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Federal Pro Bono Project

The Federal Pro Bono Project connects attorneys interested in limited-scope volunteer opportunities with prisoner civil rights cases filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cases qualify for assistance based on whether the litigant is incarcerated and has filed in forma pauperis or otherwise demonstrated an inability to afford counsel; the likelihood of success on the merits; and the ability of the litigant to articulate claims for themselves in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

3:16-cv-00223-RRB; Bradshaw v. Nyholm, et al.
Federal prisoner civil rights case involves Department of Corrections’ use of solitary confinement and process by which prisoners become eligible for protective custody. Federal Pro Bono Project volunteers have drafted an amended complaint, conducted discovery, and filed for summary judgment. A motion for reconsideration is currently being briefed by current counsel regarding the dismissal of the constitutional claims. A negligence claim and the question of whether qualified immunity applies remain to be litigated. Current counsel is willing to share and help a new volunteer get up to speed.

3:17-cv-00036-SLG; Powell v. Goslin, et al.
Federal prisoner civil rights case concerns allegations of inadequate health care by Department of Corrections staff regarding treatment of prisoner’s shoulder injury and staph infection. Currently, a pro bono attorney is needed to assist with discovery and motions.

3:18-cv-00211-RRB; Wagoner v. Dahlstrom, et al.
Federal prisoner civil rights case alleging that the Department of Corrections has refused to provide Wagoner with medical and mental health care for gender dysphoria and gender dysphoria related injuries. A pro bono attorney would be helpful in drafting an amended complaint, navigating discovery, motions practice, and any possible settlement conferences.

3:18-cv-00264-SLG; Davis v. Diaz
Federal prisoner civil rights case alleging constitutional violations for cruel and unusual punishment for failing to provide adequate medical care for prisoner’s heart condition. Volunteer counsel would be needed for discovery, motions, settlement conferences, or trial.

3:19-cv-00094-MMS; Ogle v. Nighswonger, et al.
Federal prisoner civil rights case alleges that prison officials censored a book (and have a pattern of censoring publications) based upon personal feelings and beliefs, rather than policy based upon penological concerns, and that grievance procedures are not followed after censorship occurs. Pro bono counsel would be helpful in drafting an amended complaint, discovery, motions practice, settlement negotiations or any other scope of representation that a volunteer is willing to undertake.

Program Guidelines and Local Rule 83.4, which allows for limited-scope representation: 

 If you are interested in volunteering for a case please contact:

  • Darrel Gardner (, 646-3406)
  • Eva Gardner (
  • Susan Orlansky (