Pinola v. California Correctional Health Care Services et al

Filing 20

ORDER by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong DENYING 17 MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/31/2014)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 RATAJA PINOLA, Case No. 13-cv-05871-SBA (PR) Plaintiff, 8 v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 CALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES, et al., Defendants. 12 13 Plaintiff has filed a motion for appointment of counsel in this prisoner civil rights action 14 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. There is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case unless an 15 indigent litigant may lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. See Lassiter v. Dep’t of 16 Soc. Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981). The court may seek counsel to represent an indigent litigant 17 under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 only in “exceptional circumstances,” the determination of which requires 18 an evaluation of both (1) the likelihood of success on the merits, and (2) the ability of the plaintiff 19 to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See id. at 20 1525; Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 21 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Both of these factors must be viewed together before reaching a 22 decision on a request for counsel under section 1915. See id. 23 The Court is unable to assess at this time whether exceptional circumstances exist which 24 would warrant seeking volunteer counsel to accept a pro bono appointment. The proceedings are 25 at an early stage and it is premature for the Court to determine Plaintiff’s likelihood of success on 26 the merits. Moreover, Plaintiff has been able to articulate his claims adequately pro se in light of 27 the complexity of the issues involved. See Agyeman v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 28 (9th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, the request for appointment of counsel is DENIED without 1 prejudice.1 2 This Order terminates Docket no. 17. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. 4 Dated: 7/31/2014 ______________________________________ SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG United States District Judge 5 6 7 P:\PRO-SE\SBA\CR.13\Pinola5871.ATTYdeny.docx 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court may of course consider appointing of counsel later in the proceedings; that is, after Defendants have filed their dispositive motion. At that time, the Court will be in a better position to consider the procedural and substantive matters at issue. Plaintiff may therefore file a renewed motion for the appointment of counsel after Defendants’ dispositive motion has been filed. 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?