Sullivan v. Biter

Filing 81

ORDER DENYING 80 Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 1/10/2017. (Sant Agata, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 v. Case No. 1:12-cv-01662-AWI-EPG (PC) ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (ECF No. 80) BITER, et al., Defendant. 16 17 On January 6, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel. Plaintiff 18 does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action, Rand v. Rowland, 113 19 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), and the court cannot require an attorney to represent plaintiff 20 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. United States District Court for the Southern 21 District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 1816 (1989). However, in certain 22 exceptional circumstances the court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 23 section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 1525. 24 Without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the court will seek 25 volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases. In determining whether 26 “exceptional circumstances exist, the district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success of 27 the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the 28 complexity of the legal issues involved.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 1 1 In the present case, the court does not find the required exceptional circumstances. The 2 mere fact that Plaintiff is unable to locate one of the defendants at this stage in the litigation does 3 not justify the appointment of counsel; Plaintiff will have adequate opportunities to identify any 4 missing defendants later in this litigation. Further, at this early stage in the proceedings, the court 5 cannot make a determination that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits, and based on a 6 review of the record in this case, the court does not find that plaintiff cannot adequately articulate 7 his claims. Id. 8 9 For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff=s motion for the appointment of counsel is DENIED without prejudice. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 12 Dated: January 10, 2017 /s/ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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