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Davis v. Walker

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 24, 2014

KENNARD LEE DAVIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JAMES WALKER, Warden; SAMUEL MCALPINE; CHERYL BAKEWELL; RICHARD MARDER, Defendants-Appellees. KENNARD LEE DAVIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JAMES WALKER, Warden; S. FLORY; DA ROSA; A. NANGALAMA; EDMONSON, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted January 16, 2014, San Francisco, California

Page 1304

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 2:10-cv-02139-KJM-DAD. D.C. No. 2:08-cv-00593-KJM-DAD. Kimberly J. Mueller, District Judge, Presiding.

Kayvan B. Sadeghi (argued), Morrison & Foerster LLP, New York, New York, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Jose Zelidon-Zepeda (argued), Deputy Attorney General, San Francisco, California, for Defendants-Appellees James Walker, Samuel McAlpine, and Cheryl Bakewell in appeal number 12-15856, and for Defendants-Appellees James Walker, S. Flory, Da Rosa, A. Nangalama, and Edmonson in appeal number 12-15859.

Thomas J. Doyle, Schuering Zimmerman & Doyle, LLP, Sacramento, California, for Defendant-Appellee Richard Marder, M.D., in appeal number 12-15856.

Before: Richard C. Tallman and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges, and Andrew P. Gordon, District Judge.[*] Opinion by Judge Tallman.

OPINION

Page 1305

TALLMAN, Circuit Judge.

This appeal arises from two consolidated cases in which Kennard Lee Davis, a prisoner suffering from schizoaffective disorder and who is proceeding pro se, sought damages from California prison officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Davis moved for appointment of a guardian ad litem pursuant to Rule 17(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that:

A minor or an incompetent person who does not have a duly appointed representative may sue by a next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court must appoint a guardian ad litem-- or issue another appropriate order --to protect a minor or incompetent person who is unrepresented in an action.

(emphasis added). The district court recognized throughout the pendency of both cases that Davis was, and remains, incompetent

Page 1306

but denied his request for a guardian ad litem because the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Eastern District of California advised the court that no one was available to undertake the representation. In response, the court stayed Davis's cases indefinitely until he was found " restored to competency" and " capable of protecting his own interests through self-representation." We must determine whether, under Rule 17(c)(2), the district court erred by declining to appoint a guardian ad litem and instead staying Davis's cases indefinitely until he is found to be restored to competency. We vacate the district court's stay order and remand with instructions.

I

In 2008, Davis brought a § 1983 action in federal court against prison officials at California State Prison, Sacramento. Davis alleged that, in retaliation for filing numerous lawsuits and prisoner complaints, prison officials forced him to push a cart containing over 100 pounds of legal documents for over half a mile while handcuffed. Davis contended that when he sought medical help for his resulting injuries, prison medical staff were deliberately indifferent by denying him treatment. After 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) screening, the district court determined that Davis's complaint stated cognizable claims for excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and retaliation.

In 2010, Davis filed a second action against prison medical staff in which he alleged that the staff, in retaliation for Davis's numerous inmate appeals, denied him adequate medical care by leaving a pin in his left hand after surgery. The district court screened that complaint and found that it stated a cognizable claim under the First and Eighth Amendments. In September 2011, Davis filed a motion ...


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