United States District Court, D. New Mexico
GARY J. MARTINEZ Plaintiff,
JASON C. BROWN, individually and in his official capacity with the Albuquerque Police Department; CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE, a municipal entity organized under the laws of the STATE OF NEW MEXICO, and its Subsidiary, the ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTINA ARMIJO Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment Requesting Dismissal of
Plaintiff's Claims Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act
(Counts IV, V, and VI) Against Defendant City of
Albuquerque, filed June 10, 2016. [Doc. 19] This Court,
has considered the Motions, the briefs, the relevant
law, and is otherwise fully informed. For the reasons that
follow, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows summary
judgment when the evidence submitted by the parties
establishes that no genuine issue of material fact exists and
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
An issue is “genuine” when the evidence before
the Court is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict in favor of the nonmovant as to that issue.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-52
(1986). A fact is “material” if under the
substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of
the claim. Id. at 248. Judgment is appropriate as a
matter of law if the nonmovant has failed to make an adequate
showing on an essential element of its case, as to which it
has the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Adler v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670-71 (10th Cir.
not the Court's role to weigh the evidence, assess the
credibility of witnesses, or make factual findings in ruling
on a motion for summary judgment. Daniels v. United
Parcel Serv., Inc., 701 F.3d 620, 627 (10th Cir. 2012).
Rather, the Court assumes the admissible evidence of the
nonmovant to be true, resolves all doubts against the movant,
construes all admissible evidence in the light most favorable
to the nonmovant, and draws all reasonable inferences in
favor of the nonmovant. Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S.
541, 551-52 (1999).
15, 2015, Plaintiff crashed his vehicle into the center
median at an intersection in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [Doc.
19 p. 2; Doc. 29 p. 1] Albuquerque Police (APD) Officer Jason
Brown, one of the Defendants in this matter, responded to the
scene of the crash and arrested Defendant for driving under
the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, a fourth
offense; careless driving; and driving with a suspended
license. [Doc. 19 ¶ 1; Doc. 19-1 p. 2-3] After he was
arrested, Plaintiff was given a breath alcohol test which
showed a negative result for alcohol. [Doc. 29 ¶ 4; Doc.
19-1 p. 3] Officer Matt Trahan then conducted a “drug
recognition investigation” to determine whether
Plaintiff was under the influence of drugs. [Doc. 19-1 p. 3,
13] Officer Trahan concluded that Plaintiff was under the
influence of a central nervous system stimulant that rendered
him unable to safely operate a vehicle. [Doc. 19-1 p. 3] A
blood technician drew a sample of Plaintiff's blood and
sent it to the Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD) for
testing. [Doc. 19-1 p. 3, 13]
Plaintiff was arrested, he had four or more prior convictions
for DWI, he was on probation, and his driver's license
was revoked. [Doc. 19-1 p. 3] The probation department issued
a “no bond hold” as a result of which, Plaintiff
remained in jail at the Metropolitan Detention Center. [Doc.
19-1 p. 3; Doc. 29 ¶ 5]
SLD tested Plaintiff's blood sample, no drugs were
detected. [Doc. 19-1 p. 13');">1 p. 13] Plaintiff was released from jail
on July 14, 2015. [Doc. 29 ¶ 5; 29-1 ¶ 8; Doc. 31
p. 5] And, on July 23, 2015, the district attorney nolle
prosequied the charges against Plaintiff on the ground
that his blood test results revealed that he was not under
the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his arrest.
September 21, 2015, Plaintiff sent a tort claims notice to
the Risk Management Division of the City of Albuquerque.
[Doc. 19 ¶ 2; Doc. 19-2] The notice advised the City
that Plaintiff intended to pursue a lawsuit arising from his
May 15, 2015, “false arrest.” [Doc. 19-2] In
March, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit. [Doc. 1-1
p. 1] Plaintiff's Complaint included the
following relevant claims: Count IV: Negligence by the City
of Albuquerque Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act; Count V:
Claim for Deprivation of Rights, Privileges and Immunities
Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act; and VI: Denial of Due
Process Under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act. [Doc. 1-1 p.
5-7] Each of these claims was premised on Officer Brown's
conduct in arresting Plaintiff. [Doc. 1-1 p. 5-8]
present Motion, Defendants seek dismissal of Counts
IV, V, and VI, on the ground that Plaintiff failed to give
the City written notice of his tort claims as required by
Section 41-4-16 of New Mexico Tort Claims Act (NMTCA).
Defendants Motion rests upon the following three
1. On May 15, 2015 Plaintiff was arrested by Defendant Jason
Brown . . . for Driving under the Influence of Intoxicating
Liquor or Drugs, Fourth Offense; Careless Driving; and
Driving While License Suspended.
2. On September 21, 2015, Plaintiff sent a tort claims notice
to the City of Albuquerque . . . Risk Management Department