United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE
these three civil actions, plaintiffs assert claims against
defendant Darryl L. Christensen, a former correctional
officer for Polk County, and Polk County based on
Christensen's alleged sexual assault of plaintiffs while
they were incarcerated at the Polk County Jail. Wisconsin
County Mutual Insurance Corporation (“WCMIC”)
intervened, seeking a declaration that it has no duty to
defend or cover defendant Christiansen. Before the court is
WCMIC's motion for summary judgment (‘630 dkt.
#42), to which defendant Christensen filed a response pro
se (‘630 dkt. #65). While the motion was pending,
plaintiffs and WCMIC agreed to stipulate to entry of judgment
in favor of WCMIC and entry of a declaratory judgment that
WCMIC has no duty to defend or indemnify Christensen.
(‘630 dkt. #60.)
court previously granted WCMIC's motion in two cases
asserting similar allegations against Christensen. See
J.K.J. v. Polk Cty., No. 15-cv-428 (W.D. Wis. Nov. 28,
2016) (dkt. #108); M.J.J. v. Polk Cty., No.
15-cv-433 (W.D. Wis. Nov. 28, 2017) (dkt. #109). As the court
explained, in light of the allegations in the complaint and
Christensen's admission that his sexual contact with
plaintiffs was “done solely for sexual or other
personal gratification, and not for a legitimate penological
purpose, ” “Christensen acted outside the scope
of his agency and WCMIC has no duty to defend or cover
Christensen.” J.K.J, No. 15-cv-428, slip. op.
at *9. The court finds no reason to depart from this
conclusion and its analysis in the prior opinion.
pro se response, Christensen states that he is
indigent and unable to pay for an attorney to represent him
and seeks representation by Attorney Sarah Mills, the
attorney who represented him in the prior cases through
trial. However, Christensen does not offer any argument to
support a finding that WCMIC has a duty to pay the
costs of Mills' (or any of the other attorney's)
representation in defending him against similar claims in
these new cases. While the court did require Attorney Mills
to remain as counsel through trial in the prior cases
(see J.K.J., No. 15-cv-438 (W.D. Wis. Jan. 13, 2017)
(dkt. #170), the court's reasons for doing so there __
principally the confusion that Christensen's own counsel
created as to whether he would be represented in the rapidly
approaching trial __ are not at issue in these three cases.
extent Christensen's response could be viewed as a motion
for appointment for counsel, the court must also deny his
request. Unlike defendants in criminal cases, civil litigants
have no constitutional or statutory right to the appointment
of counsel. See, e.g., Ray v. Wexford Health Sources,
Inc., 706 F.3d 864, 866 (7th Cir. 2013); Luttrell v.
Nickel, 129 F.3d 933, 936 (7th Cir. 1997). While the
court may attempt to recruit counsel where appropriate, there
is no basis to do so here in light of Christensen's
experience in the prior lawsuits, his lack of any meaningful
defense, limited participation or assets. In short, the court
does not find the difficulty of these remaining cases,
whether factually, legally or tactically, is likely to exceed
Christensen's ability to present his defense. See
Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 655 (7th Cir. 2007).
Finding no reason to depart from its prior opinion and order
in the first two Polk Cases that coverage is unavailable to
Christensen, the court will grant WCMIC's motion and
enter an order declaring that WCMIC has no duty to defend or
cover Christensen and direct entry pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 54(b) in its favor.
extent Attorneys Mills and Hall intend to withdraw based on
this partial judgment, the court advises them of their
obligations to inform Christensen of this development and
otherwise cooperate fully in the orderly transfer of their
representation consistent with its ethical obligations.
Intervenor Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance
Corporation's motions for summary judgment (‘630
dkt. #42; ‘631 dkt. #45; ‘632 dkt. #42) are
court declares that (a) there is no insurance coverage
available to defendant Darryl L. Chrisensen under the Public
Entity Liability policy of insurance issued by WCMIC to Polk
County for the actions of Christensen as asserted by
plaintiffs in these actions; and (b) intervenor WCMIC has no
duty to defend or indemnify Christensen for any claims
asserted by plaintiffs against Christensen in these actions.
clerk of court is directed to enter judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) in favor of Wisconsin