United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
Michael Patrick Sather ("Sather") is a convicted
prisoner in the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in
Torrington, Wyoming. He has filed a pro se §
1983 Complaint and Amended Complaint alleging that Defendants
violated his constitutional rights while transporting him
from Searcy, Arkansas to Iowa. Docs. 2 &8.
Before Sather may proceed with this case, the Court must
screen his allegations.
alleges that, while employees of Defendant Inmate Services
Corp. ("Inmate Services") were transporting him
from a court appearance in Laramie County, Wyoming, to Mt.
Pleasant Correctional Facility in Iowa in October 2016, they
stopped for three days at the jail in Searcy, Arkansas. When
leaving Searcy, two unknown transport officers (Defendants
John Doe and Jane Doe) took over.Sather alleges that the Doe
Defendants shackled his ankles -too tight" on the left
side and refused to loosen the shackles when Sather
repeatedly complained of pain and numbness. According to
Sather, when he arrived in Iowa, his left ankle was swollen
and he had no feeling in his left foot. A physician diagnosed
him as having a blood clot in his left leg, due to the
shackles being "too tight for so long." As a result
of the blood clot, he is required "to be on blood
thinner forever." He also alleges that his thirty-day
supply of medications "mysteriously disappeared"
during transport, as did his $1600 watch. He alleges that
Defendants violated his constitutional rights to be free from
deliberate indifference, cruel and unusual punishment, and
the willful and wanton infliction of pain. He alleges that
Inmate Services should be liable for hiring and failing to
properly train the two Doe Defendants.
Court concludes, for screening purposes only, that
Sather has pled a viable § 1983 claim against each of
will be ordered on Inmate Services. However, the Court cannot
order service on the Doe Defendants until Sather provides
their names and service addresses. See lee v.
Armontrout, 991 F.2d487, 489 (8th Cir. 1993) (explaining
that it is the prisoner's responsibility to provide a
proper service address for each defendant). After Inmate
Services files an Answer or other responsive pleading, the
Court will enter a Scheduling Order that sets a deadline for
Sather to file a Motion for Service containing the identity
and service address of the Doe Defendants.
Sather has already been granted permission to proceed in
forma pauperis (Doc. 5), his second Motion for Leave to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 9) is DENIED as
Motions for Copies and Status Update (Docs. 12 &
13) are GRANTED. The Clerk is directed to provide Sather
with a copy of the docket sheet.
Sather has filed a Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 11). A
pro se litigant does not have a statutory or
constitutional right to have counsel appointed in a civil
case. Patterson v. Kelley, 902 F.3d 845, 850 (8th
Cir. 2018); Phillips v. Jasper County Jail, 437 F.3d
791, 794 (8th Cir. 2006). However, the Court may, in its
discretion, appoint counsel if the pro se prisoner
has stated a non-frivolous claim and "the nature of the
litigation is such that plaintiff as well as the court will
benefit from the assistance of counsel."
Patterson, 902 F.3d at 850 (quoting Johnson v.
Williams, 788 F.2d 1319, 1322 (8th Cir. 1986)). In
making this determination, the Court must weigh and consider
the following factors: (1) the factual and legal complexity
of the case; (2) the plaintiffs ability to investigate the
facts; (3) the existence of conflicting testimony; and (4)
the plaintiffs abil ity to present his claims. Id.;
Phillips, 437 F.3d at 794.
claims are not legally or factually complex. Furthermore, it
appears from the record that he is capable of presenting his
claims without the benefit of appointed counsel at this time.
After filing his initial Complaint, Sather complied with the
Court's Order to file an Amended Complaint which
clarifies his claims and corrects some noted deficiencies.
Docs. 2, 6 & 8. He has kept the Court apprised
of address changes and other matters. Docs. 7, 10, 12 &
13. Service is being ordered on Defendant Inmate
Services Corp. As explained, once this Defendant has filed an
Answer or other responsive pleading, Sather can utilize the
discovery processes (such as interrogatories and requests for
production) to ascertain the identities of the Doe Defendants
and obtain other information relevant to his claims. Thus,
after carefully weighing the pertinent factors, the Court
concludes that, at this stage in the proceeding, they do not
support the appointment of counsel. Accordingly, Sather's
Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc, 11) is DENIED.
THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
1 The Clerk is directed to prepare a summons for Inmate
Services Corp. The United States Marshal is directed to serve
the Complaint and Amended Complaint (Docs. 2 &
8), and this Order, on Inmate Services Corp. without
prepayment of fees and costs or security therefor.
2. Sather's second Motion for Leave to Proceed
InForma Pauperis (Doc. 9) is ...