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Mora v. Owens

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

September 29, 2017

MATTHEW R. MORA, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 33). Being fully advised, I recommend that the Court grant summary judgment in favor of the Defendants.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts that he was subject to the following alleged constitutional violations arising under the Eighth Amendment: (1) Claim 1 -- sexual harassment; and (2) Claim 2 -- deprivation of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities.[1] See doc. 14. Plaintiff seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the named officers in their individual capacities. See Id. Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity and other grounds. See doc. 33. Because Plaintiff has not overcome the qualified immunity defense by establishing any constitutional violation committed by Defendants, I recommend granting Defendants' motion.

         II. Undisputed Facts

         Upon order of the Court, Defendants filed a report pursuant Martinez v. Aaron, 570 F.2d 317 (10th Cir. 1978) on July 10, 2017. See docs. 29, 32. Despite being provided an opportunity to do so (see doc. 31), Plaintiff has filed no conflicting evidence to controvert the facts set out in the report. In their motion for summary judgment, filed concurrently with the Martinez report, Defendants identify with particularity the facts from the report on which they rely. See doc. 33. Despite being provided an opportunity to do so, Plaintiff has filed no response to the motion. Consequently, he has not identified any facts proffered by Defendants which he disputes, let alone pointed to the record to support the dispute. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also D.N.M.LR-Civ. 56.1.

         Under these circumstances, Plaintiff has waived the right to respond or to controvert the facts asserted in the summary judgment motion. See Reed v. Bennett, 312 F.3d 1190, 1195 (10th Cir. 2002). Thus, I will “accept as true all material facts asserted and properly supported in the summary judgment motion.” Id.

         1. Plaintiff is a former detainee at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) who was detained there from April 7, 2013 until being released on bail on April 11, 2015. UMF 1.[2]

         2. On February 28, 2014, Plaintiff was being readied for transfer to Polk County, Texas along with other MDC detainees. UMF 2.

         3. At that time, some MDC detainees were being sent to other detention facilities that contracted with Bernalillo County to house detainees, including a prison facility in Polk County, Texas (hereinafter “Polk County”). UMF 3.

         4. Prior to being transported to Polk County on February 28, 2014, Plaintiff informed certain MDC officers, including Defendants, that he was going to hurt himself and Plaintiff subsequently missed the transport to Polk County. UMF 4.

         5. After Plaintiff reported he was going to hurt himself, he was taken to the Sheltered Housing Unit (SHU), where “appropriate services to meet the serious medical health care needs of inmates” are provided at MDC. UMF 5.

         6. Per MDC policy, “[a]ll inmates requiring Level I suicide watch will be placed on an HSU or SHU until released or advanced to level II or III status.” UMF 6.

         7. MDC policy provides that a detainee will remain on suicide watch Level I “until a physician or licensed clinical psychologist determines that the crisis has been resolved or that the inmate can be placed in a less restrictive crisis care status.” UMF 7.

         8. Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) of Correctional Healthcare Companies (CHC) is a company which contracts with Bernalillo County to provide medical/psychiatric services to MDC detainees. UMF 8.

         9. PSU interviewed Plaintiff and determined that he lied about wanting to hurt himself in order to avoid being transferred to Polk County. UMF 9.

         10. A Level I suicide watch detainee is defined within MDC policy as “an inmate with an immediate intent to harm themselves, as expressed verbally (by identifying a specific plan) or though physical actions, mental status or recent serious suicide attempts.” UMF 10.

         11. PSU provided an MDC-42 standard referral form that PSU deemed appropriate to share one-on-one with MDC officers, which informed the officers that Plaintiff was on suicide watch Level I. UMF 11.

         12. The MDC-42 form for Plaintiff stated that as a suicide watch level I detainee, Plaintiff was to be provided with a smock, and that if a smock was unavailable to allow him to use a blanket, but that he was not allowed ordinary clothing. UMF 12.

         13. MDC Policy HCA 12.49 (Suicide Prevention Program) provides that upon being deemed on suicide watch Level I, all bedding, clothing and personal property should be removed from the detainee and the crisis cell, and the detainee should be given a suicide smock or gown to wear. UMF 13.

         14. Plaintiff complied with Defendant Sergeant Griego's directive to remove his clothing in the crisis cell. UMF 14.

         15. Sergeant Griego did not make physical contact with Plaintiff related to the removal of Plaintiff's clothing. UMF 15.

         16. Plaintiff was housed with “infirmary” or PAC Unit from February 28 to March 5, 2014. UMF 16.

         17. Plaintiff was housed for at least part of the time between February 28 and March 5 with another ...

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