(PC) White v. Krantz et al
ORDER DENYING 9 Motion to Appoint Counsel, signed by Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin on 11/17/2020. (Martin-Gill, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CORY JAMES WHITE,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
(ECF No. 9.)
KRANTZ, et al.,
On October 29, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel.
Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action, Rand v. Rowland,
113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), 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 (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
“exceptional 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).
In the present case, the court does not find the required exceptional circumstances.
Plaintiff argues that he cannot afford to retain counsel, he has limited understanding of the law,
serious and complex discovery proceedings will be necessary, and his access to legal materials
are limited. These conditions, without more, do not make plaintiff’s case exceptional under the
law. 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 awaits the court’s screening required
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Thus, to date the court has not found any cognizable claims in plaintiff’s
complaint for which to initiate service of process, and no other parties have yet appeared. The
legal issue in this case -- whether defendants violated plaintiff’s right to practice his religion -- is
not complex. Moreover, based on a review of the record in this case, the court finds that plaintiff
can adequately articulate his claims. Therefore, plaintiff’s motion shall be denied, without
prejudice to renewal of the motion at a later stage of the proceedings.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s motion for the appointment of counsel
is HEREBY DENIED, without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 17, 2020
/s/ Gary S. Austin
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?