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Johnson v. Santa Clara County

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

October 2, 2014

NANCY JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; GRANTING LEAVE FOR PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT [Re: ECF 59]

BETH LABSON FREEMAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiff's third Motion to Appoint Counsel. This Court has previously twice denied Plaintiff's request to appoint civil counsel in the above-captioned action, informing Plaintiff that there is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case, see, e.g., Lassiter v. Dep't of Social Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981), and that there are no "exceptional circumstances" present in this case that would cause the District Court to ask counsel to represent Plaintiff in this matter. Cf. Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991).[1] The Court construes Plaintiff's instant Motion as a Motion for Leave to file a Motion for Reconsideration of its prior Order denying Plaintiff the appointment of counsel, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-9.

A party may not "repeat any oral or written argument made by the applying party in support of or in opposition to" to the Order the party requests the Court reconsider. See Civil L.R. 7-9(c). Plaintiff has twice been referred to FLASH, the Federal Legal Assistance Self-Help Center. Plaintiff has repeatedly represented to the Court that FLASH has refused her assistance. See ECF 58 at 1 ("Flash refuse[d] assistance. I phone[d] again the Flash Legal service 8-25-14 for assistance with tort form [and was] again denied.")

With this Motion, Plaintiff attaches a letter from the Director of FLASH, dated September 15, 2014, which states:

I just reviewed the docket of your case, and the letter you sent to the Court, filed on Sept. 2, 2014. In your letter to the Court, you state that FLASH refused to help you with filing an administrative claim with Santa Clara County.
You and I know that is not a true statement. The truth is that on the day you phoned FLASH for assistance, I located the Santa Clara County administrative complaint form and mailed it to you that day.
For misleading the Court, FLASH will no longer provide service to you.

ECF 59-1 at 1.

The Court appreciates Plaintiff including this information with her Motion, but this statement from the Director of FLASH gives the Court pause. The Court reminds Plaintiff of her duty of good faith before the Court, which requires that Plaintiff have good reason to believe that everything written in a signed document presented to the Court is truthful.

The Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Motion for Reconsideration, and thus DENIES Plaintiff's third Motion to Appoint Counsel. Plaintiff is instructed not to file another Motion requesting counsel in this case. If Plaintiff does so, the Court will consider appropriate sanctions.

On August 20, 2014, the Court granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the above-captioned case, and provided Plaintiff 28 days in which to file an amended Complaint. See ECF 57 at 6. Plaintiff has not done so - instead she has filed a "Response" to the dismissal notice, which repeated her request for the Court to appoint her an attorney, and repeated that she is "entitled to relief, " but did not include an amended Complaint. Because Plaintiff filed this document with the Court within the 28 days she was given, the Court will permit the Plaintiff one more opportunity to file an amended Complaint with the Court. Plaintiff has been informed, in the Court's Dismissal Order, of the deficiencies in her Complaint - notably that she has not pled compliance with California's Government Claims Act, Cal. Gov't Code ยง 815. See Dismissal Order, ECF 57 at 5.

The Court HEREBY ORDERS Plaintiff to file with the Court an amended Complaint, which states (1) the causes of action she believes Defendant committed, or the laws she believes Defendant violated; (2) the facts that give rise to these beliefs; and (3) her prayer for relief, which includes the amount of damages she requests. Plaintiff must include facts that show she has complied with Section 815 of the California Government Code, as instructed in the Court's Dismissal Order. Plaintiff is referred to this district's website for pro se litigants, http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/proselitigants, which can provide Plaintiff assistance and resources to represent herself in this matter. Plaintiff is further encouraged to seek outside, private counsel if she wishes to have the assistance of an attorney.

The Court therefore DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel, and ORDERS Plaintiff to file with the Court an amended Complaint no later than Friday, October 24, 2014. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended Complaint, this action will be dismissed.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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