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Slocum v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 3, 2018

JEFFERY D. SLOCUM, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, SR. et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.W. HOFFMAN, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is pro se incarcerated Plaintiff Jeffery D. Slocum's motion for an order to correct (ECF No. 29), filed on December 18, 2017. Defendants filed a response (ECF No. 33) on January 2, 2018. Plaintiff did not file a reply.

         Also before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to produce names of defendants (ECF No. 30), filed on December 27, 2017. Defendants filed a response (ECF No. 34) on January 9, 2018. Plaintiff did not file a reply.

         Also before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (ECF No. 31), filed on December 29, 2017. No. response has been filed.

         Also before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to amend complaint (ECF No. 42), filed on March 8, 2018. Defendants filed a response (ECF No. 44) on March 16, 2018, and Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 46) on March 22, 2018.

         I. Motion to Correct

         Plaintiff moves the Court to “correct its false information on Defendant R. Thompson.” Plaintiff alleges that counsel for Defendants has falsely claimed that Mr. Thompson is no longer employed by the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”), and asks that the Court order Defendants' counsel to submit the “true identity and facts of employment of Defendant C/O R. Thompson.”

         Counsel for Defendants acknowledges that, when he first spoke with Plaintiff about Defendant Thompson, he believed that Mr. Thompson was no longer employed by NDOC, but argues that, upon Plaintiff's suggestion to the contrary, counsel made further inquiries with NDOC and identified an employee named Ronnie Thompson, and provided his address to the Court under seal for service. Defendants argue that Plaintiff personally served Ronnie Thompson on December 12, 2017, and Mr. Thompson is now being represented by the Office of the Attorney General. The Court has issued a sealed summons as to Mr. Thompson (ECF No. 27). Given Defendants representations, and the executed summons, it appears that any inaccuracy regarding Mr. Thompson has been addressed, and there is no correction to be made. The Court will therefore deny this motion.

         II. Motion to Produce Names of Defendants

         Plaintiff moved on December 18, 2017 for the Court to order Defendants to produce the contact information for the Defendants named in Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff brings this motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i), which governs the duties of parties to make initial disclosures of each individual likely to have discoverable information. However, as made clear in Rule 26(a)(1)(A) and 26(a)(1)(B), actions brought without an attorney by an incarcerated person are not subject to the initial disclosure argument. Plaintiff's request must therefore be brought during the discovery period via a discovery request. At the time of this motion, the Court had not yet entered a scheduling order, so the motion is premature. The Court will therefore deny this motion.

         III. Motion for Appointment of Counsel

         Plaintiff also moves for appointment of counsel for this case. However, civil litigants do 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. For example, courts have discretion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), to “request” that an attorney represent indigent civil litigants upon a showing of “exceptional circumstances.” Ageyman v. Corrections Corp. of America, 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). The circumstances in which a court will make such a request, however, are exceedingly rare and require a finding of extraordinary circumstances. United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 799-800 (9th Cir. 1986). The difficulties inherent in proceeding pro se do not qualify as exceptional circumstances. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-1336 (9th Cir. 1990).

         To determine whether the “exceptional circumstances” necessary for appointment of counsel are present, courts evaluate (1) the likelihood of plaintiff's success on the merits and (2) the plaintiff's ability to articulate his claim pro se “in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.” Agyeman, 390 F.3d at 1103 (quoting Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986)). Neither of these factors is dispositive and both must be viewed together. Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331.

         Here, Plaintiff argues that he is unable retain counsel despite diligent attempts to do so. Plaintiff also argues that because he is incarcerated, he is at a disadvantage because he is not able to review his own medical records, or review electronic or digital media, which he argues will be very important to this case. Plaintiff also argues that since he is not a legal expert, he would benefit from appointment of counsel. However, as noted above, the inherent difficulty of proceeding pro se do not by themselves constitute exceptional circumstances. Plaintiff has not articulated any reason ...


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