United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ALLAL K. AMRANI, et al., Plaintiffs,
U.S. BANK TRUST, N.A., AS TRUSTEE FOR LSF9 MASTER PARTICIPATION TRUST, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT-APPOINTED
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Allal Amrani's
Application for Court-Appointed Counsel. Dkt. #22. Finding
that appointment of counsel is not warranted, the Court
denies the Application.
of brief background, Plaintiff initiated this action to
restrain or overcome a foreclosure of the property on which
he resides. The property was first purchased by one of the
defendants for a business venture with Plaintiff. Dkt. #7 at
¶¶ 8-12. The property was later transferred to the
business venture, but payments were missed, and the mortgage
went into default in 2011. Id. at ¶ 19. Over
the years, Plaintiff has recorded several quit claim deeds
related to the property and has recorded a “UCC
Development Real Estate Services Mechanic's Lien”
against the property. Id. at ¶ 26; Dkt. #7-4.
Through this series of documents, Plaintiff seems to allege
ownership of the property, an entitlement to satisfaction of
a super-priority lien, or that defendants lack the ability to
foreclose upon the property. Dkt. #7 at ¶¶ 35-44.
the pending Application to appoint counsel, Plaintiff details
some of his efforts to secure counsel on his own, including
seeking assistance from the Washington State Attorney
General, “Seniors Assistance, ” “211,
” assistance from a guardian ad-litem that was
appointed in a state court action, and contacts with
attorneys about pro bono representation. Dkt. #22 at 2.
Plaintiff also notes that he was previously afforded counsel
in a state court action and provides evidence that he
receives disability benefits from the social security
administration. Id.; Dkt. #22-1 at 6. Plaintiff also
attaches a completed copy of the Court's
“Application for Accommodations for Trial Participants
with Communication Disabilities” form. Dkt. #22-2.
Therein, Plaintiff details his need for court-appointed
Mr Amrani suffers from severe [Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder] and cannot speak to defend his rights in court. He
becomes flooded with anxiety, overwhelmed and incapacitated
from panic reactions. He also has suffered an infection to
the spleen and brain (Echinococcosis) that may have
compromised his attention and communicative ability further.
His uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes also causes difficulties in
concentration due often unpredictable blood sugar
Id. at 2. Lastly, Plaintiff supports his request
with a letter from his Psychologist detailing his conditions
and the difficulties the conditions will cause Plaintiff in
pursuing this action. Dkt. #22-3.
civil cases, the appointment of counsel to a pro se litigant
“is a privilege and not a right.” United
States ex. Rel. Gardner v. Madden, 352 F.2d 792, 793
(9th Cir. 1965) (citation omitted). “Appointment of
counsel should be allowed only in exceptional cases.”
Id. (citing Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598
(9th Cir. 1963)). A court must consider together “both
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.”
Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983).
“Neither of these considerations is dispositive and
instead must be viewed together.” Palmer v.
Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing
Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir.
Court Declines to Appoint Counsel
does not satisfy the applicable standard here. The Court has
previously expressed concerns over the merits of
Plaintiff's claims and noted that he has “not
clearly established whether this Court can exercise
jurisdiction over this matter.” Dkt. #14 at 6. Ruling
on what the Court interpreted as a motion for a temporary
restraining order, the Court noted that Plaintiff had not yet
provided “adequate legal analysis for the Court to
weigh the likelihood of success on the merits.”
Id. Plaintiff provides no further analysis here. The
Court is still unsure as to whether any of Plaintiff's
claims have merit or whether the matter is even within this
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. The merits of
Plaintiff's case do not justify appointed counsel.
more compelling argument is that he is disabled and lacks the
ability to represent himself in this action. But Plaintiff
has demonstrated both sufficient background knowledge and
writing ability for him to adequately represent himself at
this point. See Terrell v. Brewer,935 F.2d 1015,
1017 (9th Cir. 1991) (approving of denial of counsel where
litigant “demonstrated sufficient writing ability and
legal knowledge to articulate his claim”).
Specifically, Plaintiff indicates that he has “an
active license as a Real Estate Managing Broker[, ] . . . was
in the practice of real estate for the greater of 30 years[,
]” and entered into a business relationship with one of