inadequate care and treatment for chronic back problems. This matter is before the Court for ruling on Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel.

The motion is respectfully denied. There is no constitutional or statutory right to counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (2010); see also Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). Nevertheless, the district court has discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) to request counsel for an indigent litigant. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007), citing Johnson, 433 F.3d at 1006. When a pro se litigant submits a request for appointment of counsel, the Court must first consider whether the indigent plaintiff has made reasonable attempts to secure counsel on his own, or conversely, if he has been precluded from doing so. Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 654. Next, the Court must evaluate the complexity of the case and whether the plaintiff appears competent to litigate it on his own. Id. at 654-55. Another consideration is whether the assistance of counsel would provide a substantial benefit to the Court or the parties, potentially affecting the outcome of the case. Id. at 654; Gil v. Reed, 381 F.3d 649, 656 (7th Cir. 2004); see also Local Rule 83.36(c) (N.D. Ill.) (listing the factors to be taken into account in determining whether to appoint counsel).

After considering the pertinent factors, the Court concludes that appointment of counsel is not warranted at this time. Although the complaint sets forth cognizable claims, Plaintiff has alleged no physical or mental disability that might preclude him from adequately investigating the facts giving rise to his complaint. Neither the legal issues raised in the complaint nor the evidence that might support Plaintiff's claims are so complex or intricate that a trained attorney is necessary. Plaintiff is an experienced litigator, whose submissions to date in this and other cases (10-cv-3965, 11-cv-146, 11-cv-2374, 11-cv-3000) have been coherent and articulate; he appears more than capable of presenting his argument at this state of the case. Although Plaintiff's pro se, incarcerated status may prevent him from taking Defendants' oral depositions, he is free to serve depositions upon written questions in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 31. It should additionally be noted that the Court grants pro se litigants wide latitude in the handling of their lawsuits. Therefore, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied at this time. Should the case proceed to a point that assistance of counsel is appropriate, the Court may revisit this request.


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