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.

Silva v. Board of County Commissioners for County of Roosevelt

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

September 26, 2017

TANYA SILVA, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF ROOSEVELT and the ROOSEVELT COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENTER; DAVID CASINOVA, Former Administrator of the ROOSEVELT COUNTY DETENTION CENTER for the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR ROOSEVELT COUNTY, in his individual and official capacities; DREW WHITE, a correctional officer employed by BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF ROOSEVELT at THE ROOSEVELT COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENTER, in his individual capacity; CAMERON RIDENOUR, correctional officer employed by BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF ROOSEVELT at THE ROOSEVELT COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENTER, in his individual capacity; DIVINE ALCANZO, correctional officer employed by BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF ROOSEVELT at THE ROOSEVELT COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENER, in his individual capacity; JANE-JOHN DOES 1-5 correctional Officer employed by BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE COUNTY OF ROOSEVELT at THE ROOSEVELT COUNTY ADULT DETENTION CENTER, in each of their individual capacities; and JANE-JOHN DOES 6-10, medical providers at RCADC, including both natural and corporate “persons”, in each of their individual capacities; Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          M. CHRISTINA ARMIJO, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Motion for Summary Judgment and for Qualified Immunity and Memorandum of Support filed January 5, 2017 [Doc. 58] and on Defendant Detention Center's Motion to Dismiss Count 1 of Plaintiff's Complaint filed January 5, 2017 [Doc. 60]. The Court has considered the parties' submissions, the relevant law, the record, and is otherwise fully advised in the premises. The Court finds that Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Motion for Summary Judgment and for Qualified Immunity and Memorandum of Support is well taken and shall be granted. The Court finds that Defendant Detention Center's Motion to Dismiss Count 1 of Plaintiff's Complaint is moot, and shall be denied as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         The events giving rise to this lawsuit occurred when Plaintiff Tanya Silva, a pretrial detainee at the Roosevelt County Adult Detention Center (the Detention Center), fell as she got out of the Detention Center's transport van. [Doc. 4 ¶¶ 3, 13, 30-31] Defendant Board of County Commissioners for the County of Roosevelt (the Board) operated and controlled the Detention Center and employed each of the named individual Defendants. [Doc. ¶¶ 4-5] Defendant David Casinova was the director of the Detention Center. [Doc. 4 ¶ 6] Defendants Drew White, Cameron Ridenour, and Divine Alcanzo were correctional officers. [Doc. 4 ¶¶ 7-9]

         The following facts are undisputed. On the day that she fell, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Detention Center as a pretrial detainee. [Doc. 58 ¶¶ 1-2; Doc. 63 ¶¶ 1-2] Plaintiff-who was scheduled for a bond hearing and four other inmates were transported in a van from the Detention Center to the Roosevelt County Municipal Courthouse by White and Ridenour. [Doc. 58 ¶ 4; Doc. 58-1 p. 2; Doc. 63 ¶ 4; Doc. 4 ¶¶ 14-15] Owing to the height of the van, there was approximately twelve inches between the floor of the van and the floor of the Detention Center's sally port. [Doc. 4 ¶ 21; Doc. 58-5 (video)] To assist detainees in getting into and out of the van, the Detention Center provided a step stool that the detainees used to step into and out of the van. [Doc. 4 ¶¶ 28-29; Doc. 58-5 (video)]

         Plaintiff never asked to be assisted in getting into or out of the van. [Doc. 58 ¶ 7; Doc. 58-2 ¶¶ 6-7; Doc. 63 ¶ 7] Unassisted, Plaintiff got into, out of, and back into the van without falling. [Doc. 58 ¶ 6; Doc. 58-2 ¶¶ 2-8; Doc. 63 ¶ 6] Having returned to the Detention center from the courthouse, Plaintiff fell off the stool as she was getting out of the van; the stool did not break or collapse. [Doc. 58 ¶ 8; Doc. 58-1 ¶ 7; Doc. 58-5 (video); Doc. 63 ¶ 8]

         After Plaintiff fell, White and Ridenour immediately helped her and asked whether she was “okay.” [Doc. 58 ¶ 9; Doc. 58-5 (video); Doc. 63 ¶ 9] Plaintiff had been hurt by the impact of the fall, but she felt embarrassed so she “kind of chuckled it off.” [Doc. 58 ¶ 10; Doc. 58-1 ¶ 7; Doc. 63 ¶ 10] Plaintiff told White and Ridenour that there “was something very wrong with her left leg or knee” and, unassisted, she made her way to the booking area. [Doc. 58 ¶¶ 11-12; Doc. 58-1; Doc. 58-5 (video); Doc. 63 ¶¶ 11-12] White, Ridenour, and Alcanzo each separately told Plaintiff that they would call for medical staff to evaluate Plaintiff. [Doc. 58 ¶¶ 13-15; Doc. 63 ¶¶ 13-15] Within an hour of falling, and before medical staff attended to her, Plaintiff bonded out of the Detention Center. [Doc. 58 ¶ 15; Doc. 58-2 ¶ 9; Doc. 63 ¶ 15]

         Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit. The Complaint is comprised of three claims: “Count I: Violation of Substantive Due Process” against all Defendants; “Count II: Violation of The Americans With Disabilities Act” (ADA) against all Defendants; and “Count III: Monell Claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Resulting in the Deprivation of Civil Rights Municipal Liability” against Casinova in his official capacity and the Board. [Doc. 4 p. 9-13]

         In Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Motion for Summary Judgment and for Qualified Immunity and Memorandum of Support, Defendants seek the following relief. Pertaining to Count I, as it relates to Casinova and the County, [1]Defendants seek judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the Complaint fails to state a claim. [Doc. 58 p. 3] Pertaining to Count II as it relates to White, Ridenour, Alconzo, and Casinova in his individual capacity, Defendants seek judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the ADA does not provide a cause of action against these individuals. [Doc. 58 p. 5-6]

         Further, in regard to Count I against White, Ridenour, Alcanzo, and Casinova in his individual capacity Defendants seek summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. [Doc. 58 p. 8-12] In regard to Count II against the municipal Defendants (the Board and Casinova in his official capacity), Defendants seek summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff cannot satisfy the evidentiary requirements of an ADA claim. [Doc. 58 p. 13-15] Finally, as to Count III, Defendants seek summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff did not suffer a deprivation of her constitutional rights, which circumstance precludes her claim of municipal liability. [Doc. 58 p. 15-16]

         In Part I of the Discussion, the Court addresses the foregoing. Although Defendants' Motion is organized by the type of relief sought-i.e., judgment on the pleadings versus summary judgment, the Court considers all arguments pertaining to each count of the Complaint in a count-by-count format.

         In Part II of the Discussion, the Court addresses Defendant Detention Center's Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Complaint. [Doc. 60].

         I. Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Motion for Summary Judgment and for Qualified Immunity and Memorandum of Support

         A. Standards of Review Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

         In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court applies the same standard that applies to a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Colony Ins. v. Burke, 698 F.3d 1222, 1228 (10th Cir. 2012).To withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient allegations of fact, taken as true, “to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In applying this test, the Court accepts as true “all plausible, non-conclusory, and non-speculative” facts alleged in the complaint. Shrader v. Al Biddinger, 633 F.3d 1235, 1243 (10th Cir. 2011). “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). Accordingly, in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and, by extension in considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, “a court should disregard all conclusory statements of law and consider whether the remaining specific factual allegations, if assumed to be true, plausibly suggest [that] the defendant is liable.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011).

         Motion for Summary Judgment

         Rule 56 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. “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] . . . which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant meets this burden, the nonmovant is required to put in the record facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). 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, 477 U.S. at 248-52. A fact is “material” if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Id. at 248.

         It is 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).

         B. Count I

         In Count I of the Complaint, Plaintiff claims that her Fourteenth Amendment right to substantive due process was violated when she was subjected to inhumane conditions of confinement and inadequate medical care. [Doc. 4 ¶¶ 49-58] Although Plaintiff's claim is brought pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment because she was a pre-trial detainee instead of a convicted prisoner, the Eighth Amendment provides the benchmark for analyzing the claim. Craig v. Eberly, 164 F.3d 490, 495 (10th Cir. 1998).

         The Law Governing an Eighth Amendment Claim

         Individual Defendants

         The Eighth Amendment “imposes duties on prison officials [to] provide humane conditions of confinement” and “take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). “[A] prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). “First, the deprivation alleged must be, objectively ‘sufficiently serious'” meaning that the “prison official's act or omission must result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's ...


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.