United States District Court, D. New Mexico
DAVID A. SPENCER, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW MEXICO, ET AL., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTINA ARMIJO CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Thomas
Hynes' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for a More
Definite and Certain Statement, Doc. 17, filed April 21, 2017
(Hynes' Motion to Dismiss”). For the reasons stated
below, the Court will GRANT Defendant
Hynes' Motion to Dismiss.
Hynes asks the Court to either dismiss the Amended Complaint
against him or, in the alternative, to require Plaintiff to
produce a more definite and certain statement. Doc. 17 at 1.
Defendant Hynes is mentioned by name in only four of the 183
paragraphs of the Amended Complaint. Those paragraphs state:
6. Defendant Thomas Hynes is an Inactive Attorney admitted by
the N.M. Supreme Court to practice is a Citizen of the United
States and is a resident of the State of New Mexico.
123. Defendant Attorney Thomas Hynes acting as an Attorney
and Personal Representative of the Clark Spencer Estate
conspired with Defendants Murphy, Tedrow, O'Brien,
Sheriff's Office employees, as well as other Defendants
to deprive the Plaintiff of his freedom by falsely accusing
him of crimes that they knew or should have known was false
with the intent to obtain his property for their own benefit.
124. Defendant Hynes either was a willing participant in this
unlawful, malicious, and outrageous conduct or alternatively
lacks the mental capacity to know what Defendant Murphy was
having him due [sic] in his name with the knowledge and
approval of the other Defendants.
125. Information and belief is that Judge Hynes was removed
from the bench for lack of mental capacity and all the
Defendant knew or should have known of these facts, Further
Judge Hynes is an inactive member of the N.M. Bar.
Amended Complaint at 2, 18. Other paragraphs refer only to
“the Defendants” without specifying which of the
more than one dozen Defendants the paragraphs are referring
to. Defendant Hynes asserts that “it is impossible to
address the many allegations and Plaintiff's very general
statements that refer to ‘all Defendants, ” and
that those allegations are confusing. See Mem. in
Support at 2, Doc. 18.
Amended Complaint fails to state a claim against Defendant
Hynes. The four paragraphs quoted above which specifically
refer to Defendant Hynes do not state a claim for conspiracy.
See Brooks v. Gaenzle, 614 F.3d 1213, 1227-28 (10th
Cir. 2010) (“while we have said allegations of a
conspiracy may form the basis of a § 1983 claim, we have
also held ‘a plaintiff must allege specific facts
showing an agreement and concerted action amongst the
defendants' because ‘[c]onclusory allegations of
conspiracy are insufficient to state a valid § 1983
claim.'”). The rest of the paragraphs do not state
a claim against Defendant Hynes because they do not refer to
Defendant Hynes by name, are vague because they only refer to
“the Defendants, ” and in many cases are
conclusory. See Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents,
at Arapahoe County Justice Center, 492 F.3d
1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007) (“[T]o state a claim in
federal court, a complaint must explain what each defendant
did to him or her; when the defendant did it; how the
defendant's action harmed him or her; and, what specific
legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant
violated.”); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1110 (10th Cir. 1991) (“conclusory allegations without
supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a
claim on which relief can be based . . . [and] in analyzing
the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint, the court
need accept as true only the plaintiff's well-pleaded
factual contentions, not his conclusory allegations”).
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint fails to state with any
particularity what Defendant Hynes did to Plaintiff, when
Defendant Hynes committed the alleged unspecified actions, or
how those actions harmed Plaintiff.
Court will dismiss the claims against Defendant Hynes for
failure to state a claim rather than order Plaintiff to amend
his Amended Complaint to provide a more definite statement.
When it granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint,
the Court notified Plaintiff that it was impossible for
opposing parties to reasonably prepare a response to his
original Complaint because it was vague and ambiguous, and
because some of the allegations were conclusory and did not
identify the specific Defendants Plaintiff was referring to.
See Mem. Op. and Order at 3, Doc. 7. The Court also
notified Plaintiff that he must comply with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8 which requires that a complaint set out a
short, plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitled to relief, and that each allegation must be
simple, concise, and direct. See Doc. 7 at 2.
Plaintiff had an opportunity to amend his original Complaint
to state a claim against Defendant Hynes, but despite the
Court's notification of the original Complaint's
deficiencies, Plaintiff failed to state a claim against
Defendant Hynes in his Amended Complaint. Furthermore,
Defendant Hynes' motion provided notice to Plaintiff that
Defendant Hynes sought either dismissal of the claims against
Defendant Hynes or that Plaintiff amend his Amended Complaint
to provide a more definite statement. Plaintiff did not file
a response opposing Defendant Hynes motion and did not seek
leave to amend his Amended Complaint. See
D.N.M.LR-Civ. 7.1(b) (“The failure of a party to file
and serve a response in opposition to a motion within the
time prescribed for doing so constitutes consent to grant the
motion”); Hochendoner v. Genzyme Corp., 823
F.3d 724, 735-736 (1st Cir. 2016) (absent “exceptional
circumstances, a district court is under no obligation to
offer a party leave to amend when such leave has not been
requested by motion”).
IS ORDERED that Defendant Thomas Hynes' Motion
to Dismiss or in the Alternative for a More Definite and
Certain Statement, Doc. 17, filed April 21, 2017, is
GRANTED; the claims in the Amended Complaint