United States District Court, D. South Carolina
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
Sharod Addison (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional
rights by Investigator Danny Catoe and the South Carolina
Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) (collectively
“Defendants”). This matter comes before the court
on Plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel [ECF No. 14],
motion to compel [ECF No. 16], motion for a hearing [ECF No.
18], and Defendants’ motion to amend their answer [ECF
Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint Counsel
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). Rather, he simply states that he is a pro
se prisoner with limited legal knowledge and access to
legal resources. [ECF No. 14].
a typical complaint by prisoners 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 that 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 case. Accordingly,
Plaintiff’s request for a discretionary appointment of
counsel under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(1) is denied.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel
motion to compel, Plaintiff seeks an order compelling
Defendants to produce a copy of the SCDC
“Investigations” policy. [ECF No. 14 at 2].
Plaintiff sought this policy in his requests for production
and Defendants objected to producing it because it is a
restricted policy, and its production would jeopardize the
safety of the officers and staff at SCDC and would impede on
their ability to maintain proper order within SCDC’s
institutions. [ECF No. 15 at 3]. Defendants argue in their
response that the information within the investigations
policy is classified, as it identifies the minutest specifics
as to the investigative procedure, including investigative
procedures and techniques. Id. at 4.
did not file a reply. Additionally, Plaintiff has not
provided any reason why he needs the document. The requested
document is not relevant to whether Defendants violated
Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Assuming,
arguendo, that Defendants violated SCDC policy,
Plaintiff must still show that Defendants violated his
constitutional rights. See United States v. Caceres,
440 U.S. 741 (1978); see also Johnson v. S.C. Dep’t
of Corrections, No. 06-2062, 2007 WL 904826 at *12
(D.S.C. Mar. 21, 2007) (“Plaintiff’s allegation
that Defendants did not follow their own policies fails, as
the failure of prison officials to follow their own policies
or procedures, standing alone, does not amount to a
constitutional violation.”) (citing Riccio v.
County of Fairfax, Virginia, 907 F.2d 1459,
1469 (4th Cir. 1990)). Because Plaintiff has not shown that
he is entitled to the document, his motion to compel is
Plaintiff’s Motion for a Hearing
motion for a hearing, Plaintiff requests a trial date. If
this matter survives dispositive motions, which are due by
November 28, 2016, a trial date will be scheduled.
Plaintiff’s motion is denied as premature at this time.
Defendants’ Motion to Amend Answer
seek to amend their answer to include additional defenses,
such as immunity. [ECF Nos. 17, 17-1]. Plaintiff argues
Defendants’ motion should be denied because it was not
filed within 21 days after it was served. [ECF No. 19].
However, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) allows a party to amend a
pleading with leave of court and further states “[t]he
court should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” “A motion to amend should be denied
only when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing
party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving
party, or the amendment would be futile.” HCMF
Corp. v. Allen, 238 F.3d 273, 276 (4th Cir. 2001)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Defendants moved to amend
within the deadline under the scheduling order and Plaintiff