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Juan Carlos Valadez-Lopez v. Michael Chertoff; Alberto R.

August 26, 2011

JUAN CARLOS VALADEZ-LOPEZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF; ALBERTO R. GONZALES; JERRY J. ENOMOTO; JOHN MCGINNESS;
MACK WIMBISH; YAKOV GRINBERG, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; DONALD LOWN, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS, AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
JUAN CARLOS VALADEZ-LOPEZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF; ALBERTOR. GONZALES; JERRY J. ENOMOTO; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANTS, AND DONALD LOWN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
JUAN CARLOS VALADEZ-LOPEZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF; ALBERTO R. GONZALES; JERRY J. ENOMOTO;
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANTS, AND YAKOV GRINBERG, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Ronald S.W. Lew, Senior District Judge, Presiding D.C. No.2:07-cv-01566-LEW ; D.C. No. 2:07-cv-01566-LEW; D.C. No. 2:07-cv-01566-LEW

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted November 30, 2010-San Francisco, California

Before: Mary M. Schroeder, Sidney R. Thomas, and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Thomas

OPINION

In this appeal, we consider whether the plaintiff properly exhausted his administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA" or the "Act"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-80, see id. § 2675(a), where the federal agencies denied the plaintiff's administrative tort claims before he amended his complaint in an ongoing civil action to name the United States as a party and allege a new cause of action under the Act. We conclude that the claims were properly exhausted, but affirm the district court's dismissal on the alternate ground that Valadez-Lopez stated FTCA claims that fall outside the Act's waiver of sovereign immunity. We also affirm the grant of summary judgment on Valadez-Lopez's ineffective assistance of counsel claims, premised on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).

I

This case has a complicated procedural and factual history. Distilled to its essence, the salient facts are as follows: Juan Carlos Valadez-Lopez's public defender knew that Valadez-Lopez was an undocumented immigrant, yet nonetheless advised him to plead no contest to attempted burglary in the first degree on charges that he jiggled the door knob of a house that was not his own. Based on Valadez-Lopez's conviction, the government detained him for a year pending his removal proceedings in local jails on contract with the federal government. Valadez-Lopez was ultimately permitted to withdraw his plea and eventually prevailed on his applications for asylum and cancellation of removal. He claims that various authorities unconstitutionally deprived him of medication for his schizophrenia during his immigration detention, and that that detention resulted from the insufficient training that Yolo County, California, provided to its public defenders regarding the immigration consequences of criminal pleas.

He initially filed suit against local officials under § 1983 and federal officials under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). He separately filed administrative tort claims with the appropriate federal agencies, pursuant to the FTCA's exhaustion requirement. See 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a). In his administrative tort claims, Valadez-Lopez alleged that federal authorities negligently deprived him of medication he needed to control his schizophrenia during his immigration detention. After six months, having received no response from the agencies as to his administrative claims, he considered the requests to have been deemed denied, see id., and amended his complaint to name the United States as a defendant and allege liability under the FTCA. Subsequently, he received notification from the agencies that his administrative claims had been denied. The notice contained the form language stating that if he were dissatisfied with the denial of his claims, he could file suit in federal district court within six months after the denial notification was mailed.

The district court granted the United States' motion to dismiss the FTCA claims for lack of administrative exhaustion and granted the local defendants' motion for summary judgment on the § 1983 claims. Valadez-Lopez timely appealed.

II

The district court erred in concluding that Valadez-Lopez had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and that it therefore lacked subject ...


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