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Wallace v. Department of Corrections of Washington

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

July 23, 2019

William James Mathew Wallace II, Plaintiff,
v.
Department of Corrections of Washington et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge.

         This is a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is proceeding with this action pro se and in forma pauperis. Before the Court are several motions filed by plaintiff: (1) motion requesting copies of all documents related to this case (“motion for copies”) (Dkt. 20) and (2) motion to consolidate and add exhibit to complaint (“motion to consolidate”) (Dkt. 22); (3) motion to appoint counsel (Dkt. 33); and (4) motion for extension of time to respond to future court orders due to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tampering with mail (“motion for extension”). Plaintiff also requests a status update. Dkts. 22, 32, 35.

         The Court denies plaintiff's motion for copies (Dkt. 20) and his renewed request for copies in his motion to consolidate (Dkt. 22). The Court grants plaintiff's request for a status update (Dkts. 22, 32). The Court denies plaintiff's duplicative motion to consolidate as moot (Dkt. 22). The Court denies plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (Dkt. 33) without prejudice. The Court denies plaintiff's motion for extension (Dkt. 35) without prejudice.

         I. Motion for Copies (Dkts. 20, 22)

         On June 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for copies, wherein he requests copies of all documents related to this case. Dkt. 20. Plaintiff states that he has been moved from the Washington Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and placed in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Dkt. 20. Plaintiff alleges that he is no longer in possession of his legal documents relating to this case. Dkt. 20. In the motion to consolidate, plaintiff renewed his request for copies. Dkt. 22.

         To receive copies from the Court, the requesting party must pay $0.50 per page. As plaintiff has not provided the necessary payment, his motion for copies (Dkt. 20) is denied. The Court also denies plaintiff's renewed request for copies in his motion to consolidate (Dkt. 22). The Clerk's Office is directed to send plaintiff copies of the Court's fee schedule and the copying charge letter.

         II. Request for Status Update (Dkts. 22, 32, 35)

         Plaintiff requests a status update on his pending case. Dkts. 22, 32, 35. Plaintiff's request is granted. The Clerk is directed to provide plaintiff with a copy of the docket sheet in the instant action, which will include any pending motions.

         III. Motion to Consolidate (Dkt. 22)

         Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in two separate civil actions in this district, both filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and alleging violations of his civil rights. See Wallace v. Pierce County Sheriff's Department, et al., No. 3:19-cv-5329-RBL-DWC (“Wallace I”); Wallace v. Longano et. al, No. 3:19-cv-05330-RJB-JRC (“Wallace II”). Plaintiff requests that every document he has provided to the Court be shared between his two pending cases, Wallace I and Wallace II. Dkt. 22. The Court interprets this request as a motion to consolidate this action with a separate action filed by plaintiff. See Dkt. 22; See also Wallace II.

         Pursuant to Local Rule 42, if a party seeks to have its case consolidated with one or more pending cases in this district, a motion to consolidate should be filed in the earliest filed case, with a notice of the motion filed in the later filed case. Magistrate Judge David W. Christel denied plaintiff's motion to consolidate in Wallace I, the earliest filed case. See Dkt. 23 (Notice of order denying motion to consolidate in No. 3:19-cv-05329- RBL-DWC); See also No. 3:19-cv-05329- RBL-DWC at Dkt. 24. Because plaintiff's motion to consolidate has been denied in the earliest filed case, the undersigned denies the duplicative motion to consolidate (Dkt. 22) filed in this case as moot.

         IV. Motion to Appoint Counsel (Dkt. 33)

         Plaintiff moves for the court to “reconsider” the appointment of counsel. Dkt. 33. However, this is the first motion for appointment of counsel filed in this case, therefore, the Court interprets this as a motion to appoint counsel, not as a motion for reconsideration. See Dkt.

         There is no constitutional right to appointed counsel in a § 1983 civil action, and whether to appoint counsel is within this Court's discretion. Storseth v. Spellman, 654 F.2d 1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981); see United States v. $292, 888.04 in U.S. Currency, 54 F.3d 564, 569 (9th Cir. 1995). Appointment of counsel for indigent civil litigants under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) requires “exceptional circumstances.” See Rand v. Roland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997) (citing former 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (1996)), overruled on other grounds, 154 F.3d 952 (1998). To decide whether exceptional circumstances exist, the Court must evaluate “both ‘the likelihood of success on the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues ...


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