Baker v. Avenue 5 Residential et al

Filing 13

ORDER denying Plaintiff's 9 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour. (KRA)

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 JUSTIN BAKER, 10 CASE NO. C24-0300-JCC Plaintiff, 11 ORDER v. 12 AVENUE5 RESIDENTAL, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel (Dkt. No. 9.) 15 16 Having duly considered the briefing and the relevant record, the Court hereby DENIES the 17 motion for the reasons described below. Plaintiff contends that he requires counsel to pursue housing discrimination claims. (See 18 19 generally Dkt. No. 9.) The appointment of counsel for a pro se litigant in a civil case “is a 20 privilege and not a right.” United States ex rel. Gardner v. Madden, 352 F.2d 792, 793 (9th Cir. 21 1965). While a court may do so for indigent civil litigants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), 1 22 this is limited to “exceptional circumstances.” Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1236 (9th Cir. 23 24 25 26 1 28 U.S.C. § 1915 does not actually authorize the Court to force a lawyer to take a case. Nor does the Court have staff attorneys standing by to represent pro se litigants. Instead, the Court may only “request” that an attorney represent an indigent litigant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e); see also Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for S. Dist. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307 (1989) (holding that § 1915(e) authorizes “courts to ask but not compel lawyers to represent indigent litigants.”) ORDER C24-0300-JCC Page 1 1 1984). When determining whether such circumstances arise, the Court considers “the likelihood 2 of success on the merits and the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light of 3 the complexity of the legal issues involved.” Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th 4 Cir. 1986). 5 Plaintiff’s case history demonstrates an ability to sufficiently articulate his claims. See, 6 e.g., Baker v. Avenue5 Residential, Case No. C23-1207-RSL (W.D. Wash.); Baker v. Thrive 7 Communities, Case No. C22-872-LK (W.D. Wash). Moreover, Plaintiff’s instant claims appear 8 no more likely to succeed on the merits than his prior ones. (See generally Dkt. No. 7.) As such, 9 Plaintiff has not established exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of counsel. 10 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to appoint counsel (Dkt. No. 9) is DENIED. 11 12 DATED this 27th day of March 2024. A 13 14 15 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER C24-0300-JCC Page 2

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