(PC) Washington v. Yaplee
ORDER DENYING Plaintiff's 47 Motion to Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel, without prejudice, signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 8/2/2022. (Martin-Gill, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
STEVEN M. YAPLEE,
Case No. 1:20-cv-01356-EPG (PC)
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION
FOR APPOINTMENT OF PRO BONO
COUNSEL, WITHOUT PREJUDICE
(ECF No. 47)
Robert Washington (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
On August 1, 2022, Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of pro bono counsel. (ECF
No. 47). Plaintiff asks for appointment of counsel because he is unable to afford counsel; because
the issues involved in this case are complex; because Plaintiff is “under” the Americans with
Disabilities Act; because the paralegal that Plaintiff asked to help him backed out after agreeing
to help; because Plaintiff has no knowledge of the law or federal court rules; because this case
involves medical issues that may require expert testimony; because Plaintiff has demanded a jury
trial; because this case will require depositions of witnesses; because the testimony in this case
will be in sharp conflict; because Plaintiff has no high school education and no legal education;
and because Plaintiff’s case has merit.
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Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), withdrawn in part on other grounds, 154 F.3d 952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 (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, a 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. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
The Court will not order appointment of pro bono counsel at this time. The Court has
reviewed the record in this case, and at this time the Court is unable to make a determination that
Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim. Moreover, it appears that Plaintiff can
adequately articulate his claim.
The Court notes that Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 37), and
Plaintiff has already filed his opposition (ECF No. 45). If the motion for summary judgment is
denied, Plaintiff may renew his motion for appointment of pro bono counsel.
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.
August 2, 2022
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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