The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge
(Magistrate Judge Carlson)
This matter comes before the Court on a request the we reconsider an order denying the plaintiff's previous motion which requested appointment counsel for the plaintiff, a pro se litigant. (Doc. 30) The plaintiff, a federal inmate, asks the Court to appoint counsel at an early stage in this case, while the court is considering a potentially dispositive motion filed by the defendants. In the alternative, Stutler requests additional time in which to respond to the pending Motion to Dismiss since he is currently under restrictions which limit his ability to prepare a response to this motion.
For the reasons set forth below, we will decline the motion to appoint counsel, but with grant the plaintiff additional time to respond to the Motion to Dismiss. The Court recognizes that there is neither a constitutional nor a statutory right to counsel for civil litigants. Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153 (3d Cir. 1993). Notwithstanding this lack of a constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel, in a civil case, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) provides that "[t]he court may request an attorney to represent any person unable to employ counsel." A district court's appointment of counsel pursuant to this statute is discretionary and must be made on a case-by-case basis. Tabron, 6 F.3d at 157-58. The exercise of this discretion, however, is guided by certain basic principles. Gordon v. Gonzalez, 232 F. App'x. 153, 156 (3d Cir. 2007),
In Tabron, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit first outlined with specificity the applicable standards to be considered by courts upon an application to appoint counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Id. at 155-57. In Parham, the Third Circuit identified the following guidelines for appointing counsel to indigent civil litigants:
As a preliminary matter, the plaintiff's claim must have some merit in fact and law. If the district court determines that the plaintiff's claim has some merit, then the district court should consider the following factors:
(1) the plaintiff's ability to present his or her own case;
(2) the complexity of the legal issues;
(3) the degree to which factual investigation will be necessary and the ability of the plaintiff to pursue such an investigation;
(4) the amount a case is likely to turn on credibility determinations;
(5) whether the case will require the testimony of expert witnesses;
(6) whether the plaintiff can attain and afford counsel on his own behalf.
Our on-going analysis of these factors continues to suggest that counsel should not be appointed in this case at the present time. At the outset, we still believe that we should defer any such decision until after we have had the opportunity to assess the first benchmark standard we must address, the question of whether the plaintiff's claims have arguable merit. In our view, it would be inappropriate to appoint counsel until we have the ...