Foulks v. Colvin

Filing 10

ORDER denying 4 Motion to Appoint Counsel by Judge J Richard Creatura. (Copy mailed to plaintiff.)(SH)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON 8 9 10 MANDY RAE FOULKS, 11 12 Plaintiff, v. 14 CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, 15 CASE NO. 2:16-cv-01405 JLR JRC ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL Defendant. 13 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 4(a)(4), and as authorized by Mathews, Secretary of H.E.W. v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 271-72 (1976). Pro se plaintiff, MANDY RAE FOULKS, proceeding in forma pauperis (“IFP”), moves for court appointed counsel to assist with her claim (see Dkt. 4). For the reasons discussed herein, the Court DENIES plaintiff’s motion without prejudice. There is no right to counsel in civil cases, and district courts may appoint counsel for litigants proceeding IFP only under “exceptional circumstances.” Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 24 ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL - 1 1 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991) (citation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). As indicated by the 2 Ninth Circuit: 3 4 5 A finding of exceptional circumstances requires an evaluation of both ‘likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of a plaintiff to articulate h[er] claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.’ Neither of these issues is dispositive and both must be viewed together before reaching a decision. 6 Terrell, 935 F.2d at 1017 (citations omitted). 7 At this time, plaintiff has not shown exceptional circumstances that justify appointment 8 of counsel. Plaintiff’s claims arise out of the Social Security Administration’s denial of 9 disability benefits to plaintiff (see Dkt. 3). Plaintiff indicates in her motion that she has 10 contacted a group of disability attorneys and was told that they could not take the case until it 11 was filed with the Court (see Dkt. 4, p. 2). As attorneys in this district routinely take social 12 security disability appeals on a contingency basis, it is unclear the basis for this indication from 13 plaintiff’s motion. In addition, plaintiff’s case now has been filed with the Court, removing the 14 stated reason for plaintiff’s delay in being able to procure an attorney. 15 Plaintiff contends the Commissioner erred in denying her benefits, but without viewing 16 the record, the Court cannot say whether there is any likelihood of success on the merits. In 17 addition, without an opening brief, the Court at this juncture is not able to determine plaintiff’s 18 ability to articulate her claims. The Court concludes that at this time plaintiff has failed to 19 demonstrate exceptional circumstances justifying appointment of counsel. See Terrell, supra, 20 935 F.2d at 1017. 21 Accordingly, the Court DENIES plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel (Dkt. 4) 22 without prejudice. 23 24 ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL - 2 1 The Court also directs plaintiff to the Court’s website, which includes information for pro 2 se litigants, such as the Pro Se Guide to Filing Your Lawsuit in Federal Court, which includes 3 resources for potentially finding legal advice: (last visited 4 October 24, 2016). See also “Where Can You Get Legal Advice?” located at Pro Se Guide, p. 38, 5 6 .pdf (last visited October 24, 2016). 7 The Clerk shall provide a copy of this order to plaintiff. 8 For the reasons stated, the Court hereby DENIES plaintiff’s motion for appointment of 9 counsel (Dkt. 4) without prejudice. 10 Dated this 25th day of October, 2016. A 11 12 J. Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL - 3

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?