Washington v. Cicone, et al.

Filing 9

ORDER Denying Plaintiff's 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel, signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 5/18/17. (Gonzalez, R)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MICHAEL WASHINGTON, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 J. CICONE, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 ORDER DENYING, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL [ECF No. 8] action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel, filed May 11, 19 20 Case No.: 1:17-cv-00515-DAD-SAB (PC) Plaintiff Michael Washington is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights 17 18 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2017. 21 Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action, Rand v. 22 Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), and the court cannot require any attorney to represent 23 plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. United States District Court for the Southern 24 District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). However, in certain exceptional circumstances the court 25 may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 26 1525. 27 /// 28 /// 1 Without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the court will seek 1 2 volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases. In determining whether 3 “exceptional circumstances exist, the district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success on the 4 merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the 5 legal issues involved.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 6 In the present case, the Court does not find the required exceptional circumstances. Plaintiff 7 contends that his mental health condition prevents him from effectively litigating this action. While 8 Plaintiff has alleged and demonstrated that he suffers mental health issues, the Court does not find that 9 the exceptional factors necessary to justify appointment of counsel exist in this case, at the present 10 time. Plaintiff’s current motion demonstrates that Plaintiff (and/or his current inmate assistant) 11 understand the process and how to file documents. Furthermore, the Court cannot evaluate the 12 likelihood of success of the merits as the Court has yet to the screen the complaint. The record in this 13 case demonstrates sufficient writing ability and legal knowledge to articulate the claims asserted, even 14 if such filings are done with the assistance of other inmates. Moreover, the exhibits attached to 15 Plaintiff’s demonstrate that he may go to the library and seek assistance from staff in the completion 16 of appropriate court requested forms. (Mot. Ex. B, ECF No. 8.) In addition, circumstances common 17 to most prisoners, such as lack of legal education and limited law library access, do not establish 18 exceptional circumstances that would warrant a request for voluntary assistance of counsel. 19 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel is denied, without prejudice. 20 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 Dated: 24 May 18, 2017 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 25 26 27 28 2

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