United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
RICHARD L. MEROLD, JR. PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT
February 12, 2019, Plaintiff Richard Merold sent a letter to
the Court, which, liberally construed, contains the following
three motions: (1) a Motion to Appoint Appellate Counsel; (2)
a Motion to Extend Time to File a Notice of Appeal; and (3) a
Motion for a “form . . . to complain about the first
Judge[']s attempt to ignore evidence that was mentioned
in court.” Doc. 23. For the reasons that
follow, Mr. Merold's omnibus Motion is granted, in part,
and denied, in part.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
December 12, 2018, the Court entered its Order and Judgment
affirming the final decision of the Commissioner and
dismissing Mr. Merold's Complaint with prejudice.
Docs. 19 and 20. Mr. Merold now moves the Court to
appoint counsel to represent him on appeal. Doc. 23.
There is neither a constitutional nor statutory right to
counsel in a civil case, or appeal therein; instead, it is
committed to the discretion of the court. Davis v.
Scott, 94 F.3d 444 (8th Cir. 1996) (“Indigent
civil litigants do not have a constitutional or statutory
right to appointed counsel.”). After careful
consideration, the Court concludes that the factual and legal
issues presented in this case are not complex, and that Mr.
Merold has shown himself capable of articulating his claims.
As previously noted by the Court, Merold has complied with
the Court's orders, and he adequately and sufficiently
explained the errors he believes supported reversal of the
Commission's decision. Doc. 19 at 4. Under these
circumstances, appointment of appellate counsel is not
warranted. Accordingly, Mr. Merold's Motion for
Appointment of Appellate Counsel is DENIED.
Motion for Extension of Time to File a Notice of
Second, Mr. Merold moves the Court for an extension of time
to file a notice of appeal. Because the Social Security
Administration is a party, Mr. Merold had sixty days from the
Court's Order and Judgment dismissing his case on
December 12, 2018, to file a notice of appeal. Moreover, because
the last day of the sixty-day period fell on Sunday, February
10, 2019, the period continued to run until the end of
Monday, February 11, 2019. Fed. R. App. P. 26(a)(1).
to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5), the district
court may extend the time to file a notice of appeal if: (i)
a party so moves no later than 30 days after the time
prescribed by this Rule 4(a) expires; and (ii) regardless of
whether its motion is filed before or during the 30 days
after the time prescribed by this Rule 4(a) expires, that
party shows excusable neglect or good cause.
filed this Motion on February 15, 2019, which is within 30
days of the original February 11, 2019 deadline for filing a
notice of appeal. For cause, he states that recent medical
issues have precluded him from completing his appeal and that
he is currently seeking legal representation. For good cause
shown, Mr. Merold's Motion to Extend Time to File a
Notice of Appeal is GRANTED.
no extension of time for filing a notice of appeal granted
under Rule 4(a)(5) may exceed either 30 days after the
prescribed time (February 11, 2019) or 14 days after the date
when the order granting the motion is entered, whichever is
later, Mr. Merold must file a notice of appeal no later than
March 25, 2019. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(5)(C).
Motion for Complaint Form
Mr. Merold moves the Court to provide him with a “form
. . . to complain about the first Judge[']s attempt to
ignore evidence that was mentioned in court.” Doc.
23. Mr. Merold appears to be requesting
information as to how he may file a complaint that the ALJ
disregarded medical evidence during his 2017 hearing.
previously explained by the Court:
It is not the task of this Court to review the evidence and
reverse the decision of an ALJ because there is evidence in
the record which contradicts his findings. The test is
whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a
whole which supports the decision of the ALJ.
Doc. 19 at 3. Any further challenges regarding
alleged errors committed by the ALJ in denying his
application for disability and supplements security income
benefits or this Court's review of the ALJ's decision
must now be presented to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Accordingly, Mr. ...