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Raz v. State

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 10, 2017

BOAZ RAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW MEXICO, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         This matter comes before the Court upon Defendant State of New Mexico's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (“Motion to Dismiss”), filed on November 25, 2015, (Doc. 12); Plaintiff's Response to the State of New Mexico's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (“Response”), filed on December 17, 2015, (Doc. 16); and the State of New Mexico's Reply Memorandum in Further Support of its Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (“Reply”), filed January 4, 2016. (Doc. 17). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Sur-reply Memorandum (“Motion for Leave to File Surreply”), filed January 7, 2016, (Doc. 21); and Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Sur-reply Memorandum, filed January 10, 2016. (Doc. 22). Having reviewed both motions, the parties' briefs, and relevant law, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Surreply and GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.

         I. Background

         This case stems from a domestic relations matter before the New Mexico Second Judicial District Court (“Second Judicial District Court”). In his Amended Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Amended Complaint”), Plaintiff Boaz Raz (“Plaintiff”) alleges that, in the course of the state court proceedings, the Second Judicial District Court ordered him to continue operating and working for his business, SecurityUSA, despite the fact that the company is losing money and does not have sufficient income to meet all of its obligations. (Doc. 6) at 5-6. As a result, Plaintiff states that he has been forced to continue to work for SecurityUSA, without income, for the benefit of his ex-wife. Id. at 6. By forcing Plaintiff to do so under threat of incarceration, Plaintiff claims that the Second Judicial District Court is forcing Plaintiff into involuntary servitude, in violation of his rights under the Thirteenth Amendment. Id. Plaintiff asks this Court to “end the court order which forces [Plaintiff] to work for free at Security[USA]” and to order Defendant State of New Mexico (“Defendant”) to pay him compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney's fees and costs. Id. at 7. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se.

         Defendant then moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. 12). As grounds, Defendant argues that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's claims and that, even if this Court did have jurisdiction it should abstain from asserting it. Id. at 5-12. In addition, Defendant argues that the Amended Complaint otherwise fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id. at 13. In response, Plaintiff urges that this Court has jurisdiction to hear his civil rights claim, and that his claim is adequately pled. (Doc. 16) at 3-4.

         Subsequently, Plaintiff filed his Motion for Leave to File Surreply, requesting leave to file a surreply to Defendant's Reply, which raised new arguments. (Doc. 21). Defendant opposes the Motion to for Leave to File Surreply. (Doc. 22).

         II. Standard of Review

         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a defendant may seek dismissal of a lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. “Rule 12(b)(1) motions generally take one of two forms: (1) a facial attack on the sufficiency of the complaint's allegations as to subject matter jurisdiction; or (2) a challenge to the actual facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction is based.” Ruiz v. McDonnell, 299 F.3d 1173, 1180 (10th Cir. 2002) (citing Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1002-03 (10th Cir.1995)). Where a Rule 12(b)(1) motion constitutes a facial attack on the allegation of subject matter jurisdiction contained in the complaint, courts presume all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint to be true. Id.

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion asserting a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations as true and must view them in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 118 (1990). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that a complaint set forth the grounds of a plaintiff's entitlement to relief through more than labels, conclusions and formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint does not need to include detailed factual allegations, but “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. In other words, dismissal of a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper only where it is obvious that the plaintiff failed to set forth “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

         While the Tenth Circuit requires that pleadings filed by pro se litigants be held to a less stringent standard than that of a lawyer, this District has long insisted that pro se parties follow the same rules of civil procedure as any other litigant. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991) (internal citation omitted); Garrett v. Selby Connor Maddux & Janer, 425 F.3d 836, 840 (10th Cir. 2005). Nor are the courts to act as advocates for pro se parties. Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.

         III. Discussion

         A. Motion for Leave to File Surreply

         As an initial matter, Plaintiff asks this Court to grant him leave to file a surreply, which addresses arguments in ...


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