Mapes v. Indiana, No. 19-1384 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Mapes was arrested for trespassing after being refused service at a CVS store. He sued the state, CVS, and several individual defendants asserting a long list of grievances under federal and state law. Mapes asserted the need for pro bono representation based on his poor hearing, social anxiety, a speech disorder, and an unidentified mental disability. The district judge denied Mapes’s request to recruit counsel, dismissed Mapes’s complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim, and suggested several amendments to the complaint. The judge informed Mapes that his amended complaint “should set forth what happened during the incident and the facts that support his belief that CVS refused to serve him because of his disability.” She explained that Mapes should identify the people who harmed him and describe how they did so. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judge’s refusal to recruit counsel. The inquiry into the plaintiff’s capacity to handle his own case is a practical one, made in light of whatever relevant evidence is available on the question. Mapes demonstrated that he was physically able to file a complaint and mentally able to recall the relevant events. The judge was not required to offer legal guidance.