United States District Court, D. Nevada
RICHARD W. PETERS, Plaintiff,
C/O RAYMOND, et al., Defendants.
ORDER RE: ECF NO. 76
WILLIAM G. COBB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of
Counsel (ECF No. 76). In his motion, Plaintiff states that he is
“. . . not at all trainded (sic) in the law and I know
very little about this civil litigation, and such matters,
therefore, Peters ask (sic) this court to view this with the
leniency afforded to pro se litigants.” (Id.
discussed in this court's prior orders denying
Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No.
47), a litigant in a civil rights action does not have a
Sixth Amendment right to appointed counsel. Storseth v.
Spellman, 654 F.2d 1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981). In very
limited circumstances, federal courts are empowered to
request an attorney to represent an indigent civil litigant.
The circumstances in which a court will grant such a request,
however, are exceedingly rare, and the court will grant the
request under only extraordinary circumstances. United
States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 799-800
(9th Cir. 1986); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d
1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986).
court also advised Plaintiff when it denied Plaintiff's
first motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No. 47), a
finding of such exceptional or extraordinary circumstances
requires that the court evaluate both the likelihood of
Plaintiff's success on the merits and the pro se
litigant's ability to articulate his claims in light of
the complexity of the legal issues involved. Neither factor
is controlling; both must be viewed together in making the
finding. Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th
Cir. 1991), citing Wilborn, supra, 789 F.2d at 1331.
Plaintiff's ability to satisfactorily articulate his
claims is demonstrated by extensive memoranda on the subject
of appointment of counsel and in many of his other lengthy
filings. (See, e.g., ECF Nos. 33, 34, 46,
53, 63, 68, 76.)
matter of a case's complexity, the Ninth Circuit in
Wilborn noted that:
If all that was required to establish successfully the
complexity of the relevant issues was a demonstration of the
need for development of further facts, practically all cases
would involve complex legal issues. Thus, although Wilborn
may have found it difficult to articulate his claims pro
se, he has neither demonstrated a likelihood of success
on the merits nor shown that the complexity of the issues
involved was sufficient to require designation of counsel.
Ninth Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court's
exercise of discretion in denying the request for appointment
of counsel because the Plaintiff failed to establish the case
was complex as to facts or law. 789 F.2d at 1331.
substantive claims involved in this action are not unduly
complex. Plaintiff's amended complaint was found to state
claims under the Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference
to his health and safety claims as against several
defendants. (ECF No. 12 at 8-9.)
with respect to the Terrell factors, Plaintiff has
failed to convince the court of the likelihood of success on
the merits of his claims.
court preliminarily advised Plaintiff in its order of
December 15, 2016 (ECF No. 37), while any pro se
inmate would likely benefit from services of counsel, that is
not the standard this court must employ in determining
whether counsel should be appointed. Wood v.
Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-1336 (9th Cir. 1990).
United States Supreme Court has generally stated that
although Congress provided relief for violation of one's
civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the right to access
to the courts is only a right to bring complaints to federal
court and not a right to discover such claims or to litigate
them effectively once filed with a court. Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 354-355 (1996).
court does not have the power “to make coercive
appointments of counsel." Mallard v. U.S. Dist.
Ct, 490 U.S. 296, 310 (1989). Thus, the Court can
appoint counsel only under exceptional circumstances.
Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009)
[cert den 130 S.Ct. 1282 (2010)]. Those exceptional
circumstances do not exist in this case.
exercise of the court's discretion, it
DENIES Plaintiffs motion (ECF No. 76).