Brandon Lavergne v. Claire Taylor, et al
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [14-30281 Affirmed ] Judge: TMR , Judge: JLD , Judge: LHS Mandate pull date is 11/24/2014; denying motion to appoint counsel filed by Appellant Mr. Brandon Scott Lavergne [7744394-2] [14-30281]
Date Filed: 11/03/2014
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
November 3, 2014
Lyle W. Cayce
BRANDON SCOTT LAVERGNE,
CLAIRE TAYLOR; ADVERTISER MEDIA NETWORK,
Appeals from the United States District Court
for the Western District of Louisiana
USDC No. 6:13-CV-2193
Before REAVLEY, DENNIS, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
Brandon Scott Lavergne, Louisiana prisoner # 424229, pled guilty to two
counts of first degree murder for the murders of Michaela Shunick and Lisa
Pate. Thereafter, Lavergne filed a civil rights complaint against Claire Taylor
and the Advertiser Media Network. The district court treated Lavergne’s
complaint as arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and dismissed his claims for
failure to state a claim because Taylor, a private citizen, and The Advertiser, a
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH
CIR. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 11/03/2014
private newspaper, were not state actors and had not otherwise acted “under
color of law” within the meaning of Section 1983. To the extent Lavergne
raised claims under Louisiana state law, those claims were dismissed without
On appeal, Lavergne repeats his claims of libel and slander against
Taylor and The Advertiser, and he contends that the district court erred in
refusing to allow him to amend his complaint, as he was entitled to do as a
matter of right, or to appoint him counsel. This court reviews a dismissal for
failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) de novo, applying the
same standard that is used to review a dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Black v. Warren, 134 F.3d 732, 733-34 (5th Cir. 1998).
Lavergne has not challenged the district court’s determination that the
defendants were not state actors for Section 1983 purposes or that it could not
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims because complete
diversity was lacking. Although pro se briefs are liberally construed, even pro
se litigants must brief arguments in order to preserve them. Yohey v. Collins,
985 F.2d 222, 225 (5th Cir. 1993). Lavergne has therefore failed to show that
the district court abused its discretion in denying Lavergne’s motion to appoint
counsel or his motion to amend his complaint. See Ulmer v. Chancellor, 691
F.2d 209, 212-13 (5th Cir. 1982); Leal v. McHugh, 731 F.3d 405, 417 (5th Cir.
2013). To the extent Lavergne raises new claims on appeal, we do not address
them. See Williams v. Ballard, 466 F.3d 330, 335 (5th Cir. 2006).
Lavergne’s motion to appoint counsel is DENIED, and the district court’s
judgment is AFFIRMED.
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