Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gonzalez v. Fresno Sheriff'S Dept.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 13, 2017

MICHAEL HERNANDEZ GONZALEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
FRESNO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME (ECF NO. 31) ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (ECF NO. 32) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL (ECF NO. 33) SIXTY (60) DAY DEADLINE

          Barbara A. McAuliffe UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Michael Hernandez Gonzalez (“Plaintiff”) was a detainee at the time of the incident and is currently a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 4.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's third amended complaint against Defendants Sheriff Mims and Deputy Sheriffs JOHN and JANE DOES 1-10 for failing to protect Plaintiff in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, arising from Defendants' failure to investigate Plaintiff's subsequent placements in holding cells, after the initial beating on or about October 20, 2012, including upon his return from Atascadero. (ECF Nos. 21, 22.)

         On April 12, 2017, the Court issued an order finding service of the third amended complaint appropriate on Defendant Mims. The Court further ordered Plaintiff, within ninety (90) days from the date of the order, to provide written notice identifying the Doe Defendants with enough information to locate the defendants for service of process. (ECF No. 22.)

         On May 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting a 60-day continuance to obtain information as to the identity of the Doe Defendants. (ECF No. 25.) As Plaintiff did not include any reasons for his request and more than 60 days remained before the original deadline expired, the Court issued an order denying Plaintiff's motion. (ECF No. 26.)

         Currently before the Court are three motions: (1) Plaintiff's motion for extension of time in which to serve unknown defendants, (ECF No. 31); (2) Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel, (ECF No. 32); and (3) Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, (ECF No. 33). Although Defendant Mims has not had an opportunity to respond to Plaintiff's motions, the Court finds a response unnecessary. Local Rule 230(1).

         II. Motion for Extension of Time

         Plaintiff seeks an extension of time in which to identify and serve Doe Defendants in this action. Plaintiff states that he has been seeking identifying information for Defendants Deputy Sheriffs JOHN and JANE DOES 1-10 but has been unable to acquire the information by the July 14, 2017 deadline. Plaintiff attaches a second response to his request for information from the Custodian of Jail Records, which states that the Fresno County Sheriff's Department has no records subject to disclosure, due to concerns for officer safety, inmate safety, jail security, and law enforcement security procedures. (ECF No. 31.) Plaintiff has also attached to his motion to compel a third response from the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, dated June 27, 2017, again denying his request for information regarding Doe Defendants. (ECF No. 33, p. 5.)

         Plaintiff has not specified how much additional time is required. However, Plaintiff has demonstrated a good faith effort to obtain the identifying information needed for service of process, and therefore the Court finds good cause to grant Plaintiff an extension of time to identify Doe Defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4); 4(m). As discussed below, this extension will allow Plaintiff sufficient time to serve the appropriate discovery requests on Defendant Mims and receive responses. The Court further finds that Defendant Mims will not be prejudiced by the extension of time requested here.

         III. Motion to Appoint Counsel

         Plaintiff states that he lacks education and literacy, is not an experienced “jail-house lawyer, ” and he suffers from a mental disability. He further states that he lacks experience with the judicial system and has no access to the law library. Plaintiff attaches as exhibits letters received from various law offices declining to represent him in this matter. (ECF Nos. 32, 33.)

         Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action, Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), rev'd in part on other grounds, 154 F.3d 952, 954 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998), and the Court cannot require an attorney to represent plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). However, 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.

         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, a district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success on 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).

         The Court has considered Plaintiff's motion for the appointment of counsel, but 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 involving claims of failure to protect filed by prisoners proceeding pro se and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.