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Azkour v. Aria

June 1, 2007

RE: AZKOUR
v.
ARIA, ET. AL



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge

Honorable Patty Shwartz U.S. Post Office & Courthouse Bldg. United States Magistrate Judge Federal Square, Newark, NJ 07101 (973) 645-6596

LETTER OPINION & ORDER

Hicham Azkour, pro se 20 Hemlock Street, No. 2 Paterson, NJ 07503

Dear Litigants:

The Court is in receipt of plaintiff Hicham Azkour's request for appointment of pro bono counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), filed on May 18, 2007. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's request is denied.

BACKGROUND

On April 4, 2007, the plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that the defendants discriminated against him on the basis of his race by denying him access to housing and interfered with his right to seek redress for the allegedly discriminatory conduct. See Compl. at ¶¶ 46, 64. Based on these allegations, the plaintiff asserts claims under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment, in addition to various state law claims. See Compl. at ¶¶ 7, 8. On April 4, 2007, the plaintiff filed an Application for Pro Bono Counsel, which was denied without prejudice by the Hon. Katharine S. Hayden on April 9, 2007 because the plaintiff filed the Complaint without having paid the filing fees. See Order, dated April 9, 2007. On April 14, 2007, the plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, which Judge Hayden granted on May 4, 2007. See Order, dated May 4, 2007.

On May 18, 2007, the plaintiff filed this Application for Pro Bono Counsel. See Docket Entry No. 8. In his application, the plaintiff argues that he is entitled to appointed counsel because: (1) he does not have training in the law and is concerned that this will cause delay and prejudice his ability to present his case; (2) he cannot afford to hire an attorney on his own; (3) the case involves complex legal issues that will require a detailed factual investigation which he cannot perform on his own; (4) the case will likely turn on credibility determinations and will require expert testimony; and (5) there are attorneys named as defendants and "[a]ttorneys and judges . . . don't like to see fellow attorneys sued." See App. for Counsel at ¶¶ 3-4; Compl. at ¶ 12.

DISCUSSION

There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel for indigent civil litigants. Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997). District courts have broad discretion in determining whether the appointment of counsel is appropriate, and must assess each application on a case by case basis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 157-58 (3d Cir. 1993). In considering a request for appointment of counsel, the Court must first assess the threshold matter of "...whether the claimant's case has some arguable merit in fact and law." Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 498-99 (3d Cir. 2002). If the applicant satisfies this threshold requirement, then the Court should consider the following factors:

(1) the plaintiff's ability to present his case;

(2) the difficulty of the particular legal issues;

(3) the degree to which factual investigations will be necessary and the ability of the plaintiff ...


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