United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL
L. ROBART United States District Judge.
the court is Plaintiff Daryl Manson's motion to appoint
counsel. (Mot. (Dkt. # 9).) Mr. Manson is proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”).
(See Compl. (Dkt. # 4); IFP Order (Dkt. # 3).)
Defendants State of Washington Health Care Authority
(“the HCA”) and Northwest Hospital
“Defendants”) oppose Mr. Manson's motion. (NW
Resp. (Dkt. # 12); HCA Resp. (Dkt. # 13).) The court has
considered Mr. Manson's motion, the parties'
submissions in support of and opposition to the motion, the
relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law.
Being fully advised,  the court DENIES Mr. Manson's motion
for the reasons set forth below.
BACKGROUND & ANALYSIS
Manson filed this suit on February 9, 2017. (See IFP
Mot. (Dkt. # 1).) Although Mr. Manson's complaint is
difficult to follow, it appears that he alleges that the HCA
violated his privacy by disclosing his personal health
information (Compl. at 4-9) and that Northwest committed
medical malpractice during Mr. Manson's treatment there
in January 2016 (id. at 10-15).
March 7, 2017, Mr. Manson filed a document entitled
“Plaintiff's Evidentiary Exhibits.”
(See Mot. at 1.) In that document, Mr. Manson states
that he “in reality would like court[-]appointed
counsel.” (Id. at 6.) The court construed Mr.
Manson's filing as a motion to appoint counsel. See
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696,
699 (9th Cir. 1990) (stating that courts must liberally
construe pro se filings).
district court has “discretion to designate counsel to
represent an indigent civil litigant.” Wilborn v.
Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (“The court may
request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford
counsel.”). The court may only do so, however, in
“exceptional circumstances.” Wilborn,
789 F.2d at 1331; see also Agyeman v. Corr. Corp. of
Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). The court may
find exceptional circumstances after evaluating “the
likelihood of success on the merits” and “the
ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro
se in light of the complexity of the legal issues
involved.” Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331. The
court must analyze both of these factors together before
deciding whether to appoint counsel under Section 1915(e)(1).
See Id . The plaintiff seeking counsel bears the
burden of demonstrating exceptional
circumstances. Brogdon v. City of Phoenix Police
Dep't, No. CV-11-01389-PHX-RCB(MEA), 2013 WL
3155116, at *1 (D. Ariz. June 19, 2013).
Manson makes no argument as to the likelihood of success on
the merits of his claims (see generally Mot.),
whereas Defendants argue that Mr. Manson's complaint
suffers from jurisdictional defects and fails to state a
claim (see NW Resp. at 2; HCA Resp. at 2). The court
therefore cannot conclude that Mr. Manson is likely to
succeed on the merits. Second, any difficulty Mr. Manson will
experience in attempting to litigate his case does not stem
“from the complexity of the issues involved.”
Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331. Indeed, the privacy
violations and medical malpractice claims that Mr. Manson
appears to allege are not especially complex. (See
Compl. at 4-15; Mot. at 6-7 (stating only that “the
intricacies are far to[o] chilling and strange”).) That
Mr. Manson might find “it difficult to articulate his
claims pro se” is insufficient to demonstrate
that his case involves complex legal issues.
Wilborn, 789 F.2d at 1331. Accordingly, Mr. Manson
fails to meet his burden of establishing exceptional
circumstances that warrant the appointment of counsel.
See Brogdon, 2013 WL 3155116, at *1.
foregoing reasons, the court DENIES Mr. Manson's motion
to appoint counsel (Dkt. # 9). The court directs Mr. Manson
to the Western District of Washington's website, which
provides materials to assist pro se litigants.
See Representing Yourself (“Pro Se”), W.
Dist. of Wash., http://www.wawd.uscourts.gov/
representing-yourself-pro-se; E-Pro Se, W. Dist. of
 No party requested oral argument, and
the court determines that oral argument would not be helpful
to its disposition of the motion. See Local Rules
W.D. Wash. LCR 7(b)(4).
 Defendants have each filed a motion to
dismiss (HCA MTD (Dkt. # 8); N.W. MTD (Dkt. # 11)), but
district courts may not dismiss a pro se
plaintiff's complaint prior to ruling on his motion for
appointment of counsel, see Johnson v. U.S. ...