United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
William Edward Jones, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections, who is currently incarcerated at Taylorville
Correctional Center, commenced this action by filing a
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation
of his constitutional rights, which occurred while he was a
detainee at Jefferson County Justice Center
(“Jail”) located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The
original Complaint and First Amended Complaint were both
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state claim upon
which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A.
(See Docs. 13, 17). Plaintiff was granted leave to
file a Second Amended Complaint on or before October 14,
2019. (Doc. 17).
October 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed Motion to Postpone (Doc.
18), which is now before the Court. In the motion, Plaintiff
requests to postpone his case so that he may obtain counsel.
(Id.). He states that because he has already filed a
complaint and an amended complaint, he is confused about the
Court's order to file a Second Amended Complaint, and so
he is also trying to obtain counsel. (Id.).
extent Plaintiff is requesting the Court to recruit counsel
to represent him, such request is denied. A district court
“may request an attorney to represent any person unable
to afford counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). There
is no constitutional or statutory right to counsel for a
civil litigant, however. Stroe v. Immigration and
Naturalization Serv., 256 F.3d 498, 500 (7th Cir. 2001);
Zarnes v. Rhodes, 64 F.3d 285, 288 (7th Cir. 1995).
Recruitment of counsel lies within the sound discretion of
the trial court. See Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647,
654 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Johnson v. Doughty, 433
F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006)).
determining whether to recruit counsel, the Court is directed
to make a two-fold inquiry: “(1) has the indigent
plaintiff made a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or been
effectively precluded from doing so; and if so, (2) given the
difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent
to litigate it himself?” Pruitt, 503 F.3d at
654 (citing Farmer v. Haas, 990 F.2d 319, 321-22
(7th Cir. 1993)). The first prong of the analysis is a
threshold question. If a plaintiff has made no attempt to
obtain counsel on his own, the court should deny the request.
See Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 655.
Plaintiff does not provide any information regarding attempts
to recruit counsel on his own or whether he has been
effectively precluded from doing so. Because he has not made
this showing, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not made a
reasonable attempt to find counsel. Should Plaintiff choose
to move for recruitment of counsel at a later date, the Court
directs Plaintiff to: (1) contact at least three attorneys
regarding representation in this case prior to filing another
motion; (2) include in the motion the names and address of at
least three attorneys he has contacted; and (3) if available,
attach the letters from the attorneys who declined
request to postpone the litigation is also denied. Both of
Plaintiff's previous complaints were dismissed without
prejudice. Plaintiff has filed his lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, which requires him to allege that a
person's conduct acting under the color of law deprived
him “of any rights privileges, or immunities secured by
the Constitution”. Id. Section 1983 also
“creates a cause of action based on personal liability
and predicated upon fault; thus liability does not attach
unless the individual defendant caused or participated in a
constitutional violation.” Vance v. Peters, 97
F.3d 987, 991 (7th Cir. 1996).
merit review order of the First Amended Complaint, (Doc. 17),
Plaintiff's claim that Defendant Hanes subjected him to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement by placing him in
a cell that did not have a working fire sprinkler was
dismissed because, as pled, the claim did not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation (Count 1). (Doc. 17, p.
4). Furthermore, his second claim that Defendants violated
his constitutional rights by retaliating against him for
filing a lawsuit was also dismissed because he did not assert
this claim against any named Defendant (Count 2). (Doc. 17,
pp. 4-5). Although the First Amended Complaint was dismissed,
the Court granted Plaintiff a third opportunity to file
another complaint, fix the deficiencies in his First Amended
Complaint, and plead viable claims. (Doc. 17, p. 5).
Court will not postpone the litigation while Plaintiff
attempts to seek legal counsel, but Plaintiff is granted an
extension to file his Second Amended Complaint. The Second
Amended Complaint shall be filed on or before
November 6, 2019. If Plaintiff fails to file
a Second Amended Complaint within the allotted time or
consistent with the instructions set forth in this Order or
the merit review order of the First Amended Complaint, (Doc.
17), the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice for
failure to comply with a court order and/or for failure to
prosecute his claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Ladien v.
Astrachan, 128 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 1997); Johnson v.
Kamminga, 34 F.3d 466 (7th Cir. 1994); 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). The dismissal shall also count as one of
Plaintiff's three allotted “strikes” under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to Postpone is
DENIED (Doc. 18). Plaintiff is
GRANTED an extension to file his Second
Amended Complaint, which shall be due on or before
November 6, 2019.