(PC) Brummett v. Sherman, et al.

Filing 14

ORDER DENYING 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by Magistrate Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta on 1/8/2020. (Lundstrom, T)

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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 MELVIN RAY BRUMMETT, JR., 12 Plaintiff, v. 13 STUART SHERMAN, D. LOPEZ, G. BEARD, E. AGUIRRE, 14 15 No. 1:20-cv-00622-HBK (PC) ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL Doc. No. 8 Defendants. 16 17 18 19 This matter comes before the Court upon initial review of the case which was recently reassigned to the undersigned. See Doc. No. 13. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel filed on May 13, 2020. (Doc. No. 8). Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se 20 21 22 and incarcerated, initiated this action by filing a prisoner Civil Rights Complaint on April 30, 2020. Doc. No. 1.1 Plaintiff was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. No.7. 23 Plaintiff lists a litany of reasons why he requires appointment of counsel, including, but not 24 limited to:(1) he is unable to afford counsel and his case has merit; (2) the issues involved are 25 26 27 28 1 The Court notes that the Screening Order (Doc. No. 11) permitted Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint within sixty days. See Doc. No. 11 at 6. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on October 5, 2020, which the court will review under § 1915A and/or by separate order direct service of process on Defendants as appropriate. 1 1 complex medical issues; (3) the case is complex because it contains several different legal claims, 2 some of which include supervisor liability claims; (4) the case will require extensive discovery; and 3 (5) plaintiff’s work hours conflict with the law library hours. See Doc. No. 8 at 1-2. 4 The United States Constitution does not require appointment of counsel in civil cases. See 5 6 Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 354 (1996) (explaining Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. at 817, did not 7 create a right to appointment of counsel in civil cases). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, this Court has 8 discretionary authority to appoint counsel for an indigent to commence, prosecute, or defend a civil 9 action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (stating the court has authority to appoint counsel for people 10 11 unable to afford counsel); see also United States v. McQuade, 519 F.2d 1180 (9th Cir. 1978) (addressing relevant standard of review for motions to appoint counsel in civil cases) (other 12 13 14 citations omitted). However, motions to appoint counsel in civil cases are granted only in “exceptional circumstances.” Id. at 1181. The Court may consider many factors including, but not 15 limited to, proof of indigence, the likelihood of success on the merits, and the ability of the plaintiff 16 to articulate his or her claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved, to 17 determine if exceptional circumstances warrant appointment of counsel. Id.; see also Rand v. 18 Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), withdrawn in part on other grounds on reh’g en 19 banc, 154 F.2d 952 (9th Cir. 1998). 20 21 Here, the Court does not find exceptional circumstances warrant appointment of counsel for 22 Plaintiff. Although Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and is incarcerated, he faces the same obstacles 23 all pro se prisoners face. A review of the pleadings filed by Plaintiff further show he can articulate 24 his claims. 25 26 Accordingly, it is now ORDERED: Plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel (Doc. No. 8) is DENIED. 27 28 2 1 2 IT IS SO ORDERED. 3 Dated: 4 5 January 8, 2021 HELENA M. BARCH-KUCHTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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