United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK TO IDENTIFY PRO BONO COUNSEL
AND LCR 39.1 NEUTRAL FOR EARLY ADR PROCEEDINGS.
P. DONOHUE Chief United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon defendant Michael
Wilson's February 3, 2017 letter, Dkt. 131, which the
Honorable Thomas S. Zilly construed as a motion for
appointment of counsel and referred to the undersigned on
February 10, 2017. Dkt. 132. Having reviewed the parties'
pleadings, the “Plan of the U.S. District Court for the
W.D. of Washington for the Representation of Pro Se Litigants
in Civil Rights Actions” (the “Pro Bono
Plan”), and the balance of the record, the Court ORDERS
that defendant Michael Wilson's motion for appointment of
counsel, Dkt. 131, is GRANTED IN PART for the limited purpose
of conducting an early alternative dispute resolution
(“ADR”) procedure pursuant to LCR 39.1.
the decision to appoint pro bono counsel rests within
“the sound discretion of the trial court and is granted
only in exceptional circumstances.” Agyeman v.
Corrections Corp. of America, 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th
Cir. 2004). A finding of exceptional circumstances requires
an evaluation of both the likelihood of success on the merits
and the ability of the party to articulate his or her claims
pro se in light of the complexity of the legal
issues involved. Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d
1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). These factors must be viewed
together before reaching a decision on a request for counsel.
Id. At this early stage of litigation, defendant has
failed to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances warrant
the appointment of counsel for the duration of the case.
However, the Court also finds that the unique circumstances
of this case indicate that the interests of justice will best
be served if counsel from the Western District Pro Bono Panel
is appointed to represent defendant for the limited purpose
of conducting an early ADR procedure pursuant to LCR 39.1.
making this finding, the undersigned has considered the
nature and complexity of plaintiffs factual and legal claims
against defendant. The undersigned finds that the plaintiff,
defendant, and the Court will all benefit from appointed
counsel's assistance in improving communication between
the parties, limiting, narrowing or simplifying the issues in
dispute, and potentially achieving settlement of some or all
issues between the parties through an early ADR procedure.
the parties are directed to read and comply with the
deadlines and procedures outlined in § 3(g)-(i) of the
Pro Bono Plan. Specifically, following entry of the Order
of Appointment, the Clerk shall send the appointed attorney a
Notice of Appointment and Interim Notice of Appearance, which
shall include a statement that plaintiffs counsel must only
communicate with the appointed attorney, and not with
defendant Wilson, in accordance with Rules 4.2(b) and 4.3(b)
of the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct. See
Pro Bono Plan § 3(g). The Clerk's Notice of
Appointment and Interim Notice of Appearance also suspends
the provisions of LCR 16(a) and (d) requiring a scheduling
conference, joint status report, and scheduling order, until
completion of the ADR proceedings. See Pro Bono Plan
as practical following appointment, pro bono counsel is
directed to confer with the defendant regarding the ADR
procedures available under LCR 39.1(a)(3). Pro bono counsel
shall then meet and confer with opposing counsel to develop a
plan for an early ADR procedure, and shall attempt to reach
agreement on the factors listed in § 3(i)(iv)(A)-(E).
The parties are advised that they are required to submit a
Joint Pro Bono ADR Status Report addressing these factors not
later than twenty (20) days following the Clerk's Notice
of Appointment and Interim Notice of Appearance. See
Pro Bono Plan to § 3(i)(v).
otherwise ordered, the early ADR procedure shall be completed
not later than seventy-five (75) days following the
Clerk's Notice of Appointment and Interim Notice of
Appearance. See Pro Bono Plan § 3(i)(vii). Upon
completion of the ADR procedure, appointed counsel shall
submit a report to the Court and opposing counsel stating (1)
when the ADR procedure occurred, and (2) whether the case
settled as to some or all issues. Following submission of this
report, appointed counsel's limited representation shall
be deemed complete, and counsel may submit a proposed order
terminating the limited representation. At that time,
appointed counsel may move for an award of attorney's
fees under any applicable authority, although the Court is
unable to assure counsel of compensation.
defendant Wilson's motion, Dkt. 131, is GRANTED IN PART.
The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to identify counsel from
the Pro Bono Panel to represent defendant for the limited
purpose of conducting an early ADR procedure pursuant to LCR
39.1. Upon notification from the Clerk, the undersigned shall
appoint the selected attorney to represent defendant Wilson
in early ADR proceedings in this case. Finally, the Clerk is
directed to send a copy of this Order to Judge Zilly, and a
copy of this Order and § 3(g)-(i) of the Pro Bono Plan
to defendant Wilson and counsel for plaintiff.
 The Pro Bono Plan was most recently
amended effective August 1, 2010, and is available on the
Court's website via links to “Attorneys” and
“Pro Bono Panel”
 If the ADR procedure was a mediation,
however, the mediator's report required by LCR 39.1(c)(6)
will serve in lieu of ...