D. Availability of Relief for Plaintiff
In order to state a procedural due process violation, a plaintiff must show the deprivation of a liberty or property interest, without notice to be heard. Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 92 S. Ct. 2701, 2709, 33 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1972). To have a property, interest in a benefit, a person must have a "legitimate claim of entitlement to" the benefit. Id.
In considering whether there is a legitimate claim to an entitlement here, the Court looks to the statutory and regulatory provisions pertaining to the availability of registration. There can be no doubt that the Committee may exercise discretion in determining whether to remove a correspondence law school from registration. Rule XX § 5 (stating that "failure to disclose or make representations shall be considered as grounds for removing the school from the list of schools registered"). Further, the Committee is specifically empowered to inquire into the scholastic and financial resources of a school so as to determine its appropriateness for students preparing to take the California bar exam. Rule XX § 1 (requiring each school registered with the Committee provide particular information). In addition, the generally broad mandate given the Committee to carry out its function indicates that the exact fashion in which registration and other goals need be carried out is left broadly to the Committee, and its governing state supervisors. The record before this Court does not indicate that registration is intended to be a right or entitlement, granted automatically like a permit. When plaintiff sought to compel registration by the body responsible for interpreting and overseeing the Committee rules, the California Supreme Court, that Court specifically denied plaintiff's petition. Ben Ramos v. Committee of Bar Examiners, 1993 Cal. LEXIS 1467 (March 17, 1993).
Where it has spoken to the general question of the Committee's purposes, the Supreme Court of California has emphasized the importance of the Committee's goals. See e.g., Bib'le v. Committee of The State Bar, 26 Cal. 3d 548, 554, 606 P.2d 733, 162 Cal. Rptr. 426 (1980) (there is "a strong public policy in the requirement of a FYLSX."). Nothing in the rules, or in plaintiff's arguments at hearing indicate why statutory language should be read to forbid a hearing prior to registration. Indeed, it can be argued that the consumer protection aspect of the Committee's process would be defeated if they were required to simply register all schools who were otherwise authorized.
Moreover, plaintiff does not submit a showing that there was inadequate process. Plaintiff claims that by initially refusing to send plaintiff forms for registration, plaintiff has been denied adequate process. However, plaintiff was provided with forms and the opportunity for a hearing. The hearing was held on August 20, 1993. Plaintiff states that plaintiff "declined" to review documents with the Committee because he felt the Committee was conducting a "fishing expedition" as a means to deny plaintiff registration. Complaint at #25. Plaintiff admits that he was notified of the hearing date, and does not contend that there was not substantial evidence for the Committee's findings nor does plaintiff argue that the conclusions were arbitrary.
Plaintiff has not been denied a property right and has received adequate due process. Accordingly, plaintiff's suit must be dismissed. Further, the stated grounds for this dismissal establish that amendment to state causes of action would be futile.
D. Other Issues
The Court notes that issues related to abstention, absolute immunity and qualified immunity were also raised by defendants. The Court need not resolve these questions.
For the foregoing reasons, defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED without leave to amend.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: June 6, 1994
D. Lowell Jensen
United States District Judge