Sutton v. Lionel, No. 77-1992

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtJ. JOSEPH SMITH; This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Bruce R. Thompson
Citation585 F.2d 400
Docket NumberNo. 77-1992
Decision Date29 September 1978
PartiesGilbert SUTTON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Samuel S. LIONEL et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Page 400

585 F.2d 400
Gilbert SUTTON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Samuel S. LIONEL et al., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 77-1992.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Sept. 29, 1978.
Rehearing Denied Nov. 3, 1978.

Page 401

William K. Lohse (argued), Reno, Nev., for plaintiff-appellant.

Andrew S. Brignone (argued), of Lionel, Sawyer & Collins, Las Vegas, Nev., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Before: SMITH, * DUNIWAY and WALLACE, Circuit Judges.

J. JOSEPH SMITH, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Bruce R. Thompson, Judge, dismissing for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted an action challenging the constitutionality of various rules governing admission to the practice of law in Nevada, and seeking the production of materials and a hearing. For reasons given below, we affirm.

The Supreme Court of the State of Nevada (the "Court") is empowered by the state's legislature to make rules for the government of the State Bar. N.R.S. Title 1, ch. 2 § 2.120(1) (1975). The bar is a public corporation created by statute and continued under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the Court. N.R.S. Title 1, ch. 7 § 7.275(1) (1977). The Court, pursuant to its rule-making authority, authorized the board of governors of the bar to fix and determine the qualifications for admissions to practice law in Nevada. In addition, the board of governors was authorized to delegate to a board of bar examiners the power to interview and examine applicants, to determine their qualifications for admission to practice, to recommend to the Court applicants who fulfill these requirements, and to recommend rejection of those who fail to meet these requirements, Supreme Court Rule (hereinafter "SCR") 49(1), (3)(a) (1975). 1

An applicant not recommended by the board of bar examiners is informed by the Court whether the board's recommendation was based upon a failure to pass the examination or upon the applicant's failure to

Page 402

qualify in any other particular. Any applicant so notified may, within a period of 60 days from the date of such notice, file a verified petition for review with the Court, accompanied by proof of service of a copy thereof upon the board of bar examiners. 2

The SCR also provides that, with the exception of the portion of the written examination prepared by the Educational Testing Service ("multistate bar examination"), any applicant not recommended by the board shall have the right to inspect his graded examination papers at any time after the Court has received the report of the board of bar examiners recommending that the applicant be denied admission. SCR 71 (1975).

In 1975, Sutton sought admission to the practice of law in the State of Nevada. It appears that Sutton had taken the written examination three times before 1975 and that after each exam he had been denied admission to the practice of law. On July 30 and 31, 1975 Sutton again sat for the written examination, the fourth and final time permitted by the rules. Sutton failed to receive a passing grade, and the board of examiners duly reported the result of the 1975 bar examination to the Supreme Court of Nevada. The Court entered an order denying Sutton admission to the practice of law.

Thereafter Sutton petitioned the Court for review. SCR 70(2) provides that an applicant may petition for review within 60 days from the date that an applicant is notified that he has failed to pass the examination. Sutton asserts that he petitioned the Court, and that his petition was denied on March 31, 1976. He admits that his petition was untimely.

On April 26, 1976 Sutton petitioned the board of bar examiners and the board of governors of the state bar for a hearing upon his application, for model answers to the July 30 and 31, 1975 bar examination, and for a representative sampling of the examination papers of other applicants who received overall passing and overall failing grades. On this petition, Sutton stated that "SCR 70 is deemed inapplicable since applicant's challenge . . . relates to his claim that he demonstrated...

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8 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...Poats v. Givan, 651 F.2d 495, 497 (7th Cir. 1981); Davidson v. State of Georgia, 622 F.2d 895, 897 (5th Cir. 1980); Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400, 403 (9th Cir. 1978); Whitfield v. Illinois Board of Bar Examiners, 504 F.2d 474, 478 (7th Cir. 1974) (Constitution does not require an unsucces......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...Poats v. Givan, 651 F.2d 495, 497 (7th Cir. 1981); Davidson v. State of Georgia, 622 F.2d 895, 897 (5th Cir. 1980); Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400, 403 (9th Cir. 1978); Whitfield v. Illinois Board of Bar Examiners, 504 F.2d 474, 478 (7th Cir. 1974) (Constitution does not require an unsucces......
  • Louis v. Supreme Court of Nevada, No. CIV-R-79-176-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • April 16, 1980
    ...if applicable, that failure to attain a passing examination grade was due to such fraud, imposition or coercion. See Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400 (9th Cir. In the instant action, the plaintiff did not meet the Rule 51 requirement of graduation from an A.B.A.-approved law school, therefore......
  • Lucero v. Ogden, No. 82-1817
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 4, 1983
    ...393 (1976); Poats v. Givan, 651 F.2d 495 (7th Cir.1981); Davidson v. State of Georgia, 622 F.2d 895 (5th Cir.1980); Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400 (9th Cir.1978); Whitfield v. Illinois Board of Law Examiners, 504 F.2d 474 (7th Cir.1974); Bailey v. Board of Law Examiners, 508 F.Supp. 106 (W.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Louis v. Supreme Court of Nevada, No. CIV-R-79-176-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • April 16, 1980
    ...if applicable, that failure to attain a passing examination grade was due to such fraud, imposition or coercion. See Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400 (9th Cir. In the instant action, the plaintiff did not meet the Rule 51 requirement of graduation from an A.B.A.-approved law school, therefore......
  • Lucero v. Ogden, No. 82-1817
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 4, 1983
    ...393 (1976); Poats v. Givan, 651 F.2d 495 (7th Cir.1981); Davidson v. State of Georgia, 622 F.2d 895 (5th Cir.1980); Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400 (9th Cir.1978); Whitfield v. Illinois Board of Law Examiners, 504 F.2d 474 (7th Cir.1974); Bailey v. Board of Law Examiners, 508 F.Supp. 106 (W.......
  • Giannini v. Real, No. 89-55466
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 16, 1990
    ...Amendment's Due Process Clause."). We therefore find that the State provided Giannini with procedural due process. See Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400, 403 (9th Cir.1978) (holding that the rules governing admission to the Nevada bar, which allow the unsuccessful applicant to see his exam and......
  • Glaser v. Board of Bar Examiners, No. 92-16331
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 17, 1993
    ...Though neither party notes it, this court later adopted as its holding the proposition espoused in the Chaney dicta. Sutton v. Lionel, 585 F.2d 400, 403 (9th Cir.1978); see also Giannini v. Real, 911 F.2d 354, 357 (9th Cir.) (citing Sutton and Whitfield approvingly), cert. denied, 498 U.S. ......
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