I am not sure if these levers are broken or just dirty inside. Basically, if I pull on them they are stuck in this position unless I use force to close it. Is the spring broken or do the innards need some cleaning (how do I open up the casing anyways)?
You are never going to pull the lever into that position when it is mounted to a bar. It will hit the bar first. Not all levers even have return springs in them and you can just rely on the cable tension provided by the brake caliper spring. If you think the action is rough, shoot lots of WD-40 into it.
Yeah, the action on that particular lever is very rough. Actually takes quite a bit of force to move it back and forth even when it isn't in that position and during the normal braking motions. I'm not too sure if the cable tension will be sufficient. I just thought it was odd as the other lever seemed perfectly fine. I'll try some WD-40, any idea what caused this? A lot of grit? Maybe lever was ridden a lot in the rain?
I think it's the way those levers are designed. The barrel that the cable end stop/holder (half eclipsed by the removable plastic shroud there) is in, can slip out of the forked, u-shaped, lever. There's a plastic insert inside the body to keep the barrel from coming out the top of the forks in normal operation, but when the lever gets articulated to this point, all bets are off.