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Salazar v. San Juan County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

October 13, 2017

OLGA SALAZAR, Personal Representative of the Estate of JESUS MARQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER; SAN JUAN COUNTY; SAN JUAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER; THOMAS C. HAVEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF SJCDC; DR. ERIC KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY; CINDY KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY, and KATIE Unknown Surname, RN, Defendants, JESSE BERKEY; EARL CALLAHAN; LARIET CHARLES; GORDON DOUGLAS DERRICK; AARON EATON; CALVIN FINCH; PAUL GOULD; JOSEPH GUTIERREZ; MARK HINOJOS;THOMAS KNIGHT; AURELIO MARQUEZ; ANGELO MARTINEZ; MARK MARTINEZ; RUDY MARTINEZ; VICTORIA MARTINEZ; PAUL MATAMOROS; RICHARD MCDONALD; DEBBIE NEZ; DAVID PAGE; STEVE PARRISH; CLIFFORD ROGERS; ADAM SCHUESSLER; JASON TRUJILLO; FRANKLIN TSO; STEVE VALERIO; JIMMY WEAHKEE, and HARRY WILLIAMS, Plaintiffs,
v.
SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER; SAN JUAN COUNTY; CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE COMPANIES, INC.; SAN JUAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER; PRESBYTERIAN MEDICAL SERVICES; THOMAS C. HAVEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR, and SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, Defendants, CHARLES CARTER, Personal Representative of the Estate of WILLIAM “BILLY” CARTER, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER; SAN JUAN COUNTY; SAN JUAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER; THOMAS C. HAVEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF SJCDC; DR. ERIC KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY, and CINDY KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY, Defendants, COREY JONES, Personal Representative of the Estate of Sharon Jones, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER; SAN JUAN COUNTY; SAN JUAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER; THOMAS C. HAVEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF SJCDC; DR. ERIC KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY, and CINDY KETCHAM, INDIVIDUALLY, Defendants.

          Gregory M. Tucker Mitchel S. Burns Jennifer D. Yoder Christian A. Hatfield Tucker Burns Yoder & Hatfield Law Firm Farmington, New Mexico and John Holland Anna Holland Edwards Erica Grossman Holland, Holland Edwards & Grossman, P.C. Denver, Colorado Attorneys for the Plaintiffs

          Ronald Childress Elaine Dailey Urvashi Parkhani Childress Law Firm Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendants San Juan County Detention Center, San Juan County, and Thomas C. Havel

          Robert J. Curtis Ellen M. Kelly Robert Curtis Law Office P.A. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendants San Juan Regional Medical Center, Eric Ketcham, and Cindy Ketcham

          W. Ann Maggiore Butt Thornton & Baehr, P.C. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Katie Moore

          Alfred A. Park Kevin D. Fowler Lawrence M. Marcus Park & Associates L.L.C. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Correctional Healthcare Companies Inc.

          W. Mark Mowery Jessica R. Terrazas Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A. Santa Fe, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiffs Jesse Berkey, Aaron Eaton, Joseph Gutierrez, Aurelio Marquez, Rudy Martinez, Paul Matamoros, Clifford Rogers, Harry Williams and Calvin Finch's Motion for Remand to State Court, filed August 15, 2016 (Doc. 329)(“Motion”). The Court held a hearing on October 3, 2016. The primary issue issues are: (i) whether the Court should decline to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction and remand to the Eleventh Judicial District Court, County of San Juan, State of New Mexico, the remaining state-law claims of Plaintiffs Jesse Berkey, Aaron Eaton, Joseph Gutierrez, Aurelio Marquez, Rudy Martinez, Clifford Rogers, Harry Williams, and Calvin Finch (“Remaining Plaintiffs”) against Defendants San Juan Regional Medical Center, San Juan County, the San Juan County Detention Center, and Thomas C. Havel, as well as Plaintiff Jesse Berkey's remaining state claims against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services, in No. CIV 15-0439; and (ii) whether the Court should remand Plaintiff Paul Matamoros' claims with the rest of the case. The Court concludes that: (i) the remaining Plaintiffs' federal claims in Burkee, v. San Juan County Detention Center, , No. CIV 15-0439, have been dismissed and, therefore, the Court declines to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining Plaintiffs' remaining state-law claims; and (ii) the Court should remand Matamoros' claims with the rest of the case, even though he was not a named party until after the case was removed to federal court. Accordingly, the Court grants the Motion.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         This case arises from the Plaintiffs' incarcerations at the San Juan County Detention Center in San Juan County, New Mexico. See Burkee, v. San Juan County Detention Center, , No. CIV 15-00439, Second Amended Complaint ¶ 1, at 2, filed on July 8, 2015, (Doc. 27)(“Burkee Complaint”). Defendant San Juan County is the public entity responsible for Defendant San Juan County Detention Center. See Burkee Complaint ¶ 11, at 3. Defendant Thomas Havel is the San Juan County Detention Center Administrator. See Burkee Complaint ¶ 8, at 3 (collectively “The County Defendants”). Defendant San Juan Regional Medical Center (“San Juan Regional”) provides medical care to inmates at the San Juan Detention Center. Burkee Complaint ¶ 6, at 2.

         The Plaintiffs are individual residents of San Juan County who were and are incarcerated in the San Juan Detention Center between 2013 and the present. See Burkee Complaint ¶ 1, at 2. The Plaintiffs assert that they suffered various injuries while incarcerated at the San Juan Detention Center as a result of the County Defendants' violations of federal and New Mexico law. See Burkee Complaint ¶¶ 18-153, at 4-20.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The parties have litigated this case for two years. According to the Plaintiffs, the parties have stipulated to the dismissal of all of the Plaintiffs' federal claims. See Motion at 1; Plaintiffs Eaton, Gould, Hinojos, McDonald, Parrish and A. Martinez' Stipulation of Dismissal for Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. with prejudice at 2, filed September 11, 2015 (Doc. 38); Plaintiffs Finch, Gutierrez, Marquez, R. Martinez & Tso's Stipulation of Dismissal for Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. with Prejudice at 2, filed September 22, 2015 (Doc. 41); Plaintiffs Valerio and Nez' Stipulation of Dismissal for Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. without prejudice at 2, filed October 12, 2015 (Doc. 58); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Derrick's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 60); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff McDonald's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 61); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Derrick's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 62); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Nez's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 63); Stipulation of Voluntary Partial Dismissal of Plaintiff Knight's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 64); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Valerio's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 13, 2015 (Doc. 66); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Victoria Martinez's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed October 14, 2015 (Doc. 69); Stipulation of Dismissal With Prejudice of Claims by Plaintiffs Derrick, Eaton, Knight, Marquez, A. Martinez, V. Martinez, Matamoras, McDonald, Nez, Parrish, Valerio, Weahkee, & Williams Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 1, filed October 26, 2015 (Doc. 74); Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice of Claims by Plaintiffs Callahan, Finch, Gutierrez and Rogers Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 2, filed October 26, 2015 (Doc. 75); Stipulation of Partial Dismissal Without Prejudice of Claims by Plaintiff Berkey Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 2, filed October 26, 2015 (Doc. 76); Stipulation of Dismissal With Prejudice of Claims by Plaintiffs Gould, R. Martinez, Schuessler, and Tso Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 2, filed November 4, 2015 (Doc. 80); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Claims of Plaintiffs Nez and Weakhee Against San Juan County, San Juan County Detention Center and Thomas C. Havel at 2, filed November 12, 2015 (Doc. 89); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Claims of Plaintiffs Paul Gould, Rudy Martinez, Richard McDonald, Adam Schuessler, and Harry Williams Against San Juan County, San Juan County Detention Center and Thomas C. Havel at 2, filed November 16, 2015 (Doc. 95); Plaintiff Jimmy Weakhee's Stipulation of Dismissal For Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. Without Prejudice at 2, filed November 18, 2015 (Doc. 99); Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal of Plaintiff Weakhee's Claims Against SJRMC in Case No. 1:15-cv-00439 at 1, filed January 7, 2016 (Doc. 159); Stipulated Dismissal With Prejudice of All Federal Claims Against San Juan County, San Juan County Detention Center, and Thomas Havel in Burkey,, v. San Juan County Detention Center,, in Cause No. 1:15-cv-00439 JB/LF at 2, filed May 26, 2016 (Doc. 312); Stipulated Dismissal With Prejudice of All Federal Claims Against San Juan County, San Juan County Detention Center, and Thomas Havel in Berkey,, v. San Juan County Detention Center,, in Cause No. 1:15-cv-00439 JB/LF at 2, filed May 26, 2016 (Doc. 313); Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice of any Dental Claims by Plaintiffs Earl Callahan, Calvin Finch, Joseph Gutierrez and Clifford Douglas Rogers Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 1-2, filed June 6, 2016 (Doc. 318); Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice of the Claims of Plaintiffs Lariat Charles, Mark Ryan Hinojos, David Lee Page and Jason Trujillo Against Defendant Presbyterian Medical Services at 1, filed June 9, 2016 (Doc. 319); Stipulated Dismissal with Prejudice of the Claims of Thomas Knight, David Page, Earl Callahan, Adam Schuessler, Mark Hinojos, Steve Parrish, Paul Gould, Angelo Martinez, Mark Martinez, Franklin Tso, Jason Trujillo, Lariat Charles, Against Defendant San Juan Regional Medical Center at 1-2, filed August 3, 2016 (Doc. 325)(hereinafter collectively “Stipulated Dismissals”). The Plaintiffs now move to remand the case to state court.

         1. The Motion.

         The Plaintiffs argue that, because they have stipulated to the dismissal of all of their federal claims, the Court should remand the case to state court. See Motion at 1. The Plaintiffs indicate that they have agreed with San Juan Regional and with the County Defendants that the Plaintiffs “will not move for leave to amend their complaint and to re-allege their federal claims and that the dismissals entered by the Court shall be considered by the parties to be dismissal with prejudice.” Motion at 1. The Plaintiffs argue that “‘[t]he Tenth Circuit has held that district courts should presume to decline jurisdiction over state claims when federal claims no longer remain.'” Motion at 3 (quoting Young v. City of Albuquerque, 77 F.Supp.3d 1154, 1185 (D.N.M. 2014)(Browning, J.)). The Plaintiffs argue that their “federal claims have all been dismissed and the only remaining claims are state claims.” Motion at 4. They note that “quasi-related death cases that were combined for purposes of discovery were mediated in June and July of 2016, with one having settled. Those death cases continue to assert federal claims, whereas these remaining . . . plaintiffs do not assert similar federal claims.” Motion at 4.

         For these reasons, the Remaining Plaintiffs move the Court to remand their remaining state claims against San Juan Regional and the County Defendants, and Berkey's remaining state claims against Presbyterian Medical, to state court. They also note that Matamoros was not named as a plaintiff until after the case was removed to federal court. See Motion at 4-5. Accordingly, the Plaintiffs ask that, if the Court cannot remand Matamoros' claims to state court, the Court dismiss his claims without prejudice so that he may re-file them in state court. Motion at 5.

         2. The County Defendants' Response.

         The County Defendants respond to the Motion. See Response to Motion for Remand for State Court, filed August 25, 2016 (Doc. 338)(“Response 1”). The County Defendants ask the Court to “retain jurisdiction and dismiss the state law claims against the County Defendants with prejudice.” Response 1 at 1. The County Defendants argue that “district courts should seek to exercise supplemental jurisdiction in an effort to vindicate values of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.” Response 1 at 3 (quoting OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. v. San Juan Cty., 2013 WL 5934351, at *2 (D.N.M. 2013)(Browning, J.)). The County Defendants assert that “the exercise of jurisdiction is especially appropriate in cases where the parties have expended a great deal of time and energy on the state law claims.” Response 1 at 4 (citing Anglemyer v. Hamilton Cty. Hosp., 58 F.3d 533, 541 (10th Cir. 1995)). The County Defendants contend that, because they have litigated multiple state issues before the Court, the Court should retain jurisdiction. See Response 1 at 5. They add that “the state law claims do not raise any complex issues under state law.” Response 1 at 5.

         3. San Juan Regional's Response.

         San Juan Regional filed a separate response. See Defendant SJRMC's Response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand to State Court, filed August 30, 2016 (Doc. 339)(“Response 2”). San Juan Regional asserts that the “parties have not reached any agreement about a motion to amend Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint.” Response 2 at 1. San Juan Regional notes that the “Plaintiffs have not [filed] a motion to amend, even though Plaintiffs' planned amendment of their Second Amended Complaint has been one of the major themes of their case.” Response 2 at 2. San Juan Regional contends that the Plaintiffs' assertion that the parties “‘have agreed that Plaintiffs will not move for leave to amend their complaint to re-allege their federal claims and that the dismissal entered by the Court shall be considered by the parties to be dismissal with prejudice'” is not true. Response 2 at 3 (quoting Motion at 1). San Juan Regional argues that the parties “cannot agree on what language would make the dismissal permanent if this Court remands any portion of Berkey.” Response 2 at 3. “SJRMC cannot be assured that Plaintiffs will not be allowed to re-allege their federal claims in state or federal court, should they choose to try.” Response 2 at 3. San Juan Regional posits that “the Order of Dismissal of the federal claims against SJRMC is an interlocutory order that this Court can reconsider at any time.” Response 2 at 3. San Juan Regional also argues that, “[g]iven the Court's familiarity with the procedural history and facts of Berkey, remanding any portion of this case to the state courts, even if only the claims of Plaintiff Matamoros are remanded, would be unduly expensive, inconvenient and unfair to SJRMC.” Response 2 at 5.

         4. The Reply.

         The Plaintiffs reply to the Responses. See Reply to Defendant SJRMC's Response to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to State Court, filed September 9, 2016 (Doc. 352)(“Reply”). The Plaintiffs argue that “the dismissal of the federal claims against SJRMC with prejudice by Court order . . . and subsequent withdrawal of Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend Order of Dismissal of All Federal Claims Against San Juan Regional Medical Center . . . moots the issue of whether Plaintiffs will further move to amend.” Reply at 1 (citing Order Dismissing All Federal Claims Against Defendant San Juan Regional Center with Prejudice in 1:15-cv-00439 JB/LF, filed November 17, 2015 (Doc. 97)). They argue that “[t]he dismissal of the federal claims with prejudice is an order of the Court.” Reply at 1.

         The Plaintiffs contend that the only reason they have not stipulated not to amend their Complaint to re-allege federal claims is because “counsel could not agree on the language of the stipulated dismissal.” Reply at 2. The Plaintiffs assert that they “have repeatedly agreed to dismissal with prejudice as a final order.” Reply at 2. The Plaintiffs argue that “the only remaining question is not whether plaintiffs should further amend the complaint, but whether the state law claims should be remanded, which was the point of the Motion.” Reply at 2.

         5. The Hearing.

         The Court held a hearing on October 3, 2016. See Draft Transcript of Motion Proceeding (taken October 3, 2016)(“Tr.”).[2] The Plaintiffs began by saying “we've effectively now dismissed all federal claims against all of the defendants.” Tr. at 3:21-23 (Hatfield). The County Defendants noted that, “they never did file the motion to amend and of course that was one of our arguments that they should not be allowed to amend it at this time.” Tr. at 7:4-7 (Childress). The County Defendants continued: “[B]ut we don't think it would be proper to allow the plaintiffs to remand to state court and start this process all over again of attempting to bring the County Defendant[s] back in after they've missed the time limit to amend.” Tr. at 8:11-16 (Childress). The Court then asked the Plaintiffs: “[A]s far as Mr. Childress' clients, can you represent that you're not going to try to bring him back in with any sort of state or federal claims?” Tr. at 8:18-21 (Court). The Plaintiffs responded: “[W]e do not intend to do that.” Tr. at 8:22 (Hatfield). The Court asked the County Defendants: “I think you're pretty protected, don't you?” Tr. at 8:5-6 (Court). The County Defendants indicated that they were satisfied with that response. See Tr. at 8:7-8 (Childress).

         San Juan Regional then argued that the Plaintiffs have never made an effort “to disentangle the factual basis for the state claims that are in their complaint . . . from the federal constitutional claims against the hospital.” Tr. at 9:15-17, 10:18-19 (Kelly). San Juan Regional continued that it was concerned about the status of the federal claims against it. See Tr. at 13:6-10 (Kelly). Specifically, it noted that the Court issued an “order last year that the Plaintiffs had agreed to dismissing the federal claims against [San Juan Regional] with prejudice . . . so we now have an interlocutory order dismissing the claims . . . actually all the federal claims against the hospital with prejudice.” Tr. at 14:11-19 (Kelly). San Juan Regional continued that “it is very unclear what the status of that interlocutory order is if the remaining state claims get remanded. Because it's not a final judgment that the Court would be entering to remand.” Tr. 14:21-25 (Kelly). The Court then asked the Plaintiffs if they had “any intention of bringing federal claims if this case were remanded . . . against the San Juan Regional Medical Center.” Tr. at 15:22-24 (Court). The Plaintiffs responded: “No, Your Honor.” Tr. at 15:25 (Hatfield).

         The Plaintiffs added: “[W]hen we withdrew our objection to the dismissal with prejudice that the Court entered last year, I assumed that to be final, and that's the positon we've taken with Ms. Kelly.” Tr. at 15:1-5 (Hatfield).

         The Court then stated:

The federal claims are out. I think we've done our work, we've done a lot of other work, including on state claims . . . but there [is a] fair amount of work left to be done here, so I think we're at a point where it should go to state court. And so I am going to grant the motion for remand to state court . . . .

Tr. at 17:12-18 (Court).

         LAW REGARDING SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION

         The federal courts are “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005). Federal courts “possess only that power authorized by [the] Constitution and statute.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Among the powers that Congress has bestowed upon the courts is the power to hear controversies arising under federal law -- federal-question jurisdiction -- and controversies arising between citizens of different states -- diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-32. Section 1367 additionally grants the federal courts power to hear claims over which the court otherwise lacks original jurisdiction, if those claims are part of the same constitutional case as claims over which the court has original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

         1. Congressional Authority to Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction.

         Although a statutory basis is necessary for federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over a controversy, “it is well established -- in certain classes of cases -- that, once a court has original jurisdiction over some claims in the action, it may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over additional claims that are part of the same case or controversy.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. at 552. The Supreme Court of the United States has long subscribed to the concept of supplemental jurisdiction recognized in two common-law doctrines, pendent jurisdiction and ancillary jurisdiction; § 1367's passage codified those forms of jurisdiction, and additionally permitted courts to hear cases under pendent-party jurisdiction, [3]which the Supreme Court had previously disallowed in Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545 (1989). Federal courts may exercise pendent jurisdiction over state law claims when “state and federal claims . . . derive from a common nucleus of operative fact.” United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966). Supplemental jurisdiction gives federal courts the flexibility to hear a cause of action after the introduction of ...


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