Forte v. Hughes et al
ORDER DENYING Motion to Appoint Counsel, document 12 . Order signed by Magistrate Judge Sandra M. Snyder on 4/23/2014. (Rooney, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT
Case No. 1:13-cv-01980-LJO-SMS
PATTERSON PD CHIEF TORI HUGHES,
(Doc. 12, in part)
Plaintiff Eugene Forte, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a motion in which
he both objects to the initial screening of his complaint and requests appointment of counsel. In an
ex parte communication with the Court, Plaintiff has indicated that he has postponed action with
regard to other cases pending before this Court until it appoints counsel for him. Accordingly, this
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
ordinary course of the Court's business.
Generally, a person has no right to counsel in civil actions. Storseth v. Spellman, 654 F.2d
1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981). In exceptional circumstances, a court may request counsel to voluntarily
assist any person unable to afford counsel. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Without a reasonable method of
securing and compensating counsel, however, the Court will seek volunteer counsel in only the most
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).
To determine whether exceptional circumstances exist, a court must consider "the likelihood
of success on the merits as well as the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light
of the complexity of the legal issues involved." Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir.
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
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
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.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
April 23, 2014
/s/ Sandra M. Snyder
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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