United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS
FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
ISSUANCE OF SUBPOENAS; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL RE DOCUMENT NO. 34, 36, 39,
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge
se Plaintiff Jeremy Pinson ("Pinson"), an
inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona,
began this case by filing a Freedom of Information Act
("FOIA") complaint in December 2016. Pinson now
files two motions for an order to show cause, a motion for
the issuance of subpoenas to the House Government Oversight
and Reform Committee, Department of Justice Office of
Inspector General, and Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC"), and a motion for the
appointment of counsel. The Court denies the motions for
order to show cause because it finds that Defendants have
adequately ensured Pinson is receiving their motions. The
Court also denies the motions for the issuance of subpoenas
and for appointment of counsel because the motions are
premature at this stage in the litigation.
Court has already discussed the factual background for this
case in its prior Memorandum Opinion. See Pinson v. U.S.
Dep 't of Justice, No. 18-cv-486, 2018 WL 5464706,
at *l-2 (D.D.C. Oct. 29, 2018). The Court assumes familiarity
with its prior opinion and confines its discussion to the
facts most relevant to the present motions.
filed suit on February 21, 2018 against the U.S. Department
of Justice ("DO J") and the Central Intelligence
Agency ("CIA"). Compl., ECF No. 1. On June 22,
2018, Pinson filed an amended complaint adding as defendants
the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), U.S. Marshals
Service, three additional DOJ component agencies (together
with DOJ and the CIA, "Defendants"), and six
individual defendants. Am. Compl., ECF No. 16.
Defendants have moved for an extension of time to respond to
Pinson's amended complaint on multiple occasions. In
their fourth such motion, filed on October 31, 2018,
Defendants requested an extension of time to January 30, 2019
to respond to the Complaint. Defs.' Fourth Mot. Extension
at 2, ECF No. 27. The Court granted the motion on November
16, 2018. Nov. 16, 2018 Order at 1, ECF No. 32.
November 19, 2018, Pinson filed a motion for an order to show
cause. PL's Mot. Order Show Cause ("PL's Mot.
Cause I"), ECF No. 34. In the motion, Pinson asked the
Court to order Defendants to show cause as to why they had
failed to "supply the plaintiff with dispositive motions
or an answer to the Complaint which as of November 10, 2018
the plaintiff still ha[d] not received." PL's Mot.
Cause I at 1. Pinson also asserted more generally that
Defendants had failed to "adequately mark" the
envelopes containing motions, leading to mail not reaching
her in a timely manner. Id. In response, Defendants
argued that "[s]uch an order [wa]s entirely
unnecessary" because the reason Pinson had not received
a response to the Complaint was that the deadline for
Defendants' response was January 30, 2019. Defs.'
Opp. Mot. Order Show Cause ("Defs.' Opp. Cause
I") at 1, ECF No. 35. Defendants also stated that they
"ensure that any such dispositive motion (like all other
filings) are identified as 'legal mail' on the
outside of the envelope." Defs.' Opp. Cause I at 1.
December 10, 2018, Pinson filed a second motion for an order
to show cause, this time seeking an order for Defendants to
show cause why their fourth motion for an extension of time
had not been delivered to her, and to show cause as to how
Defendants would ensure future delivery of motions to her.
PL's Second. Mot. Order Show Cause ("PL's Mot.
Cause II") at 2, ECF No. 36. In the motion, Pinson
asserted that the failure to effectuate service was due to
Defendants' counsel "not list[ing] his name,
position, and the language in the legal mail regulation ...
on the envelope[s]" containing motions, and the mail not
being "sent via certified mail." PL's Mot.
Cause II at 1. Defendants responded by stating that they
label every mailing with "legal mail, open in presence
of inmate," meeting the special mail requirements of 28
C.F.R. § 540.18(a). Defs.' Opp. Mot. Order Show
Cause ("Defs.' Opp. Cause II") at 1, ECF No.
37. Defendants also argued that Defendants' counsel was
not required to include his name or position on the envelope,
nor were Defendants required to serve Pinson through
certified mail. Id. On January 28, 2019, Defendants
filed a fifth motion for extension of time, requesting an
extension of the deadline to respond to the amended complaint
to March 29, 2019. Defs.' Fifth Mot. Extension at 1. The
Court granted the extension on January 29, 2019. Min. Order
(Jan. 29, 2019).
January 28, 2019, Pinson filed two additional motions, a
motion for appointment of counsel and a motion for the
issuance of subpoenas. In the motion for appointment of
counsel, Pinson claims that a recent news article indicates
the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee has
issued a report finding "serious misconduct" and a
"coverup" by high ranking BOP officials. PL's
Mot. Appoint Counsel ("Mot. Appoint") at 1, ECF No.
39. Purportedly quoting directly from the report, the
article's author noted that "[s]erious misconduct by
senior federal prison officials [was] 'largely tolerated
or ignored altogether' under a culture in which some were
shielded from discipline." Kevin Johnson, Congress:
U.S. Prison Misconduct Regularly 'Covered Up',
USA Today, Mot. Appoint Ex. 1, ECF No. 39-1. Pinson asks the
Court to appoint counsel to litigate this case on her behalf,
in light of the "serious, chronic problem within the
Bureau of Prisons with retaliation" evidenced by the
article. Mot. Appoint at 2. Pinson claims that she is in need
of counsel because she is at a "complete disadvantage to
take depositions, navigate the labyrinth of technical
rules, and is prohibited from communicating with other
prisoners who are witnesses." Id.
motion for the issuance of subpoenas, Pinson asks, pursuant
Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 45(a)(3), for the Court to issue subpoenas
to "the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee
for  its 9-[p]age report [on the BOP, ] all
non-privileged source material used to create the report, and
to the Office of Inspector General for all material in its
custody or control related to the investigation involving, or
leading to, the 9-[p]age House report." Pi's Mot.
Subpoena at 2, ECF No. 40. In their response opposing the motion,
Defendants argue, inter alia, that Pinson's
motion is premature because none of them have filed a
response to the first amended complaint, nor has the Court
denied any dipositive motions by Defendants. Defs.' Opp.
Mot. Subpoena at 1, ECF No. 41.
has filed two motions for an order to show cause, a motion
for the issuance of subpoenas to various government entities,
and a motion for the appointment of counsel to assist with
the litigation of discovery issues in this case. The Court
reviews, and denies, each motion in turn. Because Pinson has
not shown that Defendants have been improperly failing to
serve her with legal mail, the Court denies the motions for
an order to show cause. And because the motion for the
issuance of subpoenas and the motion for appointment of
counsel are premature at this stage of the litigation, the
Court denies them.
Order to Show Cause
has filed two motions for an order to show cause, both
relating to alleged inadequacies in the service of motions to
her in this case. The Court denies both motions. The first
motion for an order to show cause why Pinson has not received
a dispositive motion or answer in response to the Complaint
is premature because the deadline for Defendants to respond
has not yet passed. And the second ...