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Liu v. Schwartz

*fn* submitted: February 22, 1993.

JOHN LIU, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES SCHWARTZ; ALAMEDA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. CV-92-01094-CAL. Charles A. Legge, District Judge, Presiding

Before: Goodwin, Schroeder, and Canby, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM

John Liu appeals pro se the district court's dismissal of his civil rights action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review de novo the district court's dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Oscar v. University Students Co-op. Ass'n, 965 F.2d 783, 785 (9th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied, 113 S. Ct. 655 (1992). We affirm.

Liu filed a complaint against the Alameda County Superior Court of California ("Court"), and Joe Clar and Sons, a used tool company ("Company"),*fn1 alleging violations under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985(3). Liu claimed the Court violated his civil rights by improperly refusing to allow a legal technician to represent Liu at oral arguments or in a deposition. Liu also claimed the Court improperly granted sanctions against Liu for his failure to comply with discovery requests. Liu claimed the Company conspired with the Court in the rulings. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Liu timely appeals.

Liu contends the district court erred by dismissing his complaint because Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6125, which restricts the practice of law to members of the bar, is unconstitutional. Liu also contends the award of sanctions was unconstitutional because attorneys' fees as sanctions were unavailable to pro se litigants. These contentions lack merit.

A district court properly dismisses an action without leave to amend where the complaint fails to state a claim for relief and where the deficiency cannot be cured by amendment. Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987).

States have broad power to regulate the legal profession as part of their power to protect the public. Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773, 792 (1975). California has chosen to restrict the practice of law within its boundaries to those who are "active members of the State Bar." Calif. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6125. In California, a court may award attorneys' fees pursuant to its statutory authority. Bauguess v. Paine, 22 Cal. 3d 626, 634-35 (1978) (California legislature has enacted statutes authorizing the award of attorneys' fees "to advance certain public policies"). See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2023.*fn2 We have held it permissible for the legislature to restrict the award of attorneys' fees to represented parties only. See Merrell v. Block, 809 F.2d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 1987) (pro se litigant not entitled to fees where statute provides attorneys' fees as sanction).

Here, the district court properly held that Liu failed to state a claim for relief where Liu alleged that the Court violated his civil rights by prohibiting a legal technician from representing him. See Goldfarb, 421 U.S. at 792. Moreover, the district court properly dismissed Liu's claim that the award of sanctions was unconstitutional because they were unavailable to pro se litigants.*fn3 See Merrell, 809 F.2d at 642. Because it is clear that no amendment could cure the deficiencies, the district court properly dismissed Liu's complaint without leave to amend. See Noll, 809 F.2d at 1448.

AFFIRMED.

Disposition

AFFIRME ...


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