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Pascual v. Astrue

February 6, 2009

CORAZON S. PASCUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Saundra Brown Armstrong United States District Judge

ORDER

[Docket No. 40]

REQUEST BEFORE THE COURT

Before the Court is plaintiff Corazon S. Pascual's Fourth Motion to Appoint Counsel (the "Fourth Motion") [Docket No. 40]. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES the Motion without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On June 11, 2008, plaintiff filed a form Employment Discrimination Complaint and 85 pages of exhibits alleging discrimination and possibly a hostile work environment based on her national origin, under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and her age, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. See Docket No. 1. Plaintiff alleges this conduct culminated in the termination of her employment from the Social Security Administration. See id.

The same day she filed her Complaint, she filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis [Docket No. 2] and a letter dated June 18, 2008 requesting an inter-district transfer from Oakland to San Francisco [Docket No. 4]. On July 1, 2008, the Court granted her application but denied her intra-district transfer request without prejudice. See Docket No. 5.

On July 10, 2008, plaintiff filed her initial Motion to Appoint Counsel (the "First Motion") requesting a Court-appointed attorney. See Docket No. 8. The First Motion was not verified and had no declaration. See id. On July 16, 2008, the Court denied this motion without prejudice, under Bradshaw v. Zoological Society of San Diego, 662 F.2d 1301 (9th Cir. 1981) and the guidelines used by the Federal Pro Bono Project of the Northern District of California. Docket No. 9 at 1:11-12 (the "Order"). In denying the Motion, the Court held:

Plaintiff needs to make a reasonable effort to meet with multiple attorneys, and provide a declaration compliant with 28 U.S.C. § 1746, documenting her efforts to retain them and why they refused to take her case . . . . She also needs to . . . document her contacts with a California State Bar-approved lawyer referral service.

Until she complies with all these requirements, the Court may not consider her request for an appointment of counsel . . . .

Order at 2:27-3:5.

On August 4, 2008, plaintiff filed a Second Motion to Appoint Counsel (the "Second Motion") [Docket No. 14], which was not verified and had no declaration. See Second Mot. In the Second Motion, plaintiff indicates she had contacted at least nine attorneys, six of whom required retainers, and three of whom were too busy to take her matter. Second Mot. at 1 para. 1, Exs. "1"-"2," & "4"-"10." She further indicates she contacted the Lawyer Referral and Information Service of the Bar Association of San Francisco (the "BASF LRIS"), which in turn contacted one or more employment law attorneys, none of whom would agree to meet with plaintiff for a consultation.

Second Mot. Ex. "3." Lastly, plaintiff provided over three pages of argument as to why she believes her claims have sufficient merit to qualify for appointed counsel under Bradshaw. Id. at 1-5.

On August 11, 2008, the Court denied this motion without prejudice, under Bradshaw and the Federal Pro Bono Project guidelines, because again plaintiff failed to provide a declaration or verified pleading. See Docket No. 15 at 2. The Court noted, however, had plaintiff done either, she would have at least met all the Bradshaw factors and Project guidelines, except for a demonstration of the merits ...


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