Williams v. Pfieffer, et al.
ORDER DENYING Plaintiff's 8 Motion for Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 6/15/2017. (Sant Agata, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
DONALD LEE WILLIAMS,
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION
FOR APPOINTMENT OF PRO BONO
(ECF NO. 8)
C. PFIEFFER, et al.,
Donald Williams (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this civil rights
action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for
appointment of pro bono counsel. (ECF No. 8).
Plaintiff asks for appointment of counsel because he is unable to afford counsel, because
the issues in this case are complex, because Plaintiff is currently a patient in the mental health
“Enhance Out-Patient Program” and takes prescribed medications in order to function effectively,
because this case will require extensive discovery, because this case will involve conflicting
testimony, because Plaintiff has extremely limited access to the law library, and because Plaintiff
has limited knowledge of the law.
Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action, Rand v.
Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), withdrawn in part on other grounds, 154 F.3d 952
(9th Cir. 1998), and the Court cannot require an attorney to represent Plaintiff pursuant to 28
U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa,
490 U.S. 296, 298, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 1816 (1989). However, in certain exceptional circumstances
the Court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand,
113 F.3d at 1525.
Without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the Court will seek
volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases.
In determining whether
Aexceptional circumstances exist, the district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success of
the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the
complexity of the legal issues involved.@ Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
The Court will not order appointment of pro bono counsel at this time. At this early stage in
the proceedings, the Court cannot make a determination that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the
merits. Plaintiff’s complaint is still awaiting screening. Additionally, Plaintiff has not yet submitted
his application to proceed in forma pauperis, despite being ordered to do so by the Court (ECF No. 3).
Moreover, based on the record in this case, it appears that Plaintiff can adequately articulate his
Plaintiff is advised that he is not precluded from renewing the motion for appointment of pro
bono counsel at a later stage of the proceedings.
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of pro
bono counsel is DENIED without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
June 15, 2017
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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