United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
VITO A. PELINO, Plaintiff,
ROBERT GILMORE, MICHAEL ZAKEN, and STEPHEN DURCO, Defendants.
A. Pelino, All counsel of record via CM/ECF
Stewart Cercone, District Judge
Maureen P. Kelly, Magistrate Judge
Vito A. Pelino ("Plaintiff), an inmate at the State
Correctional Institution at Greene ("SCI-Greene"),
has presented a civil rights complaint which he has been
granted leave to prosecute in forma pauperis. ECF
Nos. 2, 39. In this action, Plaintiff claims that Defendants
violated his Fourth Amendment right to bodily privacy by
"implement[ing] a policy of video-recording strip
searches of inmates going to, and coming from contact visits,
and while using the bathroom." ECF No. 39 ¶ 8.
before this Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Appointment of
Counsel, ECF No. 60, which requires the Court to determine
whether, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the
Court should exercise its discretion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(1) and request an attorney to represent
Plaintiff in the prosecution of this action.
considering a motion for the appointment of counsel, the
Court must determine whether to request counsel to represent
this indigent litigant under the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(1), fully recognizing that if successful
counsel may be entitled to recover fees under the provisions
of Section 1988 of Title 42, United States Code. Section
1915(e)(1) gives the Court broad discretion to determine
whether the appointment of counsel is warranted, and that
determination must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 157-58 (3d Cir. 1993).
threshold matter the district court should consider whether
the plaintiffs claim has arguable merit in fact or law.
Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 457 (3d Cir. 1997);
see also Tabron. 6 F.3d at 155. If the court
determines that the claim has some merit, the court should
then 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
4. the amount the case is likely to turn on credibility
5. whether the case will require the testimony of expert
witnesses; and 6. whether the plaintiff can attain and afford
counsel on his own behalf.
Parham, 126 F.3d at 457. "This list of factors
is not exhaustive, but instead should serve as a guidepost
for the district courts. Correspondingly, courts should
exercise care in appointing counsel because volunteer lawyer
time is a precious commodity and should ...