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Goins v. Palmetto Health Medical Center at Park Ridge

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 9, 2015

Michael Goins, # 302385, a/k/a Michael D. Goins, Plaintiff,
Palmetto Health Medical Center at Park Ridge (PMHC); The South Carolina Department of Corrections; The Anderson Radiology Center (ARC); Dr. Chad Rubin; Doctor Parker; Doctor Scott; John Doe # 1, Nurse at PMHC; John Doe # 2, Nurse at PMHC; John Doe # 3, Nurse at ARC; John Doe # 4, Nurse at ARC; John Doe # 5, Nurse at ARC; Doctor Benjamin Lewis; NP Amy Enloe; Nurse Katherine Burgess; Nurse Lindsey Harris; Nurse Matthew Harper; Nurse Faith Chappell; Janice Phillips, Administrative Asst at SCDC Headquarters; John Doe # 6, Nurse at SCDC Headquarters; and John Doe # 7, Nurse at SCDC Headquarters, Defendants.


THOMAS E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil action filed by a state prisoner. Therefore, in the event that a limitations issue arises, Plaintiff shall have the benefit of the holding in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (prisoner's pleading was filed at the moment of delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to District Court). Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.

By Order dated November 21, 2014, Plaintiff was given a specific time frame in which to bring this case into proper form. Plaintiff has substantially complied with the court's Order.



Plaintiff's initial filing with the Court was captioned a "Motion for Medical Examination before this Claim is filed." Subsequently and pursuant to the Court's proper form order, the Plaintiff has filed a Verified Complaint on the court approved for filing a Section 1983 action. Additionally, on January 29, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion for a Physical Examination. After careful review and consideration, and in light of the Report and Recommendation recommending summary dismissal filed contemporaneously, these motions are DENIED as being Moot and/or being without sufficient legal merit. (Docs. # 3, 22).


This action has been filed by the Plaintiff, pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff has filed a motion for an appointment of counsel. (Doc. # 21).

There is no right to appointed counsel in § 1983 cases. Cf. Hardwick v. Ault, 517 F.2d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1975). While the court is granted the power to exercise its discretion to appoint counsel for an indigent in a civil action, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Smith v. Blackledge, 451 F.2d 1201 (4th Cir. 1971), such appointment "should be allowed only in exceptional cases." Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff in his motion has not shown that any exceptional circumstances exist in this case. Rather, he simply states that his case involves complex issues involving several violations of constitutional law against several defendants and that he is a pro se prisoner with limited legal knowledge and access to legal resources. (Doc. # 21).

This is a typical complaint by a prisoner seeking to pursue civil cases pro se in federal court, and after a review of the file, this court has determined that there are no exceptional or unusual circumstances presented which would justify the appointment of counsel, nor would Plaintiff be denied due process if an attorney were not appointed. Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160 (4th Cir. 1984). In most civil rights cases, the issues are not complex, and whenever such a case brought by an uncounseled litigant goes to trial, the court outlines proper procedure so the uncounseled litigant will not be deprived of a fair opportunity to present his or her case. Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for a discretionary appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. §1915 (e)(1) is DENIED. (Doc. # 21).

If a material change in the relevant circumstances develops at a later stage in the case, Plaintiff obviously may raise this issue again.


By filing this case, Plaintiff has incurred a debt to the United States of America in the amount of $350.[*] See 28 U.S.C. § 1914. This debt is not dischargeable in the event Plaintiff seeks relief under the bankruptcy provisions of the United States Code. See 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(17). The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) of 1996 permits a prisoner to file a civil action without prepayment of fees or security, but requires the prisoner "to pay the full amount of the filing fee" as funds are available. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), (b). Because the court hereafter grants Plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis, the agency having custody of Plaintiff shall collect payments from Plaintiff's prisoner trust account in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2), until the full $350 filing fee is paid. See Torres v. O'Quinn, 612 F.3d 237, 252 (4th Cir. 2010) ("We hold that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2) caps the amount of funds that may be withdrawn from an inmate's trust account at a maximum of twenty percent regardless of the number of cases or appeals the inmate has filed. ") (emphasis in original).

Plaintiff has submitted an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and Affidavit (Form AO 240) and a Financial Certificate, which are construed as a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), (2). A review of the Motion reveals that Plaintiff does not have the funds to pay the first ...

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