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Malibu Media, LLC v. Araj

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 30, 2015

MALIBU MEDIA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
AMER ARAJ, Defendant.

District Judge Gerald E. Rosen

ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (DE 13)

ANTHONY P. PATTI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

This matter is before the Court for consideration of Defendant Amer Araj’s request for appointment of a public defender. (DE 13.) For the reasons that follow, Defendant’s motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

I. BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

This is a copyright infringement case, in which Plaintiff alleges that Defendant used the BitTorrent file distribution network to copy and distribute twenty-two pieces of copyrighted work. To date, Defendant has proceeded pro se in this action. He filed the instant request on June 30, 2015, stating only that he “would like to request a court appointed public defender, as I cannot afford one.” (DE 13.)

II. ANALYSIS

Although Defendant styles his motion as one for appointment of counsel, the Court does not have the authority to appoint a private attorney (or a public defender) for Plaintiff in this civil matter. Dewitt v. Corizon, 760 F.3d 654, 657 (6th Cir. 2014) (“[t]here is no right to recruitment of counsel in federal civil litigation . . . .”). The Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption that “an indigent litigant has a right to appointed counsel only when, if he loses, he may be deprived of his physical liberty.” Lassiter v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 452 U.S. 18, 26-27 (1981).

Applying the foregoing authority, Defendant has not described any circumstances to justify a request for appointment of counsel. Accordingly, at this time, Defendant’s motion to appoint counsel is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. (DE 13.) Defendant may petition the Court for the recruitment of pro bono counsel if this case survives dispositive motion practice, proceeds to trial, or if other circumstances demonstrate such a need in the future.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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