Eldridge #147718 v. Schroeder
ORDER: Plaintiff's Motion for the Appointment of Counsel (Doc. 40 ) is denied. Signed by Magistrate Judge Eileen S Willett on 12/02/2015. (REK)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Joseph Gerald Eldridge,
No. CV-14-01325-PHX-DGC (ESW)
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc.
40). Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis and has filed a
civil rights First Amended Complaint (Doc. 21) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
requests the appointment of counsel for the following reasons: (1) the Plaintiff is trying
to serve the defendant and is unable to locate him; (2) the Plaintiff is unable to afford
counsel, (3) the Plaintiff needs to depose witnesses to perpetuate their testimony; (4) the
Plaintiff has limited library access and education; and (5) the Plaintiff is unfamiliar with
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
There is no constitutional right to the appointment of counsel in a civil case. See
Johnson v. U.S. Dep’t of Treasury, 939 F.2d 820, 824 (9th Cir. 1991); Ivey v. Bd of
Regents of the Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 269 (9th Cir. 1982). “However, a court
may under ‘exceptional circumstances’ appoint counsel for indigent civil litigants
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).” Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir.
2009) (quoting Agyeman v. Coors. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004)).
“When determining whether ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist, a court must consider ‘the
likelihood of success on the merits as well as the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his
claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.’” Palmer, 560 F.3d
at 970 (quoting Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983)). See also Terrell v.
Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991).
dispositive and instead must be viewed together.” Palmer, 560 F.3d at 970 (citing
Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986)).
“Neither of these considerations is
Having considered both elements, Plaintiff has not shown that exceptional
circumstances are present that would require the appointment of counsel in this case.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits at this early stage of
the case, nor has he shown that he is experiencing difficulty in litigating this case because
of the complexity of the issues involved. Plaintiff’s filings with the Court, as well as the
instant motion, indicate that Plaintiff is capable of navigating his proceedings and
presenting arguments to the Court. See Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331 (“If all that was
required to establish successfully the complexity of the relevant issues was a
demonstration of the need for development of further facts, practically all cases would
involve complex legal issues.”). Plaintiff is in no different position that many pro se
prisoner litigants. Having failed to show that exceptional circumstances are present,
Plaintiff’s request for appointment of counsel will be denied. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for the Appointment of Counsel (Doc.
40) is denied.
Dated this 2nd day of December, 2015.
Honorable Eileen S. Willett
United States Magistrate Judge
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