UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
June 14, 2011
WENDELL WALTER JOHNSON,
DR. ZEPP, ET AL.,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (ECF No. 20)
On June 2, 2011, Plaintiff Wendell W. Johnson ("Plaintiff") filed a Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF No. 20).
Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action. Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997). The Court cannot require an attorney to represent Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 1816 (1989). In certain exceptional circumstances the Court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 1525. However, without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the Court will seek volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases. In determining whether "exceptional circumstances exist, the district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success of the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved." Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
In the present case, the Court does not find the required exceptional circumstances. Even if it is assumed that Plaintiff is not well-versed in the law and that he has made serious allegations which, if proved, would entitle him to relief, his case is not exceptional. This Court is faced with similar cases almost daily. Further, at this early stage in the proceedings, the Court cannot make a determination that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits, and based on a review of the record in this case, the Court does not find that Plaintiff cannot adequately articulate his claims. Id.
Plaintiff asks for counsel because he contends that this is a complex action that will require a private investigator and at least twenty expert witnesses in different medical fields. However, this case is still awaiting screening by the Court and until such screening occurs, no further action is required by Plaintiff. Plaintiff will not be required to locate and retain experts until if and after discovery commences. If this case should proceed to discovery, Plaintiff may refile this motion and the Court will evaluate whether, at that time, the appointment of counsel is appropriate.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion for the appointment of counsel is HEREBY DENIED, without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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