Unpublished Disposition, 879 F.2d 865 (9th Cir. 1989)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 879 F.2d 865 (9th Cir. 1989)

Dennis R. HOPKINS, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.William CALLAHAN; Chase Riveland; Robert Jones,Defendants-Appellees.

No. 87-4166.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted*  June 5, 1989.Decided July 11, 1989.

Before SCHROEDER, BEEZER and BRUNETTI, Circuit Judges.


Dennis R. Hopkins, a Washington state prisoner, appeals the district court's dismissal of his suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging the deprivation of property, a Porsche automobile, without due process of law. We reverse and remand.

The district court did not give Hopkins leave to amend his complaint. A pro se civil rights plaintiff must be given leave to amend unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). Before dismissing a pro se civil rights complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) (6), the court must give the plaintiff a statement of the complaint's deficiencies. Id.

The district court applied the doctrine of Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 530 (1984), to foreclose relief. Hudson only applies to random and unauthorized minor deprivations of property. E.g., Merritt v. Mackey, 827 F.2d 1368, 1372 (9th Cir. 1987); Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1030-32 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc); Haygood v. Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1355-57 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1020 (1986). If Hopkins claims that he was deprived of his automobile pursuant to state policy--i.e., that the deprivation was not unauthorized--the case might be cognizable under section 1983. Hopkins' brief on appeal, and his memorandum in opposition to the defendants' motion to dismiss, suggest that he wishes to assert such a claim.

In addition, the district court read the complaint as possibly asserting a claim of denial of access to the courts, but did not grant leave to Hopkins to amend his complaint to state this claim with more specificity.

The district court's order dismissing the complaint is REVERSED, and the case REMANDED for further proceedings.


The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Cir.R. 36-3