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Brown v. Harrison

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

January 8, 2019

Stacy Dewhite Brown, Plaintiff,
v.
Donnie Harrison, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION

          Robert T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Stacy Brown brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that various staff members of the Wake County Detention Center violated his rights by negligently providing food that aggravates his diabetes. D.E. 1. The Complaint (D.E. 1) also alleges that before his imprisonment Brown was managing his diabetes with daily use of oral medication but that he now requires treatment with daily injections of insulin as a result of the diet. He also maintains that various detention center officials did not properly address his complaints about the food. He seeks an order requiring a “Menu change conducive to Diabetic health” and “undisclosed Monetary Compensation.” Upon a motion (D.E. 3) by Brown, the court has issued an order (D.E. 9) allowing him to proceed without prepayment of fees.

         The matter is before the court for a preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), which requires courts to review actions that prisoners have filed against governmental entities or officials. Also before the court are six motions made by Brown:

1) A motion (D.E. 3) for the entry of a temporary restraining order (TRO);
2) A second, similar motion (D.E. 8) for the entry of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction (TRO/PI);
3) A motion for a protective order (D.E. 10) citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c); 4) A motion (D.E. 13) requesting the court:
a) vacate a previous order (D.E. 9) which granted Brown the ability to proceed without prepayment of fees and;
b) refund court fees debited from his prisoner trust fund account.
5) A motion for appointment of counsel (D.E. 14); and
6) A motion for entry of default (D.E. 15).

         For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends that the district court deny each of Brown's motions without prejudice and dismiss this action without prejudice.

         I. Motion for Appointment of Counsel

         Brown has filed a motion asking the court to appoint counsel for him. D.E. 14. There is no constitutional right to counsel in civil cases, and courts should exercise their discretion to appoint counsel for pro se civil litigants “only in exceptional cases.” Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). The existence of exceptional circumstances justifying appointment of counsel depends upon “the type and complexity of the case, and the abilities of the individuals bringing it.” Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296 (1989) (quoting Branch v. Cole, 686 F.2d 264 (5th Cir. 1982)); see also Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1153 (4th Cir. 1978) (“If it is apparent . . . that a pro se litigant has a colorable claim but lacks capacity to present it, the district court should appoint counsel to assist him.”). Brown's action is not complex, and he has demonstrated through the detail of his filings that he is capable of proceeding pro se. As such, this case is not one in which exceptional circumstances merit appointment of counsel. Therefore, Brown's motion requesting that he be appointed counsel is denied.

         II. Screening Pursuant to the Prison ...


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