United States District Court, D. Kansas
E. BIRZER United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for More
Definite Statement (ECF No. 12). On February 22, 2017, the
Court conducted an in-person hearing to discuss the pending
motion. Plaintiff Dewayne Antoine Anderson
appeared on his own behalf. Defendants Naomi Arnold, Trindad
Balderas, and Chief Gordon Ramsay (“City
Defendants”) appeared through counsel, Erik S.
Houghton. Defendant Thomas Bush was not a movant in the
motion for more definite statement and did not appear. After
review of Mr. Anderson's pleadings, the City
Defendants' motion (ECF No. 12), and considering the oral
arguments of all parties, the Court issues the following
Defendants' Motion for More Definite Statement (ECF No.
Mr. Anderson did not file a written response to the City
Defendants' motion, during the February 22 hearing, he
described his confusion regarding the multiple pleadings
filed in the case and his belief he would be able to present
his arguments orally at the hearing. When asked by the Court
to articulate his claims and the facts supporting them, Mr.
Anderson described his claims against the City Defendants,
and the Court is satisfied his oral response to the motion
was adequate. After allowing the City Defendants the
opportunity to reply at hearing, the Court GRANTS the motion
for more definite statement (ECF No. 12) and ORDERS Mr.
Anderson to amend his Complaint, as described below.
Dismissal of Defendant Gordon Ramsay
the discussion of his claims, Mr. Anderson admitted he does
not intend to pursue an action against Chief Gordon Ramsay;
rather, he intends to name the police chief acting at the
time of the 2014 incident which precipitated his claims.
Finding Mr. Anderson has no objection to the dismissal of
Chief Ramsay from this case, counsel for the City Defendants
is ORDERED to draft an agreed notice reflecting the same, and
submit it to Mr. Anderson for signature. Mr. Anderson is
reminded it is incumbent upon him to respond to any
communications from either the Court or opposing parties, and
he should confer and cooperate with counsel to achieve the
dismissal of Chief Ramsay.
Plaintiff's Oral Request to Amend His Complaint
the recitation of his claims at hearing, Mr. Anderson
revealed he plans to amend his Complaint to add additional
defendants and/or clarify his claims. After consideration of
the statements of all parties present at hearing, the Court
finds no prejudice to Defendants by allowing amendment at
this stage of the case, particularly in light of the City
Defendants' request for a more definite statement.
Anderson is encouraged to review the materials available to
self-represented litigants at
the preparation of his amended complaint. He must thoroughly
articulate his legal and factual claims against each
individual he names as a defendant. Additionally, although
Mr. Anderson proceeds in forma pauperis and the
clerk of the court will serve any newly-named defendants with
a copy of the amended complaint,  it remains Mr.
Anderson's responsibility to provide accurate address
information for each named defendant.
Appointment of Counsel
the initial filing of this case, Mr. Anderson requested he be
appointed an attorney to represent him (see Motion
to Appoint Counsel, ECF No. 4). Because there is no right to
counsel in a civil action, the Court evaluated Mr.
Anderson's request under the factors discussed by the
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Castner v. Colorado
Springs Cablevision,  including: 1) his ability to afford
counsel, 2) his diligence in searching for counsel, 3) the
merits of his case, and 4) his capacity to prepare and
present the case without the aid of counsel.
Court denied Mr. Anderson's request on two bases: 1) he
failed to show diligence in searching for counsel; and 2) the
Court was unable to fully evaluate the merits of Mr.
Anderson's claims given the information presented in the
Complaint. (Order, ECF No. 6.) The Court denied the motion
for counsel without prejudice to reviewing a similar request
at a later time. (Id.)
the Court has now had the opportunity to hear from Mr.
Anderson in person, “its perception of the merits and
other factors relevant to the issue of
appointment” have changed, and the Court questions
whether he is able to adequately present the case on his own.
Therefore, if Mr. Anderson would like the Court to reconsider
his request for appointment of an attorney, he must submit a
new Motion for Appointment of Counsel and
Declaration of Good Faith Efforts to Obtain Counsel, using
the form available from the clerk's office. Mr. Anderson
is reminded that his failure to fully complete the
motion and demonstrate his efforts to secure counsel on his
own could result in denial of any future request.
THEREFORE ORDERED that the City Defendants' Motion for
More Definite ...