Smith v. Phillips et al

Filing 6


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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 6 7 8 ROBERT H. SMITH, Plaintiff, 9 11 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION FOR COURTAPPOINTED COUNSEL v. 10 Case No. C17-1457-TSZ-MAT RYAN W. PHILLIPS, et al., Defendants. 12 13 14 This is a civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter comes before the 15 Court at the present time on plaintiff’s application for court-appointed counsel. The Court, having 16 reviewed plaintiff’s application, and the balance of the record, hereby finds and ORDERS as 17 follows: 18 (1) Plaintiff’s application for court-appointed counsel (Dkt. 1-2) is DENIED. There is 19 no right to have counsel appointed in cases brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Although the Court, 20 under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), can request counsel to represent a party proceeding in forma 21 pauperis, the Court may do so only in exceptional circumstances. Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 22 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1236 (9th Cir. 1984); Aldabe 23 v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089 (9th Cir. 1980). A finding of exceptional circumstances requires an ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION FOR COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL - 1 1 evaluation of both the likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate 2 his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331. 3 While the Court has determined that plaintiff’s complaint is deficient and must therefore 4 be amended if he wishes to proceed with this action, plaintiff gives no indication that he lacks the 5 ability to articulate his claims pro se. As for plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits of his 6 claims, the record is not yet sufficiently developed for this Court to make such a determination. 7 Based on the information available to the Court at this time, this Court must conclude that plaintiff 8 has not demonstrated that his case involves exceptional circumstances which warrant the 9 appointment of counsel. 10 (2) 11 Thomas S. Zilly. 12 13 14 15 The Clerk is directed to send copies of this Order to plaintiff and to the Honorable DATED this 6th day of October, 2017. A Mary Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION FOR COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL - 2

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