United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR. CHIEF JUDGE
23, 2018, Plaintiff Thomas Crawford filed a Notice of Appeal,
ECF No. 132, regarding United States District Court Judge
Michael A. Telesca's Decision and Order, ECF No. 124,
granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No.
105, as to all claims except Thomas's excessive force
claim against Defendant Officer Christopher Wegner. ECF No.
130. Three days later, Thomas moved to stay trial, currently
scheduled for October 1, 2018, on the excessive force claim
pending his appeal of Judge Telesca's D&O and moved
the Court to appoint counsel to assist him in the trial.
reasons stated, Thomas's Motions are DENIED.
Motion to Stay Trial
“The filing of a notice of appeal is an event of
jurisdictional significance-it confers jurisdiction on the
court of appeals and divests the district court of its
control over those aspects of the case involved in the
appeal.” Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc.
Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982); see also Leonhard v.
United States, 633 F.2d 599, 609 (2d Cir. 1980)
(“Normally the filing of a timely and sufficient notice
of appeal immediately transfers jurisdiction, as to any
matters involved in the appeal, from the district court to
the court of appeals.”). District courts, however,
should not blindly decline jurisdiction once a notice of
appeal is filed-they must ensure that the rule's
application is “faithful to the principle of judicial
economy[.]” United States v. Rodgers, 101 F.3d
247, 251 (2d Cir. 1996).
district court must consider four factors when deciding
whether to stay proceedings pending appeal: “(1)
whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he
is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant
will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether
issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other
parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the
public interest lies.” In re World Trade Ctr.
Disaster Site Litig., 503 F.3d 167, 170 (2d Cir. 2007)
(quoting Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776
Thomas's Motion to Stay Trial fails for two reasons.
First, the Court was not divested of jurisdiction over the
excessive force claim. Judge Telesca's D&O dismissed
all other claims against Defendants other than Wegner.
See ECF No. 124. Consequently, the Court is entitled
to move forward with trial. Indeed, the principle of judicial
economy supports its decision to do so.
the factors outlined in the World Trade Center
decision weigh in favor of denying Thomas's Motion.
Thomas has not made a strong showing that he will exceed on
the merits. He will not be injured absent a stay; in fact,
the swift resolution of his case is in his interest. Staying
trial will injure Wegner only to the extent that the trial is
delayed further. And, finally, the public interest lies in a
quick resolution. See In re World Trade Ctr. Disaster
Site Litig., 503 F.3d at 170-71 (finding that there is a
public interest in resolving trial issues quickly).
Accordingly, Thomas's Motion to Stay Trial is DENIED.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
is no constitutional right to appointed counsel in civil
cases. The Court may appoint counsel to assist indigent
litigants under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), but trial courts
have broad discretion in determining whether such assignments
are warranted. See, e.g., Sears, Roebuck & Co. v.
Charles Sears Real Estate, Inc., 865 F.2d 22, 23 (2d
Cir. 1988); In re Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d 1254 (2d
Cir. 1984). The Court must judiciously appoint counsel, since
“every assignment of a volunteer lawyer deprives
society of a volunteer lawyer available for a deserving
cause.” Cooper v. A. Sargenti Co., 877 F.2d
170, 172 (2d Cir. 1989). In determining whether to assign
counsel, the Court considers several factors, including
whether the indigent's claim seems likely to be of
substance; whether the indigent is able to investigate the
facts concerning his claim; whether the legal issues are
complex; and whether there are special reasons why the
appointment of counsel would be more likely to lead to a just
determination. See Hendricks v. Coughlin, 114 F.3
390, 392 (2d Cir. 1997); Hodge v. Police Officers,
802 F.2d 58 (2d Cir. 1986).
the Court finds that appointment of counsel is not warranted
at this time. Plaintiff has demonstrated his ability to
pursue and present his claims effectively. Additionally, the
remaining claim in this case-the excessive force claim-is not
complex. Plaintiff has also shown no special reason why the
appointment of counsel would be more likely ...