849 F2d 1475 Chou v. University of California Berkeley
849 F.2d 1475
NOTICE: Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3 provides that dispositions other than opinions or orders designated for publication are not precedential and should not be cited except when relevant under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel.
Prudence Sui-Ning CHOU, Plaintiff-Appellant,
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, Defendant-Appellee.
Nos. 86-2056, 87-1970.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted May 13, 1988.*
Decided June 8, 1988.
Before JAMES R. BROWNING, Chief Judge, and ALARCON and NORRIS, Circuit Judges.
Appellant Prudence Chou, who sued the University of California under Title VII, appeals the district court's denial of her request for appointment of counsel and her request for reconsideration of that denial.
Under Bradshaw v. Zoological Society of San Diego, 662 F.2d 1301, 1318-20 (9th Cir.1981), a district court's refusal to appoint counsel in a Title VII case is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Three factors govern the district court's discretionary decision whether to appoint counsel: 1) the plaintiff's financial condition; 2) the plaintiff's efforts to secure counsel; and 3) whether, on their face, plaintiff's claims appear to have some merit. Id. at 1318. Although plaintiff appears to meet the first two Bradshaw criteria, we hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's request for counsel because her claim does not appear on its face to have merit.
Ms. Chou claims that professors at the University of California denied her employment and sabotaged the publication of her dissertation on account of her race and sex. Ms. Chou offers absolutely no evidence, only bare allegation, to substantiate her claim of race discrimination. With respect to her claim of sex discrimination, Ms. Chou has not shown that the University denied her a benefit for which she was eligible and of which she had a reasonable expectation. Such a showing is a prerequisite to establishing a prima facie case of sex discrimination under Title VII. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 ((1973).
The EEOC issued a "no cause" determination in this case. While such a determination may not be the basis of the denial of a request for counsel, it is highly probative evidence on the question whether plaintiff's claims merit the appointment of counsel. See Caston v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 556 F.2d 1303, 1308 (9th Cir.1977). Our own independent review of the record accords with the EEOC's, and leads us to conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Ms. Chou's request for counsel.
For the same reasons, we also hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's motion for reconsideration.