United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's
“Motion for Discovery” [Doc. 65], Plaintiff's
“Motion for Legal Aid” [Doc. 66], and a Motion to
Withdraw as Counsel by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services
(NCPLS) attorney, Mani Dexter [Doc. 67].
Plaintiff Gregory H. Jones (“Plaintiff”) is a
prisoner of the State of North Carolina currently
incarcerated at Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw,
North Carolina. Plaintiff filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on November 13, 2018. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff filed
an Amended Complaint on June 14, 2019 [Doc. 16], which
survived initial review [Doc. 17]. On August 30, 2019,
Plaintiff accepted the assistance of the NCPLS to represent
him during the discovery phase of these proceedings. [Doc.
33]. On October 23, 2019, NCPLS Attorney Mani Dexter filed a
notice of appearance in this matter “for the limited
purpose of assisting Plaintiff … with conducting
discovery.” [Doc. 57].
now files a “Motion for Discovery” with the Court
in which he states, “NCPLS Attorney Mani Dexter does
not represent me. He or she refused to speak with me, follow
instructions, or help with what I actually need.” [Doc.
65]. Plaintiff then recites various discovery items he
presumably seeks from Defendants in this matter.
Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery.
Discovery requests should not be filed with the Court.
Discovery materials should only be exchanged between the
parties. All future discovery requests must be served on the
opposing party. Plaintiff is instructed to review the terms
of the PTOCMP entered by this Court. [See Doc. 56 at
Plaintiff's motion for legal aid, Plaintiff contends that
his attorney, Mani Dexter, who has been appointed to
represent Plaintiff for the purpose of conducting discovery
in this matter, “refuses to help” Plaintiff find
an expert witness. [Doc. 66]. Plaintiff attached to his
motion a letter that he received from Attorney Dexter in
which Attorney Dexter advises Plaintiff that the NCLPS is
unable to assist Plaintiff in finding an expert witness for
Plaintiff's case. [Id. at 4]. Contrary to
Plaintiff's assertion that the NCPLS “refuses to
help” him, the Court recognizes that assisting
Plaintiff to locate an expert may be outside the scope of
NCPLS' current representation of Plaintiff. [See
Doc. 56 at 3-4]. As the Court has previously advised
Plaintiff, he “may move at the appropriate time for an
extension of the discovery period to find, retain and
designate an expert witness, if he so chooses.” [Doc.
64 at 2]
also states that he is “the only party in this case who
cannot electronically file, make copies, do legal research
for memoranda of law the court requires, or meet deadlines of
14, 7, or 3 days” because “[s]nail mail takes
about a week in each direction.” [Id.].
Plaintiff requests, therefore, that the Court order
Defendants Lassiter and Hooks to allow him to have “a
computer with internet access, printer, copier, scanner, and
storage discs for other files.” [Id. at 2].
Plaintiff states he can pay for the equipment himself and
that digital files would eliminate the “'fire and
storage' hazard excuse for denying or confiscating [his]
legal materials.” [Id. at 3].
Court will deny Plaintiff's motion. Plaintiff cites no
legal basis for allowing Plaintiff to his own personal
computer equipment and accessories available for his use,
whether he can personally supply or finance them or not, and
the Court is aware of none. The Court has already addressed
Plaintiffs previous request for Internet access.
[See Doc. 64 at 2]. Further, should Plaintiff need
any deadlines enlarged to accommodate the requirement that he
mail, rather than electronically file, any documents, he may
also move the Court accordingly.
as to Attorney Dexter's motion to withdraw as counsel in
this case, as grounds, counsel states that in Plaintiff s
Motion for Discovery [Doc. 65], he states “NCPLS
Attorney Mani Dexter does not represent [him].” [Doc.
67 at 2]. Attorney Dexter also notes that, in Plaintiffs
Motion for Legal Aid, Plaintiff included examples of various
ways in which Plaintiff believed Attorney Dexter has denied
Plaintiff assistance. [Id]. Further, Attorney Dexter
states that, on a recent telephone call with Plaintiff to
confirm Plaintiffs intentions, Plaintiff indicated that he
would conduct his own discovery and that he did not need
assistance from the NCPLS. [Id.].
Court will grant Attorney Dexter's motion to withdraw as
counsel for the reasons stated in Attorney Dexter's
motion and because Plaintiffs own submissions to the Court
reflect that he no longer considers Attorney Dexter his
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
Plaintiffs “Motion for Discovery” [Doc. 65] is
Plaintiffs “Motion for Legal Aid” [Doc. 66] is
Plaintiffs Motion to Withdraw as Counsel ...