United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
PAIGE J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This is a civil action filed by a pro se litigant. Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.
By order issued on August 19, 2015 the court allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to bring this case into proper form for initial review. (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff substantially complied with the court’s order.
PAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE:
Plaintiff submitted two Applications to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Form AO240), which the court construed as a motions for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF Nos. 2, 23.) A review of the motions reveal that Plaintiff should be relieved of the obligation to prepay the full filing fee. Therefore, Plaintiff’s first motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted (ECF No. 2), subject to the court’s right to require a payment if Plaintiff’s financial condition changes, and to tax fees and costs against Plaintiff at the conclusion of this case if the court finds the case to be without merit. See Flint v. Haynes, 651 F.2d 970, 972-74 (4th Cir. 1981). Plaintiff’s second motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 23) is terminated as moot.
MOTION TO FILE ELECTRONICALLY:
Plaintiff seeks permission to file electronically in this court. (ECF No. 15.) The Electronic Case Filing (“ECF”) Policies and Procedures for the District of South Carolina provide that “[o]nly attorneys admitted in this district or counsel in multi-district litigation transferred to this district may be Filing Users” of the ECF System and a “party who is not represented by an attorney shall file papers in the Traditional Filing Method” by submitting original documents bearing the signature of the pro se party. Electronic Case Filing Policies and Procedures (D.S.C.) §§ 1.3, 1.11, 3.3 (May 12, 2006) (emphasis in original). Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion to file documents electronically is denied. (ECF No. 15.)
MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL:
Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel in this case. (ECF No. 18.) Generally, there is no constitutional right to appointed counsel in civil actions. See, e.g., Mallard v. United States District Court, 490 U.S. 296, 302 (1989); Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). Whether to grant a litigant’s request for appointment of counsel is within the discretion of the district courts. See Bowman v. White, 388 F.2d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1968) (noting that appointment of counsel “is a privilege and not a right” and is “a matter within the discretion of the District Court”). Moreover, 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, 518 F.2d at 780 (4th Cir. 1975). Whether exceptional circumstances exist turns “on the quality of two basic factors-the type and complexity of the case, and the abilities of the individuals bringing it.” Brock v. City of Richmond, No. 92-6122, 1993 WL 5898, at *2 (4th Cir. Jan 14, 1993) (quoting Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard, 490 U.S. 296).
In this case, Plaintiff seeks appointment of counsel based on limited “legal resources, ” but indicates that he has the capability of assisting as “co-counsel” in this case. (ECF No. 18 at 1.) As Plaintiff has shown his ability to communicate with the court and represent his interests in this lawsuit, the court finds 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. See Whisenant, 739 F.2d at 163. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for a discretionary appointment of counsel is denied. (ECF No. 18.)
MOTION TO ORDER PAYMENT OF INVOICES:
Plaintiff seeks the payment for invoices associated with intellectual property and professional services. (ECF No. 18 at 1.) The instant case is recommended for summary dismissal in a separately docketed Report and Recommendation. Therefore, the court denies Plaintiff’s motion for the payment of invoices at this time. (ECF No. 18.)
MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE CASES:
Plaintiff seeks consolidation of this case with three other cases he has filed in this court. (ECF No. 21 at 1.) However, as the instant action is recommended for summary dismissal in a separately docketed Report and Recommendation, Plaintiff’s motion ...