United States District Court, D. Connecticut
WILLIAM J. McKINNEY, Plaintiff,
NEW HAVEN POLICE DEP'T, et al., Defendants.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
C. Hall United States District Judge
plaintiff, William J. McKinney (“McKinney”),
currently is incarcerated at Bridgeport Correctional Center
in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has filed several miscellaneous
motions in this case.
MOTIONS FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT
has filed two Motions for Entry of Default (Doc. Nos. 57
& 59). The first Motion (Doc. No. 57) seeks entry of
default against all defendants, the second Motion (Doc. No.
59) against defendant Matthew Rau. At the time McKinney filed
these Motions, there were three defendants remaining in this
case, Officer John Moore, EMT Devon Bicumore and EMT Matthew
Rau. Defendant Moore appeared and filed an Answer in April
2018 (Docs. No. 32, 35), prior to either Motion being filed.
On November 6, 2018, the court dismissed the claims against
defendants Bicumore and Rau. Because the only remaining
defendant is not in default, the Motions for Default Entry
(Doc Nos. 57 & 59) are denied.
MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
also seeks appointment of pro bono counsel, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. The Second Circuit repeatedly has
cautioned the district courts against the routine appointment
of counsel. See, e.g., Ferrelli v.
River Manor Health Care Center, 323 F.3d 196, 204 (2d
Cir. 2003); Hendricks v. Coughlin, 114 F.3d 390, 393
(2d Cir. 1997). The Second Circuit also has made clear that
before an appointment is even considered, the indigent person
must demonstrate that he is unable to obtain counsel.
Saviano v. Local 32B-32J, 75 Fed.Appx. 58, 59 (2d
Cir. 2003) (quoting Cooper v. A. Sargenti Co., 877
F.2d 170, 173 (2d Cir. 1989)). McKinney describes his
unsuccessful efforts to obtain representation in the motion.
In light of these efforts, the court will assume that
McKinney cannot obtain legal assistance on his own.
addition, before appointing counsel, the District Court must
determine that McKinney's claims possess likely merit.
See Cooper v. A. Sargenti Co., 877 F.2d 170, 173-74
(2d Cir. 1989) (cautioning district courts against
“routine appointment of counsel” and reiterating
importance of requiring indigent litigant to “pass the
test of likely merit”). A nonfrivolous claim may not
possess likely merit if the litigant's “chances of
success are extremely slim.” Id. at 171.
current record consists of the Complaint and defendant
Moore's Answer. In addition, McKinney has filed a Motion
to Amend his Complaint to add more defendants (Doc. No. 72).
At this time, the court cannot assess the likely merit of
McKinney's claims. Accordingly, appointment of counsel is
not warranted at this time. McKinney's Motion to Appoint
Counsel (Doc. No. 58) is denied without prejudice to refiling
at a later stage of litigation.
MOTION TO COMPEL
October 4, 2018, the court received a letter from McKinney
addressed to the chambers of the Honorable Sarah A.L.
Merriam, United States Magistrate Judge. The letter has been
docketed as a Motion to Compel and a Motion to Amend (Doc.
states that Judge Merriam had instructed counsel for
defendant Moore to permit McKinney to view video recordings
of the incident scene and of McKinney's interview by
police officers, but he has not been permitted to do so.
McKinney seeks court assistance in viewing the recordings. In
his recent motion to amend, McKinney describes information he
obtained from viewing the recordings. As he has now seen the
recordings, this Motion/request is denied as moot.
seeks preservation and inspection of the “rock in a
sock weapon.” Before filing a motion to compel, a party
must confer, or attempt to confer, with the opposing party to
resolve the issue without court action. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(1). Because it is not clear whether McKinney has sought
to inspection the item through the discovery process, let
alone attempted to resolve any issue with defendant's
counsel, his request is denied as premature.
McKinney seeks permission to file ten additional
interrogatories. This request is granted.