IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 24, 2012
RENALDO E. GIBSON, PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL MCDONALD, DEFENDANT.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 18, 2012, he requested that the court appoint counsel and sought leave of court to respond to defendant's answer. Dckt. No. 16.
District courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in section 1983 cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In exceptional circumstances, the court may request an attorney to voluntarily to represent such a plaintiff. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 1990). When determining whether "exceptional circumstances" exist, the court must consider the likelihood of success on the merits as well as the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009). Having considered those factors, the court finds there are no exceptional circumstances in this case. Additionally, neither the Local Rules of this court nor the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize the filing of a response to an answer. Plaintiff's request for leave of court to file such a response will therefore be denied.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's May 18, 2012 motion, Dckt. No. 16, is denied.
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