UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
June 19, 2008
MARK SCOTT PLAINTIFF,
THE VESSEL ORION DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
On or about June 6, 2008 Plaintiff commenced this in rem action alleging that the vessel Orion failed to compensate him for services rendered. Plaintiff also moves for leave of court to proceed in forma pauperis and for appointment of counsel.
The Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Plaintiff declares that he is not currently employed, has no significant assets, and receives monthly disability payments. Accordingly, Plaintiff is an individual entitled to prosecute this action without the prepayment of fees. See 28 U.S.C. §1915.
The Motion for Appointment of Counsel
Plaintiff requests the appointment of counsel to assist him in prosecuting this civil action. The Constitution provides no right to appointment of counsel in a civil case unless an indigent litigant may lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. Lassiter v. Dept. of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), however, district courts are granted discretion to appoint counsel for indigent persons under "exceptional circumstances." Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991). "A finding of exceptional circumstances requires an evaluation of both the 'likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate [her] 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.'" Id. (quoting Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986)).
Here, it appears that plaintiff has a sufficient grasp of his case, the legal issues involved, and is able to adequately articulate the basis of his complaint. Under these circumstances, the Court denies plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel because it is not warranted by the interests of justice. LaMere v. Risley, 827 F.2d 622, 626 (9th Cir. 1987).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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