United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL RIGHTS
the Court is Carlos Aragon's civil rights complaint and
motion to appoint counsel (Docs. 1, 7, 12). Plaintiff is
incarcerated, appears pro se, and is proceeding
in forma pauperis. For the reasons set out below,
the Court will dismiss the complaint without prejudice, grant
Plaintiff leave to amend, and deny any additional relief.
Governing Sua Sponte Review
Court has discretion to dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint sua sponte under § 1915(e)(2)
“at any time if … the action … is
frivolous or malicious; [or] fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.” The Court may also dismiss a
complaint sua sponte under Rule 12(b)(6) if
“it is patently obvious that the plaintiff could not
prevail on the facts alleged, and allowing [plaintiff] an
opportunity to amend [the] complaint would be futile.”
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.
1991) (quotations omitted). The plaintiff must frame a
complaint that contains “sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 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. “Threadbare
recitals” of a cause of action and conclusory
allegations, without more, do not suffice. Id.
Plaintiff is pro se, his “pleadings are to be
construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. If the court can
“reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim
on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so despite
the plaintiff's failure to cite proper legal authority,
… confusion of various legal theories, … poor
syntax and sentence construction, or … unfamiliarity
with pleading requirements.” Id. At the same
time, however, it is not “the proper function of the
district court to assume the role of advocate for the pro
se litigant.” Id.
asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments, and state tort law against his case
manager and other prison officials for abuse, conspiracy, and
deliberate indifference to his medical needs. The Court
assumes the following facts taken from Plaintiff's
pleadings (Docs. 1, 7) are true.
2013, Plaintiff was an inmate at the Central New Mexico
Correctional Facility (“CNMCF”). See
Doc. 7, p. 2. Around January or February of that year, he was
assigned to a new case manager, Christine Salazar.
Id. For the next ten months, she told other inmates
Plaintiff was a sex offender and allowed them access to his
confidential files. Id.
December 20, 2013, Captain Deberry and Lieutenant Aragon took
Plaintiff to the “strip cage” for his protection.
Id. at p. 3. As he walked to the cage, Plaintiff
noticed Sergeant Chavira was also nearby. Id.
Plaintiff recalls entering the cage, but he cannot remember
anything else. Id. He woke up on the floor in a pool
of blood. Id. He believes he was struck on his
forehead with an object. Captain Deberry, Lieutenant Aragon,
and Sergeant Chavira were the only staff members in the area
when he regained consciousness. See Doc. 7 p. 3.
Plaintiff's original complaint states the perpetrators
have not been identified, but in a later filing he states the
three officers attacked him. Compare Doc. 1, p. 13
and Doc. 7, p. 4. Plaintiff believes Case Manager Salazar
solicited inmates or coworkers to “silence [him]”
and harm him in retaliation for some type of investigation,
but the details are unclear. See Doc. 1, p. 13.
the incident, CNMCF officials escorted Plaintiff to the
medical unit, where he received several stitches.
See Doc. 7, p. 3. He was then transferred to the
Western New Mexico Correctional Facility
(“WNMCF”). Id. As a result of the
attack, Plaintiff is permanently disfigured and experiences
memory problems, paranoia, depression, anxiety, nightmares,
and post-traumatic stress disorder. See Doc. 7, p.
4. He alleges medical staff at CNMCF and WNMCF refused to
order a CAT scan or otherwise treat his mental and physical
injuries. Id.; Doc. 1, p. 19-20.
2014 or 2015, Case Manager Salazar and several other prison
officials intervened in Plaintiff's parole process.
See Doc. 1, p. 14. He was consequently released to a
halfway house instead of his family home, as he requested.
Id. Plaintiff failed to comply with the terms of his
parole. Id. He asserts the failure is attributable
to Case Manager Salazar's interference. Id.
initially sued 26 defendants based on the above occurrences.
See Doc. 1. He later amended the complaint to
proceed against Case Manager Salazar, Corizon Health Care,
Captain Deberry, Lieutenant Aragon, Sergeant Chavira, and
“John Doe 1-100.” See Doc. 7, p. 1.
seeks at least $2, 400, 000 in damages, a declaratory
judgment that Defendants violated the Constitution, and a
permanent injunction requiring Defendants to pay for his
medical costs. See Doc. 7, p. 6-7.
Plaintiff's case manager exposed him as a sex offender
and prison guards attacked him as a result, his claims
against those individuals may survive initial review under
§ 1915(e). See, e.g., Northington v. Jackson,973 F.2d 1518, 1525 (10th Cir. 1992) (Guard who told other
inmates the plaintiff was a “snitch” demonstrated
a “wanton disregard for the inmate's
safety”); Leary v. Livingston County Jail, 528
F.3d 438, 442 (7th Cir. 2008) (Plaintiff potentially had a
constitutional claim against the guard who told ...