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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,
v.
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.

ORDER

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.

MOTIONS

MOTION FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION/MOTION FOR A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION

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).

MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL

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.

PAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE:

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 installment of the filing fee. Therefore, the amount due from Plaintiff is currently $350.

Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

TO THE CLERK OF COURT:

The Clerk is directed to add as Defendants the additional individuals listed by Plaintiff on his Verified Complaint filed on January 20, 2015.

This case is subject to summary dismissal based on an initial screening conducted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915 and/or 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Therefore, the Clerk of Court shall not issue any summonses nor shall the Clerk of Court forward this matter to the United States Marshal for service of process at this time.

The Clerk of Court shall not enter any change of address submitted by Plaintiff which directs that mail be sent to a person other than Plaintiff unless that person is an attorney admitted to practice before this court who has entered a formal appearance.

TO PLAINTIFF:

Plaintiff must place the civil action number listed above on any document provided to the court pursuant to this Order. Any future filings in this case must be sent to ((Post Office Box 2317, Florence, South Carolina 29503) the address below. All documents requiring Plaintiff's signature shall be signed with Plaintiff's full legal name written in Plaintiff's own handwriting. Pro se litigants shall not use the "s/typed name" format used in the Electronic Case Filing System. In all future filings with this court, Plaintiff is directed to use letter-sized (8½ inches by 11 inches) paper only, to write or type text on one side of a sheet of paper only and not to write or type on both sides of any sheet of paper. Plaintiff is further instructed not to write to the edge of the paper, but to maintain one inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides of each paper submitted.

Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. Plaintiff's attention is directed to the following important notice:

You are ordered to always keep the Clerk of Court advised in writing (Post Office Box 2317, Florence, South Carolina 29503) if your address changes for any reason, so as to assure that orders or other matters that specify deadlines for you to meet will be received by you. If as a result of your failure to comply with this Order, you fail to meet a deadline set by this court, your case may be dismissed for violating this Order. Therefore, if you have a change of address before this case is ended, you must comply with this Order by immediately advising the Clerk of Court in writing of such change of address and providing the court with the docket number of all pending cases you have filed with this court. Your failure to do so will not be excused by the court.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION.... PLEASE READ CAREFULLY WARNING TO PRO SE PARTY OR NONPARTY FILERS

ALL DOCUMENTS THAT YOU FILE WITH The court WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC ON THE INTERNET THROUGH PACER (PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT ELECTRONIC RECORDS) AND The court'S ELECTRONIC CASE FILING SYSTEM. CERTAIN PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN OR SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM ALL DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THE DOCUMENTS TO The court FOR FILING.

Rule 5.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for privacy protection of electronic or paper filings made with the court. Rule 5.2 applies to ALL documents submitted for filing, including pleadings, exhibits to pleadings, discovery responses, and any other document submitted by any party or nonparty for filing. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party or nonparty filer should not put certain types of an individual's personal identifying information in documents submitted for filing to any United States District Court. If it is necessary to file a document that already contains personal identifying information, the personal identifying information should be "blacked out" or redacted prior to submitting the document to the Clerk of Court for filing. A person filing any document containing their own personal identifying information waives the protection of Rule 5.2(a) by filing the information without redaction and not under seal.

1. Personal information protected by Rule 5.2(a):

(a) Social Security and Taxpayer identification numbers. If an individual's social security number or a taxpayer identification number must be included in a document, the filer may include only the last four digits of that number.

(b) Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, the filer may include only the initials of that child.

(c) Dates of Birth. If an individual's date of birth must be included in a document, the filer may include only the year of birth.

(d) Financial Account Numbers. If financial account numbers are relevant, the filer may include only the last four digits of these numbers.

2. Protection of other sensitive personal information - such as driver's license numbers and alien registration numbers - may be sought under Rule 5.2(d)(filings made under seal) and (e) (protective orders).


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