Available Cases – Volunteer Opportunities and Pro Bono Assistance

Pursuant to recently adopted Administrative Order 2014-14, the Court is revamping its process for obtaining pro bono counsel for pro se litigants. Please check back in the near future for further information. In the meantime, inquiries should be directed to FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Available Cases:

United States of America v. Phillips (15-CV-81509-JMH)

Defendant seeks representation in this case brought by the United States for default of her student loans. The United States Department of Education reinsured Defendant’s loans and states it was assigned the right and title to the loans by the Guarantor, the New York Higher Education Assistance Corporation, after they were unable to collect on the loans. The United States has now brought this action seeking to collect Defendant’s outstanding loan balance.  Defendant does not dispute that the loans are outstanding, but states she thought they were paid by her former spouse and is now unable to pay the loans. The United States has a pending Motion for Summary Judgment, filed 4/5/16.

If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Ronald Youmans v. Nelson Ojeda, et al. (15-CV-14164-KAM)

The case has been screened and is proceeding on claims of unlawful use of force; deliberate indifference to a serious medical need or condition; and punitive damage claims against the named Defendants, Miller, Ojeda, Paquette, and Laurson, in their individual capacity, following his arrest, and request for medical attention.  Plaintiff alleges the named defendants rushed into his cell, threw him on the floor, and began kicking and beating him, stepping on and breaking one of his arms. He also alleges he was denied medical treatment for 25 days following the beating because he was placed in confinement, and when finally treated, he was told he would require surgery to re-break the arm. All defendants have been served and have filed answers, with the exception of Laurson, who may be in default since telephonic inquiry reveals he was served March 29th, but no return has been filed to date. The case is currently in the discovery phase.

If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Cruz v. Commissioner of Social Security (16-CV-21307-KMM)

This action is an appeal from the decision of an Administrative Law Judge, which found that Plaintiff is not disabled. Plaintiff contends that he has new medical evidence, and the ALJ’S decision contains errors of law and is not supported by substantial evidence. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Spence v. Candida Morales Cafeteria Corp. et al (16-CV-80427-KAM)

Plaintiff has sued the Defendant owner of a restaurant for noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and certain ADA regulations. The Defendant corporation that operates the business is owned by an elderly woman who only speaks Spanish and cannot afford an attorney. The Defendant is in need of a volunteer attorney to assist with defending this lawsuit. The case is in its initial stage and the complaint has not yet been answered. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Lotacki v. Molina, (15-61896-CV-WJZ) Guardian ad Litem

Plaintiff, a citizen of Poland and resident of Spain, brought a claim under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act and the Hague convention, seeking to have his minor child returned to him at the child’s habitual residence in Spain.  Plaintiff claims that the child’s mother, a citizen of Cuba, wrongfully removed the child from Spain to the United States without plaintiff’s permission.  Defendant currently resides in the Southern District of Florida with the minor child.

The Court has entered a preliminary injunction, enjoining Defendant from leaving the Southern District of Florida while the case is pending.  The Court seeks an attorney to represent the minor child as guardian ad litem for this case, including, if need be, at trial on the merits before the District Court to determine whether the child must be returned to Spain pursuant to the International Child Abduction Remedies Act and the Hague Convention.

If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Charles Davis, II. v. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw et al. (14-80429-CV-WJZ)

This is a § 1983 action filed by Plaintiff Charles Davis, II, proceeding pro se, wherein he alleges that on June 25, 2013, while in custody at the Palm Beach County Jail, he was classified as a state witness in protective custody because he was going to testify against another inmate, Marquis Jones, in an upcoming criminal case. On that date, Plaintiff claims the following events transpired:  Plaintiff was going to the recreation area with several other inmates when he noticed that Defendant Deputy Sheriff Jones and Defendant Deputy Sheriff Thompkins allowed Inmate Marquis Jones into the recreation area as well.  Marquis Jones filled up a 16 oz. cup from the employee’s hot water dispenser (containing hot water that was 190 degrees Fahrenheit), against prison rules which prohibited inmate access to said dispenser.  Plaintiff claims he asked Deputies Jones and Thompkins if he could leave the recreation area and they refused to allow him to do so.  Marquis Jones then poured the cup of scalding hot water on Plaintiff’s face, neck and chest.  Next, Marquis Jones pulled out a shank and stabbed Plaintiff in the throat, allegedly while Jones and Thompkins watched and did not intervene or call for back-up.  Plaintiff was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries and claims to have permanent scars from this event.  Defendants and Plaintiff dispute whether Defendants knew of Plaintiff’s protective custody status and the danger posed to him by Inmate Marquis Jones. Magistrate Judge White issued a Report recommending that Defendants’ Motion For Summary Judgment be denied, which this Court has approved, adopted, and ratified.  The claim against Sheriff Bradshaw has been dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and Plaintiff’s claims for endangerment against Defendants Thompkins and Davis remain.

If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Savoie v. Bradshaw et al (13-CV-80517-WJZ)

Both pro se Plaintiffs seek pro bono counsel and are suing various defendants in the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and the Jerome Golden Center for violations of their constitutional rights, pursuant to §1983. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Mims v. Cesaire (15-CV-24571-JAL)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff, a prisoner in federal custody, filed a Section 1983 complaint alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment.  Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant, a registered nurse working at the prison facility, refused to provide him with his seizure medication in retaliation for making a complaint against the Defendant.  Plaintiff has yet to serve the Defendant, and no response has been made in this case.  If interested, please contact: Jeffrey_Thomas@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Ledea v. Metro-Dade County Police Department et al (13-CV-23117-UU)

The plaintiff is suing police officers alleging excessive use of force during his arrest on two separate occasions. He claims that the two instances are somehow linked because he has been allegedly had difficulties with Miami police and Miami-Dade police. In December 2009 he was arrested during a prostitution sting and alleges that the officers beat him. In November 2010 he was arrested for possession of cocaine, aggravated fleeing and resisting arrest. The defendants in the November 2010 incident filed a motion to dismiss which it has been recommended be denied.  The defendants in the 2009 incident have not been served although service is now outstanding since they have been properly identified as City of Miami officers.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Coleman v. Florida Department of Children & Families et al (14-CV-61019-WJZ)

Plaintiff has brought suit against the three named defendants claiming his constitutional rights were violated due to his involuntary civil commitment for eleven months predicated on a false and defective psychological report. The final amended complaint has been screened, and discovery is ongoing.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Dewitt v. Pena (15-CV-21094-MGC)

The Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City, Florida, filed a Section 1983 complaint alleging that a Miami-Dade police officer used excessive force during his arrest by slamming his face on the back of a patrol car while he was handcuffed. He claims that he is disabled under the Americans with Disabilities and suffered severe abrasions to his face, eyes, and head, swelling on the right side of his brain, severe head trauma, neck pain, blurred vision and severe chronic headaches. He seeks damages for mental and physical pain, past medical costs, and future medical costs. The complaint passed initial screening and the Defendant has filed an answer. Discovery closes on February 22, 2106, and dispositive motions are due on March 28, 2016.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Sherlock v. Fontainbleau (15-CV-24593-JAL)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff seeks representation for employment discrimination on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. After exhausting administrative remedies, she requests relief for claims of hostile work environment and wrongful termination from her employment on the basis of race and in retaliation for filing her EEOC complaint.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Levine v. Hernandez (15-CV-21220-JAL)

The Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the South Florida Reception Center, filed a Section 1983 complaint alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. He claims that he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia prior to his incarceration and was treated with prescription medication. The Florida Department of Corrections substituted non-prescription medication when he entered custody in March, 2010, and discontinued all pain medication without cause in April 2014. He claims that the discontinuation of medication has resulted in pain and a pronounced limp. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, declaratory judgment, and the immediate issuance of appropriate pain medication. The amended complaint has passed initial screening and the three defendants remaining in the case filed answers. A motion to dismiss was filed on November 12, 2015, and remains pending. Discovery closes on April 8, 2016, and motions to dismiss and for summary judgment are due on May 13, 2016. The pro se Plaintiff claims that he requires the assistance of counsel because he lacks the expertise to litigate the case, and because he is being denied legal mail while he is on disciplinary confinement for three months.

If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Ogris v. Broward County, et al. (15-CV-61395-JIC)

Docket Sheet

The Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the Broward County Main Jail, seeks assistance in filing a facially sufficient Section 1983 complaint. He appears to allege the use of excessive force against a mentally ill person during arrest, deliberate indifference, and/or unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The amended complaint and financial records supporting his motion to proceed in forma pauperis are due on January 5, 2016. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Picardat v. City of Miami et al (15-CV-24305-DPG)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff brings claims against the City of Miami and various individual police officers, alleging civil rights violations arising from a vehicle stop. The Plaintiff alleges that the stop resulted in unreasonable search and seizure and the use of excessive force. This case is presently in the preliminary stages, awaiting service on the Defendants. If interested, please contact: gayles@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Townson v. Mr. Scarpetti et al (15-CV-14102-RLR)

This 1983 suit involves an Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need claim and punitive damage claim arising from the named Defendant’s failure to honor and abide by his pre-confinement DC6-229 form, medical profile, and low bunk pass, requiring that he be assigned to a low bunk and low tier housing due to his diagnosed, history of severe epileptic seizures. The complaint has been screened under the PLRA, service ordered, and defendants have filed answers and/or motions to quash.

The Court is seeking an attorney to enter a Special Appearance on behalf of the Plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c). Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Williams v. Santiago et al (15-CV-60818-WPD)

In this Section 1983 civil rights case, the incarcerated pro se plaintiff alleges that the named defendants needlessly punched his eye and kicked him to the ground during his arrest. He claims that the use of excessive force injured his sinus cavity which required surgery and has caused migraine headaches, flashbacks, and numbness. The case has passed preliminary screening and is pending against ten police officers. Discovery is underway and one motion to dismiss is pending. The pro se plaintiff claims that he is having difficulty obtaining the records he requires in discovery.

The Court is seeking an attorney to represent the plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c). Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Malik v. Wexford Health Services, Inc. et al (14-CV-23204-JLK)

In this 1983 case, the incarcerated pro se plaintiff alleges that the named defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, providing no treatment for his neuropathy, and claiming it has been over a year since he has had a follow-up exam regarding his HDL-C, causing his hypertension to go unmanaged and become life threatening. He further claims there is a policy in place at the state operated, but privately managed medical facility at Everglades CI, of providing cursory or minimal medical care management, and ignoring or failing to adequately treat medical conditions, as a cost saving measure. The case is proceeding on claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, and that the punitive damages claim also proceed. All defendants, with the exception of Louissant have been served and have filed answers. As to Louissant, the Marshal is attempted to serve that defendant with process. The case is in the discovery phase as to all other defendants.

The Court is seeking an attorney to enter a Special Appearance on behalf of the plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c).  Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Green v. Heller et al (15-80404-CV-DMM)

The plaintiff, Dale Toby Green, while confined at South Bay Correctional Facility, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C., Section 1983.  The case is proceeding as to defendants Dr. Jules Heller, Medical Director at South Bay Correctional Facility, and Nurse John Wade, on plaintiff’s claim of denial of adequate medical care.  Plaintiff claims the foregoing defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his medical conditions by failing to provide him proper medical care and treatment.  Specifically, plaintiff asserts defendants Heller and Wade have ignored repeated recommendations to treat his tightening skin resulting from burns to over 80% of his body that he sustained as a child.

The Court is seeking an attorney to enter a Special Appearance on behalf of the Plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c). Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

USA v. Carl Watts (10-20656-CR-PAS)

Docket Sheet

Judge Seitz is seeking a volunteer pro bono lawyer to assist in the case described below.  It is not the type of case for which assistance usually is requested in Federal Court but is a test case as part of the Court Assisted Reentry (C.A.R.E.) Court pilot that the Southern District approved last week to assist released defendants reintegrate more successfully into the community.

Defendant Carl Watts is on supervised release.  As part of his additional conditions of supervised release, he must obtain a modification of his two state court child support orders for reinstatement of his driver’s license. The lack of a driver’s license limits his employment options. The state attorney is involved because Mr. Watts is in arrears on both orders due to his incarceration. He has started the modification process. One order pertains to his oldest minor daughter and the second to his four other minor children. He is presently employed on a temporary basis and is looking for permanent work.

At the continuation of his revocation hearing yesterday, Mr. Watts advised that because he does not have the funds to hire a lawyer, the process takes longer. The Court advised him that it would seek a pro bono lawyer to assist him with the modification process with a goal of having the modifications entered in both cases by the next hearing on his revocation set for January 19, 2016.  The Family Court and State Attorney case numbers for the cases are: (1) for the four children:   2005-005818-FC04, State Case No. 132005DR00581800004; and (2) for his eldest daughter: 2001-020050-FC-04 and State Case No. 132001DR020050000004.  His Assistant Federal Public Defender is: Abigail Becker.  The AUSA is: Maria Medetis.  His US Probation Officer is Ann Roman.

If interested, please contact either FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov or Judge Seitz’s Courtroom Deputy Clara Foster at Clara_Foster@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Tuer v. Broward County Jail et al (13-CV-62732-DPG)

Plaintiff alleges Defendants Dr. Errol Campbell and Nurse Johnson were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.  After an initial screening, the Court has permitted this claim to proceed.  Defendant Campbell was served on October 1, 2015. If interested, please contact: Gayles@flsd.uscourts.gov

Ruiz v. Wing et al (15-22618-CV-UU)

The Plaintiff sues various officers arising out of their unlawful use of force during Plaintiff’s 2014 arrest. The Complaint has been screened, however, Plaintiff has sought the request of a volunteer lawyer to assist in perfecting an amended complaint and conducting discovery. The case is presently in the preliminary stages, with service being perfected since Plaintiff has been granted pauper status. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Pierre v. Israel, et al. (15-61812-CV-WPD)

Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, has filed this civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C., Section 1983, against correctional and medical personnel employed by the Broward County Main Jail, arising from claims of unlawful use of force, failure to intervene, and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need  stemming from a July 14, 2015,  incident.  The case has been screened and service has been ordered. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Kozich v. Deibert (15-61386-CV-WPD)

Docket Sheet

Pro se Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendants regarding his tenancy and the non-renewal of his apartment lease, which is subject to the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Grantley v. Jones et al. (15-22724-CV-JAL)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, against corrections officers and nurses at the Miami-Dade Pretrial Detention Center. He alleges that he was beaten twice by several corrections officers, that other officers failed to intervene, and that he was denied medical attention for his injuries. The complaint has passed initial screening and service is underway. The Plaintiff currently resides at Santa Rosa C.I. in Milton, Florida. He claims that he needs the assistance of an attorney because he suffers from severe vision loss, is prohibited from corresponding with inmate witnesses, and is unable to access the law library or obtain the assistance of prison law clerks because of his close management status.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Perez v. Trust Security Services, Inc. et (15-CV-21203-JLK)

Docket Sheet

The Court is seeking an attorney to assist Defendant, proceeding pro se, in defending against claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover unpaid overtime compensation.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Grimaldo v. Carnival Corporation et al (14-CV-22882-CMA)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff asserts various negligence claims against Carnival Corporation and individual medical Defendants.  Plaintiff was a passenger on a Carnival vessel in 2013.  As alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff was presented to the medical facility onboard the vessel with complaints of dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, etc., and was misdiagnosed by the medical defendants and told it was safe to fly on an airplane.  As a result, Plaintiff suffered a stroke and now suffers from permanent brain injury.  The complaint was drafted and filed by Plaintiff’s former counsel.  Defendant Carnival has answered the complaint.  The individual medical Defendants, all foreign citizens, have waived service but contest personal jurisdiction.  Plaintiff needs an attorney to represent her, conduct jurisdictional discovery, and pursue her claims.  The case is administratively closed so Plaintiff can obtain counsel.  The case will be reopened upon Plaintiff’s counsel filing a notice of appearance and motion to reopen.  If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Goldstein Law Group, P.A. v. Machado et al (15-cv-61145-Cooke)

Plaintiff, a law firm, filed suit against pro se Defendants, its former employees, seeking declaratory and equitable relief, equitable and compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees and costs, for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, and Florida common law. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants participated in a scheme designed to breach the law firm’s computer and communications systems. The Court is seeking an attorney to assist two of the three Defendants implicated in this scheme with discovery, motion practice, and trial. The two Defendants have indicated that they would particularly appreciate the assistance of an attorney at an early court-mandated mediation or settlement conference.
If interested, please contact: FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov

Johnson v. Captain (15-CV-21232-UU)

Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, who claims to be wheelchair bound, brings a claim of unlawful use of force and injuries resulting therefrom against a captain at a prison mental health facility in February 2015.  The case has been screened and an order entered permitting the case proceed against the officer on plaintiff’s claim of unlawful use of force.  At this time, given the plaintiff’s in forma pauperis status, the court’s agents for service of process shall be perfecting service against the defendant.  The Court is seeking an attorney to enter a Special Appearance on behalf of the Plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions, in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c).  Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention.  If interested, please contact FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov.

Charles v. Broward County Main Jail (14-CV-62816-WPD)

Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, alleges an excessive force claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff states that on December 22, 2013, he was beaten in the face several times and kicked in the stomach in a booking room by an unknown deputy. He states that he was bleeding from the mouth and head. If interested, please contact FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov

Henderson v. Crews, et al (13-14236-CIV-Martinez)

Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, has filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 suing numerous employees at Martin Correctional, claiming he was denied Celexia, a medication for his schizophrenia. As a result, he began hearing voices and attempted to hang himself in his cell. He told staff at Martin that he needed his medications, but he claims they thought he was “faking it.” At the time of filing the complaint, he still had been denied the medication and, in fact, claims to have been released without any medical treatment having been provided. The Court is seeking an attorney to enter a Special Appearance on behalf of the Plaintiff for the sole purpose of assisting the plaintiff in completing the pretrial discovery process and responding to summary judgment motions in accordance with Special Appearance Local Rule 4(c). Upon completion of discovery, the attorney can either continue with the case or refer it back for further attention. If interested, please contact FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov

Cummings v. Blank (former) et al (13-CV-22042-Scola)

Docket Sheet

Plaintiff brings this action against her employer claiming age and gender discrimination based on failure to promote and denial of training. If interested in taking this case, please contact Magistrate Judge Otazo-Reyes’ chambers at otazo-reyes@flsd.uscourts.gov