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David Myers v. State of California

November 30, 2012

DAVID MYERS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 12) FIFTEEN DAY DEADLINE

I. Procedural History

David Myers ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee*fn1 proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed his original complaint which commenced this action. Doc. 1. On October 29, 2012, the Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Doc. 9. On November 29, 2012, Plaintiff filed the first amended complaint which is currently before the Court. Doc. 12.

II. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a civil detainee. "[T]he rights afforded prisoners set a floor for those that must be afforded . . . civil detainees." McNeal v. Mayberg, 2008 WL 5114650, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2008), citing Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 989 (9th Cir. 2007) (reversed on other grounds) (quoting Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 322 (1982). See also Semeneck v. Ahlin, 2010 WL 4738065, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2010); Leonard v. Bonner, 2010 WL 3717248, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 15, 2010); Allen v. Mayberg, 2010 WL 500467, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2010). Therefore, though Plaintiff is a detainee and not a prisoner, the Court may refer to the rights of prisoners to determine the rights afforded Plaintiff.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); see also Synagogue v. United States, 482 F.3d 1058, 1060 (9th Cir. 2007); NL Industries, Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir. 1986). In determining whether to dismiss an action, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, and construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421-22 (1969); Daniels-Hall v. National Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010).

III. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff is currently a civil detainee at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California. Doc. 1. In the complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: 1) State of California; 2) Lisa Green (Kern County Public Defender's Office); and 3) Defense Counsel of Kern County. Doc. 12 at 1-3. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and wants legal counsel to win his case against the state. Doc. 12 at 3.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Green was assigned to defend Plaintiff. Doc. 12 at 3. Defendant Green violated the Plaintiff's right to counsel, so Plaintiff claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. Doc. 12 at 3. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Green betrayed the business code in her conduct with Plaintiff and such conduct was unconstitutional. Doc. 12 at 3. Plaintiff asserts that he has a right to be represented and Defendant Green violated his constitutional rights by failing to hire an expert to assist Plaintiff. Doc. 12 at 3.

IV. Legal Standards and Analysis

A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. A public defender representing a client in the lawyer's traditional adversarial role is not a state ...


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