(PC) Matthew A. Lawrie v. Christian Pfeiffer
ORDER DENYING 17 Motion to Appoint Counsel, signed by Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin on 11/16/2021. (Martin-Gill, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
MATTHEW A. LAWRIE,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
(ECF No. 17.)
PFEIFFER, et al.,
On October 1, 2021, 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. 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 required screening pursuant to
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 have subjected Plaintiff to adverse conditions of
confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment, 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 16, 2021
/s/ Gary S. Austin
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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