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Thompson v. Moody

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

August 25, 2016

Eligha Terrill Thompson, Plaintiff,
v.
Ms. Leah Moody, Attorney; Christopher D. Taylor, Solicitor, Each in Their Official and Individual Capacities, Defendants.

          ORDER

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES 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) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.

         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.[1] 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, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (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). As the court grants Plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis below, 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.

         A prisoner is permitted to file a civil action without prepayment of fees or security therefor under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff has submitted an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and Affidavit (Form AO 240) to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), which is construed as a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. A review of the Motion reveals that Plaintiff does not have the funds to prepay the filing fee.

         Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis is granted. (ECF No. 2.)

         MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL:

         Plaintiff files a motion seeking the appointment of counsel in this case. (ECF No. 4.) There is no right to appointed counsel in a case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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's motion fails to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist in this case. Rather, Plaintiff alleges he is in lockup, has limited access to the law library, and has limited knowledge of the law.

         After a review of the motion, this court finds that the circumstances presented by Plaintiff do not justify the appointment of counsel, nor would Plaintiff be denied due process if an attorney is not appointed. See Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296 (1989). Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for a discretionary appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. §1915 (e)(1) is denied. (ECF No. 4.)

         TO THE CLERK OF COURT:

         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 the summonses or 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 (C/A No. 0:16-2368-DCN-PJG) on any document provided to the court pursuant to this order. Any future filings in this case must be sent to (901 Richland Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201) 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 ...


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