Wentz v. Berryhill

Filing 7

ORDER denying 4 Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by Judge David W. Christel. (Copy of Order mailed to Plaintiff.)(SH)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 8 9 10 APRIL MARIE WENTZ, 11 12 13 Plaintiff, CASE NO. 2:17-CV-01089-DWC ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL v. NANCY A BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 14 Defendant. 15 16 Plaintiff April Marie Wentz, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action 17 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Dkt. 1, 2, 3. Currently pending in this action is Plaintiff’s 18 Application for Court-Appointed Counsel. Dkt. 4. 19 In “exceptional circumstances,” a district court may appoint counsel for indigent civil 20 litigants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (formerly 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)). Terrell v. Brewer, 21 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Rand v. Roland, 113F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), 22 overruled on other grounds, 154 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 1998); see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). To decide 23 whether exceptional circumstances exist, the Court must evaluate both “the likelihood of success 24 on the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate [her] claims pro se in light of the ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL - 1 1 complexity of the legal issues involved.” Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 2 1986) (quoting Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983)). A plaintiff must plead 3 facts showing she has an insufficient grasp of her case or the legal issues involved and an 4 inadequate ability to articulate the factual basis of her claims. Agyeman v. Corrections Corp. of 5 America, 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). 6 Here, Plaintiff submitted an Application for Court-Appointed Counsel form indicating 7 she has contacted at least thirty attorneys regarding this case after her non-attorney representative 8 was released. Dkt. 4. Plaintiff states no attorneys want to take her case because of mistakes and 9 time-sensitive deadlines. Id. She provides no reasons explaining why she needs court-appointed 10 counsel. Id. The Court notes this case does not involve complex facts or law, and Plaintiff has 11 not shown an inability to articulate the factual basis of her claims in a fashion understandable to 12 the Court. See Dkt. 3. In fact, Plaintiff submitted a 48 page Complaint, which contains argument 13 regarding the alleged errors committed by the Social Security Administration and Plaintiff’s 14 medical records. See id. Plaintiff has also not shown she is likely to succeed on the merits of her 15 case. 16 As Plaintiff has not shown exceptional circumstances exist in this case, Plaintiff’s 17 Application for Court-Appointed Counsel is denied without prejudice. 18 Dated this 1st day of August, 2017. A 19 20 David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge 21 22 23 24 ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL - 2

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