United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
WANDA E. SMITH-JETER, Plaintiff,
ARTSPACE EVERETT LOFTS CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, Defendant.
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK TO IDENTIFY PRO BONO COUNSEL
AND LCR 39.1 NEUTRAL FOR EARLY ADR PROCEEDINGS
P. DONOHUE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court sua sponte following
an April 26, 2018 status conference with the parties in this
matter. Dkt. 23. During the status conference, both parties
expressed interest in participating in the Court's early
alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) procedure
pursuant to LCR 39.1, and plaintiff advised the Court that
she would like to be represented by pro bono counsel during
those proceedings. Having reviewed plaintiff's amended
complaint, defendant's answer, 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 GRANTS plaintiff's
request for appointment of counsel for the limited purpose of
(1) helping plaintiff file a second amended complaint that
clarifies her claims and names the correct parties; and (2)
conducting an early 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 plaintiff 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, plaintiff 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 the plaintiff during an early ADR
procedure pursuant to LCR 39.1.
making this finding, the undersigned has considered the
nature and complexity of plaintiff's factual and legal
claims. The undersigned finds that the pro se
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 via the filing of a second amended
complaint, and potentially achieving settlement of some or
all issues between the parties through an early ADR
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 by the undersigned, the Clerk shall send the
appointed attorney a Notice of Appointment and Interim Notice
of Appearance, which shall include a statement that defense
counsel must only communicate with the appointed attorney,
and not the plaintiff, 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 § 3(i).
as practical following appointment, pro bono counsel is
directed to confer with the plaintiff 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.
the Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to identify counsel from
the Pro Bono Panel to represent plaintiff for the limited
purpose of helping plaintiff file a second amended complaint
and conducting an early ADR procedure pursuant to LCR 39.1.
Upon notification from the Clerk, the undersigned shall
appoint the selected attorney to represent the plaintiff in
early ADR proceedings in this case. Finally, the Clerk is
directed to send a copy of this Order and § 3(g)-(i) of
the Pro Bono Plan to plaintiff and counsel for defendant.
 The Pro Bono Plan 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 ...