United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
INITIAL ORDER FOR PRO SE PRISONERS
have filed this federal civil rights lawsuit pro se,
that is, without the help of a lawyer. There are rules and
procedures that you must follow in order to proceed with your
lawsuit, even though you are not a lawyer.
Follow All Court Rules.
must comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well
as Local Rules for the Eastern District of Arkansas. In
particular, Local Rule 5.5(c)(2) provides that:
It is the duty of any party not represented by counsel to
promptly notify the Clerk and the other parties to the
proceedings of any change in his or her address, to monitor
the progress of the case, and to prosecute or defend the
action diligently. A party appearing for himself/herself must
sign his/her pleadings and state his/her address, zip code,
and telephone number. If any communication from the Court to
a pro se plaintiff is not responded to within thirty
(30) days, the case may be dismissed without prejudice. Any
party proceeding pro se must be expected to be
familiar with and follow the Federal Rules of Civil
The Three Strikes Rule.
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g),
In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a
judgment in a civil action or proceeding under this section
if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while
incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action
or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed
on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the
prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.
Service of Defendants.
Defendants must be served within 90 days of the filing of the
Complaint. This includes “John/Jane Doe”
Defendants. It is your responsibility to identify all
Defendants, including “Doe” Defendants. The Court
will order service on all properly identified Defendants, but
you are responsible for providing valid service addresses for
each of them. Any Defendant who is not served within 90 days
will be dismissed, without prejudice, from the lawsuit.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m); Lee v.
Armontrout, 991 F.2d 487, 489 (8th Cir. 1993).
No. Right to Appointed Counsel.
a civil case. Unlike criminal cases, there is no right to
have an appointed lawyer in a civil case. Phillips v.
Jasper County Jail, 437 F.3d 791, 794 (8th Cir. 2006).
If your case proceeds to a jury trial, however, a lawyer will
be appointed to assist you.
Do Not File Discovery.
requests (such as interrogatories and requests for production
of documents) and responses to discovery requests cannot be
filed with the Court. Instead, you must mail discovery
requests and responses directly to counsel for the Defendant.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d). Do not mail discovery
requests to Defendants' counsel until after he
or she has filed an Answer or Motion to Dismiss.
Do Not Send Documents to the Court, Except ...