United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
Richard Hoag, Plaintiff, Pro se, Clinton, MA.
Roger C Hall, Defendant: Stephen J. Orlando, Morrison Mahoney
LLP, Boston, MA.
Melissa M Hall, Alicia Casey, Defendant: James D.
O'Brien, Jr., Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting, LLP,
Steward Medical Group, Inc., St. Elizabeth's Medical
Center, Defendant: Paul R. Keane, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kathryn E.
Price, Martin, Magnuson, McCarthy and Kenney, Boston, MA.
S. HILLMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Hoag has filed suit against Roger C. Hall, Melissa M. Hall,
Steward Medical Group, Inc., Alicia Casey and St.
Elizabeth's Medical Center, alleging claims for false
arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of
emotional distress and medical abuse arising out of the
Defendants medicating him against his will and/or contacting
the Falmouth police department for purposes of having him
forcibly detained. This Order addresses Hoag's Motion for
Appointment of Counsel (Docket No. 34). For the reasons set
forth below, that request is denied.
requests that counsel be appointed to represent his interests
in this matter. There is no constitutional right to counsel
in civil cases. Cookish v. Cunningham, 787 F.2d 1, 2
(1st Cir. 1986) (per curiam); citing Andrews v. Bechtel
Power Corporation and Local 276, Plumbers and Pipefitters
Union, 780 F.2d 124, 137 (1st Cir. 1985). This
Court's " Plan for the Appointment of Counsel for
Indigent Parties in Certain Civil Cases" effective May
1, 2009, provides: " The objective of this Plan for
Appointment of Counsel for Indigent Parties in Certain Civil
Cases (Plan) is to facilitate the appointment of pro bono
counsel for indigent pro se parties." Id. at 1.
In order to qualify for appointment of counsel, a party must
be indigent and exceptional circumstances must exist such
that denial of counsel will result in fundamental unfairness
impinging on the party's due process rights. See
Desrosiers v. Moran, 949 F.2d 15, 23 (1st Cir.
determine whether there are exceptional circumstances
sufficient to warrant the appointment of counsel, a court
must examine the total situation, focusing, inter
alia, on the merits of the case, the complexity of the
legal issues, and the litigant's ability to represent
in order to be eligible for pro bono counsel, Hoag
needed to demonstrate that he is indigent by filing a
financial affidavit disclosing all of his assets and income.
Although Hoag has not filed a formal affidavit, the Court
will accept the representations he has made in his motion
regarding his financial status and will assume that he
is indigent. The question now becomes whether Hoag has
established that exceptional circumstances exist
which warrant the appointment of pro bono counsel.
support of his motion, Hoag represents that he has contacted
a number of legal aid and lawyer referral services, but has
been unable to find representation due to budgetary concerns
and the legal complexities of his case. He asserts that he
has a right to due process, including a fair hearing which he
is unlikely to receive in this matter because a number of the
Defendants have previously provided false and misleading
statements and information in this case. Without prejudging
the viability of Hoag's claim, the Court must consider
the complexities and merits of his case. Hoag has asserted
several state law tort claims against the Defendants. While
his claims are not necessarily run of the mill, they are not
particularly complex, even for a non-lawyer. Furthermore,
given the nature of his claims, there is a strong likelihood
that his case will be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction given that there is a lack of diversity of
citizenship among the parties and he has not alleged any
federal claims. Indeed, a motion to dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction is currently pending.
Moreover, the fact that he is unable to find counsel to
represent him, is unskilled in the law, and believes that the
Defendants are not being truthful or forthcoming regarding
his case, are not unique. Indeed, many pro se
litigants present the ...