Curry v. Vancouver Housing Authority et al

Filing 10

ORDER denying 8 Motion to Appoint Counsel; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 1/4/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)

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1 HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 KENNETH TAYLOR CURRY, CASE NO. C16-5784-RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL v. 11 12 13 VANCOUVER HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants. 14 THIS MATTER is before the court on Plaintiff Curry’s Motion for Court Appointed 15 Counsel [Dkt. # 8]. Curry was granted in forma pauperis status, on his second attempt. His claim 16 difficult-to-understand claim relates the Vancouver Housing authority’s denial of a “housing 17 voucher” to which Curry apparently claims he was entitled. 18 An indigent plaintiff in a civil case has no constitutional right to counsel unless he may 19 lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. See Lassiter v. Dept. of Social Servs., 452 U.S. 20 18, 25 (1981). However, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), the Court has discretion to appoint 21 counsel for litigants who are proceeding in forma pauperis. United States v. $292,888.04 in U.S. 22 Currency, 54 F.3d 564, 569 (9th Cir. 1995). The Court will appoint counsel only under 23 “exceptional circumstances.” Id.; Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). 24 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL - 1 1 “A finding of exceptional circumstances requires an evaluation of both the likelihood of success 2 on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the 3 complexity of the legal issues involved.” Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331 (internal quotations 4 omitted). These factors must be viewed together before reaching a decision on whether to 5 appoint counsel under § 1915(e)(1). Id. 6 It is clear that Curry faces a challenge in articulating his claim. Through two complaints 7 and the pending motion, it remains far from clear what he claims he was entitled to or why the 8 denial was a violation of his civil rights. But it is also far from clear that the claim has any merit, 9 or that he has any likelihood of success on it. There is nothing in the record indicating that this is 10 an “exceptional case” warranting the appointment of an attorney at public expense. The motion 11 for appointment of counsel is DENIED. 12 IT IS SO ORDERED. 13 Dated this 4th day of January, 2017. 15 A 16 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 14 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL - 2

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