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Dyess v. Mullins

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

March 10, 2017

NEIL MULLINS, et al., Defendants.


          Stephanie K. Bowman, United States Magistrate Judge

         On October 25, 2016, the undersigned entered an Order that granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis with a civil rights complaint against three identified Defendants, plus John Doe Defendants that Plaintiff did not initially identify. (Docs. 10, 12). On January 10, 2017, the undersigned denied Plaintiff's motion seeking the appointment of counsel, denied a second motion by Plaintiff seeking the Court's assistance, and denied in part a third motion that sought discovery from the Defendants.

         On January 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed a second motion to appoint counsel. (Doc. 22). On the same date, he filed a motion to issue service on “Lt. Setty” and on “Correctional Officer Bauer, ” who Plaintiff is now identifying as the two Defendants previously identified as “John Doe.” (Doc. 23).

         On March 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed two additional motions. (Docs. 25, 26). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion to issue service will be granted, but his remaining motions will be denied.

         II. Pending Motions

         A. Renewed Motion For Appointment of Counsel

         Plaintiff's second motion for the appointment of counsel will be denied for the reasons stated in the January order. All of the reasons in Plaintiff's second motion have been fully considered by the Court but do not alter the conclusion that this case simply does not present the type of “exceptional circumstances” that would justify the rare appointment of free counsel for a pro se civil litigant. Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 605-606 (6th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff's ongoing restrictions in segregation have not prevented him from filing his complaint or multiple motions. In fact, despite Plaintiff's allegations of an inability to prosecute this action, most of the papers that Plaintiff has filed to date reflect a relatively high level of literacy, skill, and knowledge of the law, complete with citation to relevant case law. Contrary to his arguments, Plaintiff's underlying claims do not appear to be overly complex or in any way unique in the context of prisoner civil rights litigation.

         Plaintiff may renew his motion if this case proceeds beyond the dispositive motion phase, assuming that the presiding trial judge sets the case for trial. Prior to that time, any additional motions seeking the appointment of counsel that cite the same or similar reasons for the appointment of counsel will be summarily denied.

         B. Procedurally Improper Motions

         The Court's last Order denied several of Plaintiff's motions as procedurally improper, including a motion in which Plaintiff attached an additional “statement of claims” and “memorandum in support.” The two motions that Plaintiff filed on March 6, 2017 fall into the same category of procedurally improper motions for similar reasons, and therefore, in the interests of judicial economy, are denied without requiring Defendants to file a response.

         In his first generic “motion, ” (Doc. 25), Plaintiff seeks four types of relief. He first seeks information about a prior motion to identify and serve two Defendants who were originally identified only as “John Doe” Defendants. Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint and serve the now-identified John Doe Defendants is granted below; therefore, this additional request is moot.

         Plaintiff next seeks free “copies of my complaint and all exhibits of evidence.” (Doc. 25). However, indigent civil litigants must bear their own litigation expenses, and are not entitled to free copies.

Courts have consistently found that authorization to proceed in forma pauperis does not confer a right to free photocopies. See, e.g., Hollum v. Kent, 262 F.2d 862, 863 (6th Cir.1959) (citations omitted) (“The statutory right to proceed in forma pauperis, Sec.1915, Title 28, U.S.Code, does not include the right to obtain photocopies of court orders without payment therefor.”); In re Richard, 914 F.2d 1526, 1527 (6th Cir.1990) (holding that in forma pauperis status “does not give the litigant a right to have documents copied and returned to him at government expense.”); Whiteside v. Collins, No. 2:08-CV-875, 2009 WL 4281443, at *7 (S.D.Ohio Nov. 24, 2009) (King, M.J.) (quoting Fazzini v. Gluch, 875 F.2d 863, 1989 WL 54125, at *2 (6th Cir. May 23, 1989)) (“The right of access to the courts does not require that prison officials provide free, unlimited access to photocopying machines.”).

Hurst v. Warden, 2010 WL 1687675, at *1 (S.D.Ohio, 2010). To the extent that Plaintiff himself originally filed the very same documents, he should have retained a copy and is presumed to know their contents. Whenever documents are filed by Defendants or by ...

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