United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge.
the Court is Plaintiff Jessie Radford's second Motion to
Reopen Case (ECF No. 63) and a Motion to Appoint Counsel.
(ECF No. 64). Defendants have filed a response in opposition
to the Motion to Reopen. (ECF No. 66). The Court finds these
matters ripe for consideration.
representing himself, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
on April 3, 2014. (ECF No. 1). On December 8, 2016, the case
was referred to the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United
Magistrate Judge, for a mandatory settlement conference. (ECF
No. 44). The settlement conference was held on March 1, 2017.
On April 2, 2017, Plaintiff signed a General Release of All
Claims and Settlement Agreement settling the case against all
Defendants in exchange for the total sum of two thousand
dollars ($2, 000.00). (ECF No. 59-1). Plaintiff requested
that the settlement funds be disbursed as follows: (1) one
thousand eight hundred dollars ($1, 800.00) payable to the
order of Betty Radford (Plaintiff's mother) for the
benefit of Jessie Radford; and (2) two hundred dollars
($200.00) to be sent to Plaintiff through the Arkansas
Department of Correction (“ADC”) Trust Funds
Centralized Banking. (ECF No. 59).
accordance with Plaintiff's instructions, Defendants sent
a money order to Plaintiff in the amount of $200.00 and a
check in the amount of $1, 800.00 to Betty Radford made
payable to “Betty Radford for the Benefit of Jessie
Radford.” Ms. Radford called defense counsel and
informed her that she was unable to cash the check because of
the way it was made out. A second check was then issued on or
about May 10, 2017, made payable only to Betty Radford. (ECF
No. 59-4). Ms. Radford cashed the check on May 18,
2017. (ECF No. 59-4).
April 27, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss based on
the settlement agreement between the parties. (ECF No. 56).
Plaintiff did not file any response or objection to this
motion. On May 1, 2017, the Court granted Defendants'
motion and stated that it “retains jurisdiction to
vacate this order and to reopen this action upon cause shown
that the settlement has not been completed and further
litigation is necessary.” (ECF No. 57). On January 29,
2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reopen this case. (ECF No.
58). In denying Plaintiff's motion, the Court determined
that, based on the record, Plaintiff knowingly and
voluntarily agreed to settle this case and release all his
claims in exchange for the payment of $2, 000.00. The Court
also noted that Plaintiff made no allegation that Defendants
failed to fulfill their obligations under the settlement
agreement. (ECF No. 62).
second Motion to Reopen Plaintiff states:
“In this case a settlement was offered the Judge that
was working the settlement stated to me if I didn't take
the settlement or make a settlement I wouldn't get
nothing and the settlement also would be reasonable to avoid
the cost of court set up for trial. Those words influansed my
decision to agree to the $2000 settlement, However I was told
that the settlement wasn't compleat after the Judge order
Defendant to submit any agreement of settlement in within 30
days of settlement Defendands didn't follow order. Dead
line passed. I asked that the money sent to my mom Betty
Radford and Defendant Attorny agreed. I didn't know that
because my mom wasn't a part of the litigation that I
wasn't able to send it to her or bring her into this case
because legaly she wasn't a part of the and the Due
procees ment wasn't compleat I would like to reopen the
case and send it to trial I was denyed in the Us. Courts so
now Im asking of your help to appeal this case . . . please
settlement Not Compleat.”
(ECF No. 63). Plaintiff also asks that counsel be appointed
to represent him. (ECF No. 64). Defendants assert that
nothing has changed since the Court denied Plaintiff's
first motion to reopen this case, and thus Defendants
incorporate by reference their previous response in
opposition to reopening the case.
Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 64)
Court will first address Plaintiff's request for counsel.
A civil litigant does not have a constitutional or statutory
right to appointed counsel in a civil action. 28 U.S.C.
1915(e)(1). Plaintiff has effectively represented himself in
this matter by participating in discovery and responding to
various motions, including successfully defending a motion
for summary judgment. Almost two years have passes since this
case was dismissed. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff will
not benefit from assistance of counsel at this time.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF
No. 64) is DENIED.
Motion to Reopen Case (ECF No. 63)
noted previously, the instant motion is Plaintiff's
second request to reopen this case and set aside the
settlement agreement that he verbally agreed to at the
settlement conference and later signed into writing.
Plaintiff now claims for the first time that he accepted the
settlement because Judge Bryant told him he would “get
nothing” if he went to trial. Plaintiff further claims
that Defendants “didn't ...