Langley v. Tulare Police Department et al

Filing 45

ORDER DENYING 41 Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 4/19/2017. (Jessen, A)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RANDY LANGLEY, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 1:16-cv-00336-DAD-SKO ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL v. TULARE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., (Doc. No. 41) 15 Defendants. 16 Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action, has requested 17 18 appointment of counsel.1 (Doc. No. 41.) The United States Supreme Court has ruled that district courts lack authority to require 19 20 counsel to represent indigent prisoners in § 1983 cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 21 296, 298 (1989). In certain exceptional circumstances, the district court may request the 22 voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(1). Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 23 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335–36 (9th Cir. 1990). 24 The test for exceptional circumstances requires the court to evaluate the plaintiff’s 25 likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in 26 1 27 28 Plaintiff also indicates that he has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. (Doc. No. 41 at 1.) However, the docket in this case does not reflect an application to proceed in forma pauperis filed by plaintiff to date. In any event, plaintiff paid the civil case filing fee in the amount of $400.00 on March 10, 2016. 1 1 light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 2 1331 (9th Cir. 1986); Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983). Circumstances 3 common to most prisoners, such as lack of legal education and limited law library access, do not 4 establish exceptional circumstances that would warrant a request for voluntary assistance of 5 counsel. 6 Given that the discovery deadline in this action is December 1, 2017, dispositive motions 7 are not due until March 2, 2018, and a pre-trial conference has been scheduled for June 16, 2018, 8 the court cannot adequately assess the complexity of plaintiff’s case at this time in order to 9 determine whether exceptional circumstances exist which would justify seeking counsel willing 10 11 to represent plaintiff in this action on a pro bono basis. Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel (Doc. No. 41) is denied at this time 12 without prejudice to its renewal at a later stage of this litigation. 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 Dated: April 19, 2017 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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