Yates v. West Contra Costa Unified School District

Filing 59

ORDER by Judge Maria-Elena James denying 53 Motion to Appoint Counsel. (mejlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/5/2017) (Additional attachment(s) added on 1/5/2017: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (rmm2S, COURT STAFF).

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 FERNANDO YATES, Case No. 16-cv-01077-MEJ Plaintiff, 8 ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL v. 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 WEST CONTRA COSTA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Re: Dkt. No. 53 Defendant. Plaintiff Fernando Yates filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel in this civil lawsuit 13 against Defendant West Contra Costa Unified School District. See Mot., Dkt. No. 53. The Court 14 finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civ. 15 L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered Plaintiff’s position, relevant legal authority, and the record in this 16 case, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for the following reasons. 17 Plaintiff explains he requests counsel because he is not familiar with the rules and 18 procedures of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the case is 19 complex, proceeding in pro per will prevent him from having a fair trial, and he has no experience 20 in trying a case. See Mot. 21 Generally, a person has no right to appointed counsel in civil actions. Storseth v. 22 Spellman, 654 F.2d 1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981). However, a court may appoint counsel under 23 “exceptional circumstances” for indigent civil litigants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). 24 Agyeman v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). When determining 25 whether “exceptional circumstances” exist, a court considers “the likelihood of success on the 26 merits as well as the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light of the 27 complexity of the legal issues involved.” Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983). 28 Neither of these considerations is dispositive; rather, they must be viewed together. Wilborn v. 1 Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Here, Plaintiff presents no evidence that the circumstances are “exceptional” within the 3 meaning described above. Plaintiff is a college graduate with several teaching credentials. See 4 Second Am. Compl. (“SAC”), Dkt. No. 52 at 6-7. He has demonstrated he is capable of 5 understanding and following court rules and prior orders of this Court by timely filing and 6 amending his pleadings, attempting to meet and confer with opposing counsel as required by the 7 local rules, moving to amend his pleading, and filing case management conference statements. 8 The SAC, which asserts claims against Defendant for discrimination and retaliation in violation of 9 the Americans with Disabilities Act, does not appear to present unusually complex or novel legal 10 issues. At this juncture, it would be premature to evaluate the likelihood of Plaintiff’s success on 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 2 the merits of his claims. Accordingly, there is no legal basis to support the appointment of counsel 12 at this time, and the request is denied. As the case moves closer to trial, Plaintiff may renew his 13 request for the appointment of counsel. 14 The Court advises Plaintiff that there are additional resources available. First, Plaintiff 15 may wish to obtain a copy of the District Court’s Handbook for Litigants Without a Lawyer. It 16 provides instructions on how to proceed at every stage of your case, including discovery, motions, 17 and trial. The handbook is available at the Clerk’s Office and at: 18 http://cand.uscourts.gov/prosehandbook. Second, Plaintiff may wish to seek assistance from the 19 Legal Help Center. The Legal Help Center is a free service offered by the Justice & Diversity 20 Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco to provide information and limited-scope legal 21 assistance to pro se litigants in civil cases. Plaintiff may take advantage of the Legal Help Center 22 resources by calling 415-782-8982, or by signing up for an appointment on the15th Floor of the 23 Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California. More 24 information is available at: http://cand.uscourts.gov/helpcentersf. 25 26 27 28 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 5, 2017 ______________________________________ MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge 2

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?