Unpublished Disposition, 869 F.2d 1499 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted* Dec. 29, 1988.Decided Feb. 23, 1989.
Before FERGUSON, WILLIAM A. NORRIS and WIGGINS, Circuit Judges.
The parental rights of Donna Wetzel were terminated as to her two minor daughters in a state court proceeding. Wetzel, acting pro se, thereupon brought the present action in the United States District Court. After the state filed a motion to dismiss or for a more definite statement, the district court ordered that Wetzel file an amended complaint so as to state a cognizable federal claim. She responded by filing a hand written amended complaint that is a rambling statement protesting the action of the Washington state court. The district court dismissed the amended complaint for failure to allege a claim and entered judgment for all defendants. Wetzel appeals.
We will not affirm a dismissal of an action for failure of the complaint to state a claim unless " 'it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.' " Gibson v. United States, 781 F.2d 1334, 1337 (9th Cir. 1986) (quoting Sherman v. Yakahi, 549 F.2d 1287, 1290 (9th Cir. 1977)), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1054 (1987). In addition, we normally hold the allegations of a pro se complaint to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings prepared by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc).
Nevertheless, we are compelled to affirm the judgment of the district court below. Treating Wetzel's complaint as one intending to seek relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982), we conclude that the Supreme Court of Washington, the Superior Court of Kitsap County, Washington, and Childrens' Services Division of Bremerton, Washington, are each immune from liability under section 1983. Coverdell v. Department of Social & Health Servs., 834 F.2d 758, 762-64 (9th Cir. 1987) (child service workers are immune from section 1983 suits in performing quasi-prosecutorial functions connected with the initiation and pursuit of child dependency proceedings); Sherman v. Babbitt, 772 F.2d 1476, 1477 (9th Cir. 1985) (judges are immune from section 1983 suits for acts performed in their judicial capacities); see also Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness, Inc. v. Zolin, 812 F.2d 1103, 1110 (9th Cir. 1987) (suits against state courts are equivalent to suits against the State, and therefore are barred by the eleventh amendment); Capitol Industries-EMI, Inc. v. Bennett, 681 F.2d 1107, 1120 (9th Cir.) (the eleventh amendment bars suits against any state agency if the ultimate money judgment will be paid out of the state treasury), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 943 (1982). If we construe her amended complaint as asserting the denial of a liberty interest in the right to custody of her minor children, Wetzel could not prevail because it appears that she received full due process in the Washington state proceeding. See Ellis v. Hamilton, 669 F.2d 510, 512-15 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1069 (1982).
The judgment is AFFIRMED.