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Postma v. Van Goor

United States District Court, D. Alaska

May 22, 2014

RICHARD V. POSTMA, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN VAN GOOR, Bar Counsel, MARK WOELBER, Assistant Bar Counsel; and JOHN/JANE DOES 1 to 5 (other as-of-yet unidentified state actors), all individually, Defendants.

ORDER REGARDING MOTIONS AT DOCKETS 18, 25, and 29

RALPH R. BEISTLINE, District Judge.

At Docket 18 Defendants Stephen Van Goor and Mark Woelber moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff Richard V. Postma has opposed the motion[1] and Defendants have replied.[2] At Docket 25 Plaintiff has cross-moved for summary judgment. Defendants have opposed Plaintiff's cross-motion[3] and Plaintiff has replied.[4] The Court has determined that oral argument would not materially assist in resolving the issues presented. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Request for Oral Argument at Docket 29 is DENIED[5] and the matter submitted for decision on the briefs.

I. BACKGROUND/JURISDICTION

Postma, an attorney admitted to practice in Alaska, seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages in his favor against Bar Counsel and Assistant Bar Counsel acting in their individual capacities under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983.[6] This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343.

Postma's action arises out of an application filed by Defendants with the Alaska Supreme Court seeking an order: (1) compelling Postma to submit to a full independent psychological evaluation to determine his fitness to practice law; and (2) placing Postma on interim disability inactive status pending the result of the psychological evaluation. Postma contends that the actions of Defendants give rise to three causes of action. First, a violation of his rights under the First Amendment to speak in his own defense, to contract with clients in the pursuit of his lawful avocation, and a deprivation of his federally created rights in a law license without due process of law or in retaliation for the exercise of his federally protected rights. Second, that the actions of the Defendants have placed an unlawful prior restraint on Postma's right to publicly speak in his defense. Third, Defendants' action constitute a bill of attainder.

As relevant to the pending motions, the undisputed facts are:

1. January 7, 2014 - Defendants acting on behalf of the Alaska Bar Association ("Bar") filed an application with the Alaska Supreme Court seeking the order described in the immediately preceding paragraph.[7]

2. February 10, 2014 - Postma opposed the application.[8]

3. February 11, 2014 - Postma initiated this action.[9]

4. March 3, 2014 - Defendants filed a petition with the Alaska Supreme Court to transfer Postma to disability inactive status.[10]

5. March 5, 2014 - Due to the conflict of Bar Counsel in this matter, the Executive Director of the Bar appointed Bruce Bookman as Special Bar Counsel to pursue the competency proceeding before the Alaska Supreme Court.[11]

6. March 20, 2014 - Postma answered the Petition.[12]

7. March 17, 2014 - The Alaska Supreme Court denied without prejudice the Bar's request to transfer Postma to disability inactive status, but directed Postma to respond to the Bar's request to order Postma to ...


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