Hoskins v. Fox et al

Filing 14

ORDER DENYING 13 MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. (ig, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/29/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ANTHONY R. HOSKINS, Case No. 16-cv-05656-DMR (PR) Plaintiff, 8 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL v. 9 10 J. FOX, et al., Defendants. 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. Dkt. 13 13. Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction, and this matter has been assigned to 14 the undersigned Magistrate Judge. Dkt. 3. 15 There is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case unless an indigent litigant may 16 lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. See Lassiter v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 17 25 (1981); Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997) (no constitutional right to 18 counsel in § 1983 action), withdrawn in part on other grounds on reh’g en banc, 154 F.3d 952 19 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc). The court may ask counsel to represent an indigent litigant under 28 20 U.S.C. § 1915 only in “exceptional circumstances,” the determination of which requires an 21 evaluation of both (1) the likelihood of success on the merits, and (2) the ability of the plaintiff to 22 articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See id. at 1525; 23 Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 24 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Both of these factors must be viewed together before reaching a decision on 25 a request for counsel under section 1915. See id. 26 The court is unable to assess at this time whether exceptional circumstances exist which 27 would warrant seeking volunteer counsel to accept a pro bono appointment. The proceedings are 28 at an early stage and it is premature for the court to determine Plaintiff’s likelihood of success on 1 the merits. Moreover, Plaintiff has been able to articulate his claims adequately pro se in light of 2 the complexity of the issues involved. See Agyeman v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 3 (9th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, the request for appointment of counsel is DENIED without 4 prejudice. This does not mean, however, that the court will not consider appointment of counsel at 5 a later juncture in the proceedings; that is, after Defendants have filed their dispositive motion 6 such that the court will be in a better position to consider the procedural and substantive matters at 7 issue. Therefore, Plaintiff may file a renewed motion for the appointment of counsel after 8 Defendants’ dispositive motion has been filed. If the court decides that appointment of counsel is 9 warranted at that time, it will seek volunteer counsel to agree to represent Plaintiff pro bono. This Order terminates Docket No. 13. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 13 14 Dated: August 29, 2017 ______________________________________ DONNA M. RYU United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 ANTHONY R. HOSKINS, Case No. 4:16-cv-05656-DMR Plaintiff, 5 v. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 6 7 J. FOX, et al., Defendants. 8 9 10 I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 That on August 29, 2017, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 16 17 18 19 Anthony R. Hoskins ID: K95296 P.O. Box 1050 Soledad, CA 93960-1050 Dated: August 29, 2017 20 21 22 Susan Y. Soong Clerk, United States District Court 23 24 25 26 By:________________________ Ivy Lerma Garcia, Deputy Clerk to the Honorable DONNA M. RYU 27 28 3

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