United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Joseph Lamont French for leave to commence this action
without payment of the required filing fee. Upon
consideration of the financial information provided with the
motion, the Court finds that plaintiff is financially unable
to pay any portion of the filing fee. Therefore, plaintiff
will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). In addition, the Court will
direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon the
U.S.C. § 1915 (e)
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court shall dismiss a
complaint filed in forma pauperis at any time if the action
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is
frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law
or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted if it appears beyond reasonable doubt
that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
his claim which would entitle him to relief. Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Jackson
Sawmill Co. v. United States, 580 F.2d 302, 306 (8th
Cir. 1978), cert denied, 439 U.S. 1070 (1979).
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the
Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal
construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in
favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly
baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 1733
(1992); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236(1974).
an employment discrimination action under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et
seq. Briefly, Plaintiff alleges that defendants paid a
female employee, Jeanne Hawkins, a higher salary for equal
work. Plaintiff also alleges that he was subjected to a
pattern of retaliation by management officials following his
internal complaints of compensation discrimination and
harassment. Plaintiff alleges that his immediate supervisor,
Glen Becker, emptied trash onto Plaintiffs desk while in the
presence of Plaintiff s department. Plaintiff also alleges
that he was wrongfully terminated from his employment by
Stacy Spradling, the Human Resource Manager for Central
Credit Services, on September 23, 2014. Plaintiff alleges
that, at the time of his termination, he "had no
write-ups and was informed that [he] was being terminated for
not getting along with Gus and Kristie." (Docket No. 1
p. 3). Having liberally construed Plaintiffs complaint and
weighed all factual allegations in his favor, the Court
determines that plaintiff has pleaded a prima facie claim of
employment discrimination, and will direct the Clerk of Court
to issue process upon the complaint.
has also moved for the appointment of counsel. (Docket No.
4). The motion will be denied without prejudice at this time.
The appointment of counsel for an indigent pro se plaintiff
lies within the discretion of the Court, as there is no
constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel in
civil cases. Ward v. Smith, 732 F.3d 940, 942 (8th
the plaintiff alleges a prima facie claim, the Court must
determine the plaintiffs need for counsel to litigate his
claim effectively. In re Lane, 801 F.2d 1040, 1043
(8th Cir. 1986). The standard for appointment of counsel in a
civil case is whether both the plaintiff and the Court would
benefit from the assistance of counsel. Edgington v.
Missouri Dept. of Corrections, 52 F.3d 777, 780 (8th
Cir. 1995), abrogated on other grounds, Doe v.
Cassel, 403 F.3d 986, 989 (8th Cir. 2005) (citations
omitted). This determination involves the consideration of
several relevant criteria which include "the factual
complexity of the issues, the ability of the indigent person
to investigate the facts, the existence of conflicting
testimony, the ability of the indigent person to present the
claims, and the complexity of the legal arguments."
Phillips v. Jasper County Jail, 437 F.3d 791, 94
(internal citations omitted).
instances, a court may deny a motion for appointment of
counsel without prejudice because it believes the record is
insufficient to determine, one way or the other, whether it
would be appropriate to appoint counsel when the above
factors are considered. See Id. For example,
discovery may not have begun or may have just begun at the
time of the request for appointment of counsel, so there is
no conflicting testimony. There may be no indication in the
record that the plaintiff is unable to investigate or present
his case where he correctly identifies the applicable legal
standard governing his claims or, for example, successfully
amends his complaint to include essential information.
Finally, the Court may consider whether the plaintiffs claims
involve information that is readily available to him.
Id. at 794.
case, the record is currently insufficient to determine, one
way or the other, whether the appointment of counsel is
appropriate at this time. The claims plaintiff has presented
are not complex, and plaintiff has demonstrated himself to be
well able to investigate and present his case. However, the
Court recognizes that these circumstances may change as
discovery takes place. The Court will therefore deny the
motion for the appointment of counsel, without prejudice.
Plaintiff may re-file such motion if it becomes appropriate
to do so at a later time.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket No. 2) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion to appoint
counsel (Docket No. 4) is DENIED without
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall
cause process to issue upon the complaint as to all
defendants via their Registered Agent, C T Corporation