United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL AND FOR
TONGAN INTERPRETER (ECF NO. 14) ORDER GRANTING SECOND MOTION
FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF
NO. 13) THIRTY (30) DAY DEADLINE
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Etuate Sekona (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
On September 9, 2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's
complaint and granted Plaintiff leave to file a first amended
complaint within thirty (30) days. (ECF No. 10.) On October
8, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff a thirty-day extension
of time to file his first amended complaint. (ECF No. 12.)
before the Court are Plaintiff's motion to appoint
counsel and a Tongan interpreter, (ECF No. 14), and
Plaintiff's motion for a second extension of time to file
his first amended complaint, (ECF No. 13). In both motions,
Plaintiff argues that he requires counsel, an interpreter,
and additional time because he received a TABE score of 2.3
in English, he has a limited knowledge of the English
language, and he is suffering from brain damage that causes
confusion and dizziness. (ECF Nos. 13, 14.) Plaintiff also
argues that counsel should be appointed due to the complexity
of the case, and because Plaintiff cannot write artfully to
the Court. (Id.)
is first informed that he 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.
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
Court has considered Plaintiff's request, 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 filed by prisoners with
limited literacy, limited knowledge of English, and facing
serious medical issues who are proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis almost daily. These prisoners also
must conduct legal research and prosecute claims without the
assistance of counsel.
at this 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.
Plaintiff's request for an interpreter, “the
expenditure of public funds [on behalf of an indigent
litigant] is proper only when authorized by Congress . . .
.” Tedder v. Odel, 890 F.2d 210, 211 (9th Cir.
1989) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The
in forma pauperis statute does not authorize the
expenditure of public funds for court-appointed interpreters.
28 U.S.C. § 1915; Loyola v. Potter, Case No. C
09-0575 PJH, 2009 WL 1033398, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 16, 2009)
(“The court is not authorized to appoint interpreters
for litigants in civil cases, and, moreover, has no funds to
pay for such a program.”). Further, Plaintiff has
failed to allege any facts demonstrating that he is entitled
to a court-appointed Tongan interpreter as an accommodation
pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Therefore,
the Court finds that Plaintiff has not established that this
Court has the authority to appoint a Tongan interpreter to
assist him with this litigation.
based on Plaintiff's allegations regarding his limited
English proficiency and his ongoing health issues the Court
finds good cause to grant a second thirty-day extension of
time for Plaintiff to file his first amended complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:
1. Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel and a Tongan
interpreter, (ECF No. 14), is DENIED, without prejudice;
2. Plaintiff's motion for extension of time to file a
first amended complaint, (ECF No. 13), is GRANTED;
3. The Clerk's Office shall send Plaintiff a complaint
4. Within thirty (30) days from the date of
service of this order, Plaintiff shall file an amended
complaint curing the deficiencies identified by the Court in
the September 9, 2019 screening order ...