Loumoli v. Williams et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION and Dismissal Order: Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice, under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (2012), for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Signed by Judge Dee Benson on 4/17/12. (jlw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
Case No. 2:11-CV-570 DB
JON D. WILLIAMS et al.,
District Judge Dee Benson
Plaintiff, Viliami Loumoli, an inmate at Salt Lakc County
Adult Detention Center, filed this pro se civil rights suit, see
42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2012), proceeding in forma pauperis.
id. § 1915.
His complaint is now before the Court for screening.
See id. § 1915(e).
A. Standard of Review
This Court shall dismiss any claims in a complaint filed in
forma pauperis if they are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief
against an immune defendant.
See id. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
"Dismissal of a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim is
proper only where it is obvious that the plaintiff cannot prevail
on the facts he has alleged and it would be futile to give him an
opportunity to amend."
Perkins v. Kan. Dep't of Corrs., 165 F.3d
803, 806 (10th Cir. 1999).
When reviewing the sufficiency of a
complaint the Court "presumes all of plaintiff's factual
allegations are true and construes them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff."
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1109 (10th Cir. 1991).
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se the Court must
construe his pleadings "liberally" and hold them "to a less
stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Id. at 1110.
However, "[t]he broad reading of the plaintiff’s
complaint does not relieve [him] of the burden of alleging
sufficient facts on which a recognized legal claim could be
While Plaintiff need not describe every fact in
specific detail, "conclusory allegations without supporting
factual averments are insufficient to state a claim on which
relief can be based."
B. Plaintiff’s Allegations
Plaintiff's Complaint alleges ineffective-assistance-ofcounsel and malpractice claims against Jon D. Williams and Legal
Defender Association, his public defender in his state criminal
He requests damages and money to pay for effective
C. Improper Defendants
To establish a cause of action under § 1983, Plaintiff must
allege (1) the deprivation of a federal right by (2) a person
acting under color of state law (without immunity).
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980); Watson v. City of Kansas City,
857 F.2d 690, 694 (10th Cir. 1988).
The Complaint names defendants based on their role as
Plaintiff's public defender.
"However, the Supreme Court has
stated that 'a public defender does not act under color of state
law when performing a lawyer's traditional functions as counsel
to a defendant in a criminal proceeding.'"
Garza v. Bandy, No.
08-3152, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 17440, at *4 (10th Cir. Aug. 13,
2008) (unpublished) (quoting Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
Additionally, "'even though the defective
performance of defense counsel may cause the trial process to
deprive an accused person of his liberty in an unconstitutional
manner, the lawyer who may be responsible for the
unconstitutional state action does not himself act under color of
state law within the meaning of § 1983.'"
Id. (quoting Briscoe
v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 329 n. 6 (1983)).
Further, any claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel should be brought either on
direct appeal in Plaintiff's criminal case or on habeas corpus
Thus, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Jon D.
Williams and Legal Defender Association may not proceed here.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED
with prejudice, under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (2012), for
failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
neither liberal interpretation of Plaintiff's claims nor
opportunity to amend would lead to a different result.
DATED this 17th day of April, 2012.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Judge
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