Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mohammad v. Albuquerque Police Department

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 4, 2017

KHALID MOHAMMAD Plaintiff,
v.
ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. BRACK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Albuquerque Police Department's (Non-Suable Entity) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with Prejudice and Memorandum to Support, filed on March 15, 2017. (Doc. 8.) Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant's motion. Jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a) and 1446(a). Having considered the submissions of the parties and relevant law, the Court will GRANT the motion as outlined below.

          I. Procedural and Factual Background

          Mr. Khalid Mohammad (Plaintiff) was arrested by an unidentified police officer with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) on January 10, 2015. (Doc. 1-A (Compl.) ¶ 5.) It is unclear from Plaintiff's Complaint why he was arrested. The officer seized Plaintiff's personal property, including a television, a shoulder bag that contained a personal computer, cash, a cell phone, and a pair of shoes, and a variety of legal documents. (Id. ¶ 6.) The officer booked Plaintiff into the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) on January 10, 2015. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff remained as an inmate at the MDC until his release on April 28, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 11.) Plaintiff alleges that he “exhausted ALL lower level remedies for relief requested in this Complaint.” (Id. ¶ 12.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he “filed a Citizens [sic] Complaint on May 1, 2015, pursuant to section 41-4-16 of the New Mexico Tort Claims Act[, ] . . . multiple complaints following the initial Citizens [sic] Complaint[, ]” and a second “Citizens [sic] Complaint on January 17, 2017.” (Id.) The APD did not respond to any of these complaints. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed a “Complaint Pursuant to § 41-13-1 through § 41-13-3 NMSA 1978” in the Second Judicial District Court, County of Bernalillo, State of New Mexico, on February 2, 2017. (See Compl.) Plaintiff brings claims against the APD pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, § 41-4-12. (Id. ¶ 14.) APD removed the Complaint to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a) and 1446(a) on March 8, 2017. (Doc. 1.) APD now moves to dismiss. (Doc. 8.) Plaintiff did not respond to APD's motion.

         II. Legal Standard

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court “must accept all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and must construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” In re Gold Res. Corp. Sec. Litig., 776 F.3d 1103, 1108 (10th Cir. 2015) (quotation omitted). “To survive a motion to dismiss, ” the complaint does not need to contain “detailed factual allegations, ” but it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Plausibility does not equate to probability, but there must be “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.)

         III. Analysis

         The APD moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims on several grounds. First, APD argues that Plaintiff may not bring claims against it under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because it is not a “person” within the meaning of that statute. (Doc. 8 at 3.) Second, APD argues Plaintiff may not bring claims against it pursuant to the NMTCA, because it is not a separate entity from the City of Albuquerque and thus is not a proper party. (Id. at 4.) Third, APD contends Plaintiff failed to provide appropriate written notice of his claims pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-4-16(A), and thus his claims are barred. (Id. at 5.) Finally, APD argues Plaintiff's claims pursuant to the NMTCA are time barred, because he did not bring his claims within two years of the date of loss as required by N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-4-15. (Id. at 6.)

         A. APD is not a person for purposes of claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         “The Tenth Circuit has stated that ‘police departments . . . are not suable entities under § 1983, because they lack legal [identities] apart from the municipality.'” Young v. City of Albuquerque, 77 F.Supp.3d 1154, 1186 (D.N.M. 2014) (quoting Ketchum v. Albuquerque Police Dep't, No. CIV 91-2200, 1992 WL 51481, at *2 (10th Cir. Mar. 12, 1992) (internal and subsequent citations omitted). “Accordingly, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico has consistently held that the APD is not a suable entity.” Id. (citing Costales v. Schultz, No. CIV 07-827 MV/ACT, Mem. Op. & Order ¶¶ 4-5, at *3 (D.N.M. Nov. 13, 2009) (Doc. 25); Maxwell v. City of Albuquerque Police Dep't, No. CIV 02-0568 LH/LFG, Mem. Op. & Order, at *2 (D.N.M. Dec. 30, 2002) (Doc. 24); Diaz v. Second Judicial Dist. Court, No. CIV 00-0700 JC/DJS, Mem. Op. & Order, at *8-9 (D.N.M. Aug. 1, 2001) (Doc. 75)). “Because the APD is merely a department of the City of Albuquerque, it is not a proper party and cannot be held liable for [Plaintiff's] § 1983 claims.” Id. Consequently, the Court will grant the Motion on this basis and dismiss Plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to § 1983 without prejudice.

         B. Plaintiff may not sue the APD as a separate entity.

         “The Police Department is an administrative department of the City of Albuquerque.” Maxwell, No. CIV 02-0568 LH/LFG, Mem. Op. & Order, at *2 (D.N.M. Dec. 30, 2002) (Doc. 24). “When a police department is an integral part of city government and merely the vehicle through which government fulfills its policing function, it may not be sued as a separate entity.” Id. (quoting Flores v. City of Albuquerque Police Dep't, CIV No. 92-046 LH/LFG, Mem. Op. & Order (D.N.M. May 28, 1993) (Doc. 67) (citing Martinez v. Winner, 771 F.2d 424 (10th Cir. 1985), vacated on other grounds, 800 F.2d 230 (10th Cir. 1985))). “Because the [APD] is merely a part of the Albuquerque city government, it lacks a legal identity apart from the City, and it is not a proper party.” Id. Accordingly, the Court will grant the Motion and dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims without prejudice.

         C. Plaintiff has not demonstrated that he gave appropriate written ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.