Anderson v. Sokoloff et al

Filing 37

ORDER by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denying 28 Motion to Appoint Counsel. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/17/2016)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ERIC ZACHARY ANDERSON, Case No. 15-cv-01854-YGR (PR) Plaintiff, 8 v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL 9 10 M. SOKOLOFF, Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Plaintiff has filed a motion for appointment of counsel to represent him in this action. 13 There is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case unless an indigent litigant may 14 lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. See Lassiter v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 15 25 (1981); Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997) (no constitutional right to 16 counsel in § 1983 action), withdrawn in part on other grounds on reh’g en banc, 154 F.3d 952 17 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc). The court may ask counsel to represent an indigent litigant under 28 18 U.S.C. § 1915 only in “exceptional circumstances,” the determination of which requires an 19 evaluation of both (1) the likelihood of success on the merits, and (2) the ability of the plaintiff to 20 articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See id. at 1525; 21 Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 22 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Both of these factors must be viewed together before reaching a decision on 23 a request for counsel under § 1915. See id. 24 The Court is unable to assess at this time whether exceptional circumstances exist which 25 would warrant seeking volunteer counsel to accept a pro bono appointment. The proceedings are 26 at an early stage and it is premature for the Court to determine Plaintiff’s likelihood of success on 27 the merits. Moreover, Plaintiff has been able to articulate his claims adequately pro se in light of 28 the complexity of the issues involved. See Agyeman v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 1 (9th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, the request for appointment of counsel is DENIED without 2 prejudice. This does not mean, however, that the Court will not consider appointment of counsel 3 at a later juncture in the proceedings; that is, after Defendant has filed a dispositive motion such 4 that the Court will be in a better position to consider the procedural and substantive matters at 5 issue. Therefore, Plaintiff may file a renewed motion for the appointment of counsel after 6 Defendant’s dispositive motion has been filed. If the Court decides that appointment of counsel is 7 warranted at that time, it will seek volunteer counsel to agree to represent Plaintiff pro bono. 8 This Order terminates Docket No. 28. 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Dated: October 17, 2016 ______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS United States District Judge 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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