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Nunez v. Ramirez

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 3, 2010

EDUARDO NUNEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C/O F. RAMIREZ, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara L. Major United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL [Doc. No. 18]

On April 30, 2010, Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, moved this Court to appoint counsel. Doc. No. 18. In support of his motion, Plaintiff states that the "complex" issues involved in this case "will require significant research and investigation," he has "limited access to the law library and limited knowledge of the law," and "counsel would better enable [P]laintiff to present evidence and cross examine witnesses" at trial. Id. at 1. Plaintiff states that despite his "repeated efforts" to obtain a lawyer, he has been unable to do so and he therefore requests the appointment of counsel to assist him in prosecuting this civil action. Id. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

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. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981). However, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), courts are granted discretion to appoint counsel for indigent persons under "exceptional circumstances." Agyeman v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). A finding of exceptional circumstances demands at least "an evaluation of the likelihood of the plaintiff's success on the merits and an evaluation of the plaintiff's ability to articulate his claims 'in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.'" Id. (quoting Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986)).

Thus far, Plaintiff has drafted and submitted numerous pleadings and motions without the assistance of counsel. In addition to the instant motion, he has submitted a complaint (Doc. No. 1), a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2), and a response in opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss count 1 of the complaint (Doc. No. 9). Furthermore, via the U.S. Marshals, Plaintiff successfully effected service of the summons on his complaint. Doc. No. 3.

From the Court's review of these documents, it is clear that Plaintiff is able to articulate the claims of his case. Further, Plaintiff does not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits such that his case should be classified as an "exceptional circumstance." Agyeman, 390 F.3d at 1103; see also Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331. Plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel is therefore DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

HONORABLE WILLIAM Q. HAYES U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

20100503

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