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Montoya v. New Mexico Dep't of Public Safety

March 30, 2010

NIKKITA MONTOYA AND ELIZABETH MONTOYA, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, FARON SEGOTTA IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF THE NEW MEXICO STATE POLICE DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, AND JOHN LYTLE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A NEW MEXICO STATE POLICE OFFICER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bruce D. Black United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court for consideration of a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Defendants (Doc. 8). The motion seeks dismissal of the state-law claims Plaintiffs have brought under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act ("TCA"). Having reviewed the submissions of the parties and the relevant law, the Court finds that the motion for summary judgment should be granted.

Summary of Relevant Facts

On October 4, 2006, Plaintiff Nikkita Montoya was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant obtained as a result of an arrest-warrant affidavit submitted by Defendant Lytle. Also on October 4, 2006, a petition was filed alleging that Nikkita was a delinquent child who had committed the act of conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance. Nikkita was held in custody until October 5, 2006. On October 13, 2006, the State of New Mexico dismissed the delinquency petition, "pending further investigation." Almost three years later, on October 5, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in state court raising claims of federal civil-rights violations as well as state-law claims brought pursuant to the TCA, NMSA §§ 41-4-1 to -29. Defendants removed the case to this Court, and have filed a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of all the state-law claims.

Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate 'if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'" Medina v. Income Support Div., 413 F.3d 1131, 1133 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). In response, the nonmoving party must come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith, 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party may not rest upon the mere allegations in the pleadings but must show, at a minimum, an inference of the existence of each essential element of the case. Eck v. Parke, Davis & Co., 256 F.3d 1013, 1016-17 (10th ...


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