Palmer-Carri v. State of California et al
ORDER Denying 4 Motion to Appoint Counsel Without Prejudice. Signed by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on 12/1/17. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(dlg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No.: 3:17-cv-02248-GPC-BGS
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF
COUNSEL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA; STATE
GOVT AGENCIES; POLICE OF SAN
DIEGO COUNTY; JERRY BROWN,
Governor; OFFICE OF ATTORNEY
[ECF No. 4]
On November 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action pro se against the State of
California and its agencies, the Police of San Diego County, Governor Jerry Brown, and
the Office of the Attorney General. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has paid the filing fee for this
action. (See id.) On November 15, Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of counsel in
light of her inability to afford retained consel. (ECF No. 4.)
Generally, a civil plaintiff has no right to appointed counsel. See Hernandez v.
Whiting, 881 F.2d 768, 770-71 (9th Cir. 1989). A district court, however, “may request
an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).
Under the law of this circuit, court appointment of counsel requires a finding of
“exceptional circumstances.” Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991). In
order to assess whether such circumstances exist, the Court must evaluate both a
petitioner’s (a) likelihood of success on the merits and (b) ability to articulate her claims
in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. Id. “Neither of these factors is
dispositive and both must be viewed together before reaching a decision.” Id. (quoting
Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986)). The Ninth Circuit has
determined that not every difficulty a pro se plaintiff encounters in prosecuting her case
is a complexity entitling her to counsel. Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331 (“If all that was
required to establish successfully the complexity of the relevant issues was a
demonstration of the need for [the] development of further facts, practically all cases
would involve complex legal issues. Thus, although Wilborn may have found it difficult
to articulate his claims pro se, he has neither demonstrated a likelihood of success on the
merits nor shown that the complexity of the issues involved was sufficient to require
designation of counsel.” )
Here, at this time, based on the Complaint, the Court cannot determine whether
Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of her claims. In addition, Plaintiff has not
made a showing of her inability to articulate the basis of her claims in light of the
complexities of the issues involved.
Under these circumstances, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s request for appointment
of counsel without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: December 1, 2017
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