United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Leniart (“Leniart”), currently incarcerated at
Northern Correctional Institution, has filed a series of
motions seeking the appointment of pro bono counsel.
For the reasons set forth below, Leniart's motions for
reconsideration of appointment of counsel (doc. nos. 15 and
23) are denied. Leinart's motion to
amend his declaration in support of his motions for
reconsideration (doc. no. 25) is granted.
Lastly, his motion for a hearing (doc. no. 26) and his for
order (doc. no. 27) are both denied as moot.
Second Circuit repeatedly has cautioned the district courts
against the routine appointment of counsel. See Hendricks
v. Coughlin, 114 F.3d 390, 393 (2d Cir. 1997);
Cooper v. A. Sargenti Co., 877 F.2d 170, 172 (2d
Cir. 1989). In considering whether to appoint pro
bono counsel for an indigent litigant, a district court
must “determine whether the indigent's position
seems likely to be of substance.” See Hodge v.
Police Officers, 802 F.2d 58, 61 (2d Cir. 1986).
“[E]ven where the indigent [litigant's] claim is
not frivolous, counsel is often unwarranted where the
[litigant's] chances of success are extremely
slim.” Cooper, 877 F.2d at 172. Additionally,
the Second Circuit has made clear that before an appointment
is considered, the indigent person must demonstrate that he
is unable to obtain counsel. See Hodge, 802 F.2d at
denied Leniart's first motion (doc. no. 8) because he
failed to indicate whether he made any attempts to locate an
attorney willing to represent him or provide him with legal
assistance. I noted that Leniart may renew the motion at a
later stage of the litigation after he has made attempts to
secure the assistance or representation of counsel. Leniart
was also provided the contact information for the attorneys
at the Inmates' Legal Aid Program. See Doc. No.
10 at 5 n.1.
instant motions, Leniart attaches letters from three law
firms declining representation. See, e.g., Doc. No.
16-1 at 1-3. One of those letters provided Leniart with a
link to various legal agencies that may be able to assist
with his case. See id. at 2. He also states that
a potential conflict of interest may preclude the
Inmates' Legal Aid Program from representing
See Id. at 1. Leniart, however, does not indicate
whether he attempted to contact an attorney at the
Inmates' Legal Aid Program or through another legal
I have determined that some of the allegations in the
complaint are not frivolous, I cannot conclude at this time
that Leniart is likely to succeed on the merits of his
claims. Additionally, I conclude that Leniart has not made
sufficient efforts to secure legal assistance of
representation on his own. Because there is a possibility
that Leniart may be able to secure legal assistance or
representation independently, the motions for appointment of
counsel (doc. nos. 15 and 23) are denied at
addition, Leniart requests to amend his declaration
supporting his motions for reconsideration (doc. no. 25).
That motion is granted. After considering
Leniart's amended declaration, however, I conclude that
he is not entitled to pro bono counsel at this time.
motions seeking the appointment of counsel (doc. nos. 15 and
23) are denied. Any renewal of the motion
shall be accompanied by a summary of any attempts to obtain
representation from a private law firm or secure legal
assistance from the Inmates' Legal Aid Program, including
the dates upon which Leniart contacted the firms, attorneys,
or Program, and the reasons why assistance was unavailable.
Leinart's motion to amend his declaration is (doc. no.
25) granted and his motion for a hearing
(doc. no. 26) and motion for order (doc no. 27) are
denied as moot.
 Although he is unable to access the
link, the agencies listed include among others: Connecticut
Legal Services, Inc., Statewide Legal Services of
Connecticut, and the Pro Bono Partnership.
 Leniart represents that a conflict of
interest may exist with the Inmates' Legal Aid Program
because the law firm involved has an “adverse
history” with Leniart's father. See Doc.
No. 15 at 1. Leniart ...