Rhey v. Ogbuehi et al
ORDER Denying Plaintiff's 16 Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 10/17/2017. (Flores, E)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION
FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
Case No. 1:17-cv-00718-AWI-SAB (PC)
[ECF No. 16]
INFEOMA OGBUEHI, et al.,
Plaintiff Choon Rhey is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights matter
18 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Currently before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion seeking the appointment of counsel, filed
20 on October 16, 2017. (ECF No. 16.)
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 an attorney to
23 represent Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 1915(e)(1), Mallard v. United States District Court for
24 the Southern District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298, 109 S. Ct. 1814, 1816 (1989). However, in
25 certain exceptional circumstances the Court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel
26 pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 1525. Without a reasonable method of securing
27 and compensating counsel, the Court will seek volunteer counsel only in the most serious and
28 exceptional cases. In determining whether “exceptional circumstances exist, a district court must
1 evaluate both the likelihood of success of the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to
2 articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.” Id. (internal
3 quotation marks and citations omitted).
Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel because he is unable to afford counsel and has
5 been unable to hire an attorney on his own, the legal issues are complex, including that there are
6 medical issues and six defendants, and he has limited knowledge of the law and limited law
7 library access. Plaintiff also discusses that English is his second language, and that he does not
8 have an educational background in the United States.
In the present case, the Court does not find that exceptional circumstances exist which
10 would warrant a request for the voluntary assistance of counsel. Circumstances common to most
11 prisoners, such as non-attorney status and limited law library access, do not establish exceptional
12 circumstances. Further, the record reflects that Plaintiff is adequately able to articulate his claim,
13 and the issues raised are not complex. Finally, at this early stage in the litigation, where Plaintiff
14 has not yet pleaded any cognizable claim, the Court does not find any likelihood of success on
15 the merits.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel is denied, without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
October 17, 2017
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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