United States District Court, D. Kansas
P. O'Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge.
brings this pro se civil-rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is an inmate in the Kansas
Department of Corrections. He has filed this action alleging
inadequate medical care after he broke off two front teeth.
This matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion to
appoint counsel (ECF No. 67) and separate motion to appoint a
master (ECF No. 73). For the reasons stated below, both
motions are denied.
to Appoint Counsel
civil actions such as this one, there is no constitutional
right to appointed counsel.The decision whether to appoint
counsel in a civil matter lies in the discretion of the
district court. In deciding whether to appoint counsel,
the court must evaluate “the merits of a prisoner's
claims, the nature and complexity of the factual and legal
issues, and the prisoner's ability to investigate the
facts and present his claims.” “The burden is on the
[prisoner] to convince the court that there is sufficient
merit to his claim to warrant the appointment of
counsel.” It is not enough “that having
counsel appointed would have assisted [the prisoner] in
presenting his strongest possible case, [as] the same could
be said in any case.”
motion requests counsel to help him understand legal
authority. He also asserts counsel would be better able to
present his case to the court because plaintiff has no legal
court has considered plaintiff's motion and concludes
that this is not a case in which appointment of counsel is
justified, at least at this juncture. First, it is not clear
that plaintiff's claims have merit. Second, the factual
and legal issues in the case are not complex. The court has
no doubt that the U.S. district judge assigned to this case
will have little trouble discerning the applicable law.
Third, plaintiff has demonstrated the ability to investigate
his claims. Finally, plaintiff's briefs are cogent, and
plaintiff appears capable of adequately presenting facts and
arguments. The court therefore denies plaintiff's request
for counsel. However, if the case survives defendants'
anticipated motion for summary judgment, plaintiff is given
leave to file another motion for appointment of counsel if it
becomes apparent that appointed counsel is necessary at that
to Appoint Master
requests the appointment of a master under K.S.A §
60-253 and K.S.A. § 60-216(c). Plaintiff's request
is denied. First, these statutes set forth state procedural
rules that are not applicable in this federal court. Second,
even if the statutes were applicable, the reasons given by
plaintiff for his request for a master are essentially the
same as the reasons given for his request for counsel. The
court has determined above that plaintiff is capable of
presenting his case to a U.S. district judge pro se.
is hereby informed that, within 14 days after he is served
with a copy of this order, he may, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
72 and D. Kan. Rule 72.1.4(a), file written objections to
this order by filing a motion for review of this order by the
presiding U.S. district judge. Plaintiff must file any
objections within the 14-day period if he wants to have
appellate review of this order. If plaintiff does not timely
file his objections, no court will allow appellate review.
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to appoint
counsel is denied without prejudice.
FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for appointment
of a master is denied.
of this order shall be mailed to plaintiff via regular mail.