Forte v. Hughes et al

Filing 14

ORDER DENYING Motion to Appoint Counsel, document 12 . Order signed by Magistrate Judge Sandra M. Snyder on 4/23/2014. (Rooney, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 EUGENE FORTE, 10 11 Plaintiff, ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL v. 12 13 14 Case No. 1:13-cv-01980-LJO-SMS PATTERSON PD CHIEF TORI HUGHES, et al., Defendants. (Doc. 12, in part) 15 16 17 Plaintiff Eugene Forte, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a motion in which 18 he both objects to the initial screening of his complaint and requests appointment of counsel. In an 19 ex parte communication with the Court, Plaintiff has indicated that he has postponed action with 20 regard to other cases pending before this Court until it appoints counsel for him. Accordingly, this 21 22 order addresses Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel separately from the balance of his motion regarding the screening of his complaint, which will be addressed by a separate order in the 23 24 25 ordinary course of the Court's business. Generally, a person has no right to counsel in civil actions. Storseth v. Spellman, 654 F.2d 26 1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981). In exceptional circumstances, a court may request counsel to voluntarily 27 assist any person unable to afford counsel. 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(1). Without a reasonable method of 28 securing and compensating counsel, however, the Court will seek volunteer counsel in only the most 1 1 2 serious and exceptional cases. Agyeman v. Corrections Corp. of Amer., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied sub nom, Gerber v. Agyeman, 545 U.S. 1128 (2005). 3 To determine whether exceptional circumstances exist, a court must consider "the likelihood 4 of success on the merits as well as the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light 5 of the complexity of the legal issues involved." Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 6 7 1983). Because neither element is dispositive, a court must consider both factors. Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). In the absence of exceptional circumstances, a 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 court does not abuse its discretion in declining to appoint counsel for an indigent civil litigant. Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009). As is the case with every litigant, Plaintiff's case is important to him. That is not the measure of an exceptional case. Numerous cases alleging the use of excessive force are filed in this Court annually. Objectively evaluated, Plaintiff's case is no different from those cases. Nor is its success more or less likely than those similar cases. Further, as Plaintiff himself would admit, his extensive 15 16 17 18 19 litigation experience, higher education, and experience as a businessman render him far more able to articulate his case than the average pro se litigant. Accordingly, the Court does not find exceptional circumstances requiring appointment of counsel. Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED. 20 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 Dated: April 23, 2014 /s/ Sandra M. Snyder UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 25 26 27 28 2

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