United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ROBERT C. HUDSON, Plaintiff,
FNU CALVILLO, Nurse and Director of Medical, LCCF, FNU BRADSHAW, Nurse, LCCF, FNU HARVEY, Sergeant, LCCF, FNU MENDOZA, Lieutenant, LCCF, and ALBERT FUENTES, Defendants.
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
R. SWEAZEA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on two motions seeking
dismissal of inmate Robert Hudson's civil rights claims
arising from his confinement at the Lea County, New Mexico
Correctional Facility (“LCCF”). (Docs. 19 &
28). In both motions-one for summary judgment by Sergeant
Harvey, Lieutenant Mendoza, and Albert Fuentes; and the other
for dismissal by Nurses Bradshaw and Calvillo-Defendants urge
the Court to apply the doctrines of claim and issue
preclusion to prevent litigation in this forum. Defendants
claim Hudson already got his bite at the apple in state court
where he filed virtually the same case and lost on summary
judgment. Sergeant Harvey, Lieutenant Mendoza, and Officer
Fuentes alternatively assert they are entitled to judgment as
a matter of law because Hudson did not exhaust available
remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) and Section 33-2-11 of the New Mexico
Statutes. Pursuant to an order of reference from United
States District Judge Christina Armijo, see 28
U.S.C. § 636, the Court has considered the parties'
submissions and now RECOMMENDS that Sergeant
Harvey, Lieutenant Mendoza, and Officer Fuentes' motion
for summary judgment be GRANTED on the issue
of exhaustion and Nurses Bradshaw and Calvillo's motion
to dismiss be GRANTED as to Nurse Bradshaw
on the basis of claim preclusion and as to Nurse Calvillo on
the basis of issue preclusion.
February 20, 2016, Hudson complained of a heart attack and
asked Sergeant Harvey to take Hudson to
“medical.” (Doc. 1, Compl., p. 2). Sergeant
Harvey refused to help, call a nurse, or get superiors
involved because it was breakfast time. (Id., pp.
2-4). Later that day, Hudson says he suffered another heart
attack. (Id.). Although this time Hudson was taken
to “medical, ” neither Nurse Bradshaw nor Nurse
Calvillo, the on-duty healthcare providers, attended to him.
(Id., p. 4). In fact, Nurse Bradshaw, the
prison's medical director, instructed Mary Cox, a medical
officer, to place Hudson in a segregation cell.
(Id.) After four hours in the cell, Hudson began
kicking to be let out and return to the housing unit.
(Id.). By that time, however, correction-facility
staff were busy with dinner responsibilities and a shift
change. (Id.). Nurse Calvillo told Hudson that he
would have to sign a “medical refusal” to be let
out. (Id.). Hudson complied as his only other choice
was to sit in confinement. (Id.)
February 26, 2016, Lieutenant Mendoza and an
“unnamed” sergeant, later identified as Officer
Albert Fuentes, transported Hudson from Hobbs to Roswell, New
Mexico for a court hearing. (Id., p. 5). Once there,
Hudson complained of another “series of heart
attacks.” (Id., p. 3). Instead of getting
Hudson the necessary medical attention, Lieutenant Mendoza
and Officer Fuentes “kept pushing [Hudson] to go faster
with [his] walker while at court and to stop holding them up
that they wanted to get back to Hobbs ASAP to go home.”
(Id., p. 5). Only when Hudson protested for a third
time “then and only then did they get [Hudson] to a
hospital.” (Id.). Hudson ended up with a stint
and a further 45 days in “medical.”
(Id., p. 3)
time of the heart attacks, Hudson was incarcerated at the
LCCF, which had in place an inmate grievance procedure. (Doc.
28-2, Valeriano Aff., ¶¶2-3). The grievance process
includes three steps: first, the inmate must file an
“Inmate Informal Complaint, ” which as its title
suggests, requires the inmate to attempt to resolve an issue
informally. (Id., ¶3). Second, should informal
resolution fail, the inmate must file a formal “Inmate
Grievance.” (Id.). Third, if dissatisfied with
the disposition of the formal grievance, the inmate must
appeal to the Office of the Secretary of Corrections.
(Id.). Hudson submitted an informal grievance
against Sergeant Harvey, but did not complete the rest of the
steps. (Id., ¶¶5-7).
13, 2016, Hudson sued “Sgt. Harvey, Lt Mendoza, et al.,
Nurse Bradshaw, Nurse Calvillo, et al., and unnamed Transport
Sgt with Lt. Mendoza” in the Fifth Judicial District
Court for Lea County, New Mexico seeking damages under the
NMTCA for failure to render medical aid, delayed provision of
medical care, and willful neglect. (Doc. 19, Compl., p. 12).
In all material respects, the state-court complaint mirrors
the recitation of the underlying facts above-that Hudson
suffered several heart attacks and was either refused or
delayed care. (Id.). Hudson clarified, however, that
the delay in medical care cost him 20 percent of his heart
function. (Id.) Hudson's pleading seeks
compensatory and punitive damages against Sergeant Harvey in
the amount of $40, 000 and $10, 000 respectively; against
Lieutenant Mendoza and Officer Fuentes in the amount of $50,
000 and $10, 000 respectively; and against Nurses Bradshaw
and Calvillo in the amount of $120, 000 and $30, 000
same day he filed his complaint in state court, Hudson
commenced this federal action. (Doc. 1, Compl.). In his
three-count “prisoner civil rights complaint, ”
Hudson alleged Sergeant Harvey violated Hudson's Fifth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as the
Americans with Disabilities Act; acted with deliberate
indifference, negligently denied medical care, and
intentionally inflicted emotional distress (Count I); Nurses
Bradshaw and Calvillo falsely imprisoned Hudson, negligently
deprived him of medical care, intentionally inflicted
emotional distress, and violated his Fifth, Eighth,
Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as the ADA (Count II);
and Lieutenant Mendoza and Officer Fuentes intentionally
inflicted emotional distress, were deliberately indifferent,
negligently denied medical care, and violated the ADA and
Hudson's Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
(Id., pp. 1-6). Hudson's federal lawsuit seeks
$302, 000.00 in compensatory and punitive damages.
(Id., p. 6)
state case reached a disposition before its federal
counterpart. (Doc. 19, pp. 57-60). On January 5, 2017,
Sergeant Harvey and Lieutenant Mendoza moved for summary
judgment on all claims against them. They asserted: (1)
Hudson failed to exhaust administrative remedies against
them; (2) these Defendants did not provide medical care to
Hudson; (3) the undisputed facts fail to establish a claim
under the Eighth Amendment or a violation of the New Mexico
Constitution; and (4) these Defendants owed no contractual
duties to Hudson. (Doc. 19, pp. 28-43). On February 7, 2017,
Nurse Bradshaw joined in Sergeant Harvey and Lieutenant
Mendoza's motion and, independently, moved for judgment
as a matter of law on Hudson's failure to exhaust
administrative remedies against Nurse Bradshaw. (Doc. 19, pp.
17-27). Hudson did not respond to the motions for summary
April 5, 2017, the state court entered an “Order
Granting Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment.”
(Doc. 19, pp. 57-60). Although the order purported to dismiss
with prejudice all claims against all Defendants, the title
of order limits summary judgment to “Defendants Sgt.
Harvey, Lt. Mendoza Nurse Calvillo.” (Doc. 19, p.
57-58). The limitation is handwritten and appears to be
initialed by presiding state district judge Gary Clingman.
(Id., p. 57). Judge Clingman entered summary
judgment on several grounds: (1) Hudson did not exhaust
administrative remedies; (2) Sergeant Harvey and Lieutenant
Mendoza did not actually provide Hudson medical care; (3)
Hudson did not establish a violation of the New Mexico
Constitution or the Eighth Amendment or any other claim for
that matter; and (4) neither Sergeant Harvey nor Lieutenant
Mendoza owe Hudson a contractual duty. (Id., pp.
57-60). A separate judgment did not enter, and there is no
record that “transportation sergeant” was
identified and severed or Nurse Calvillo was served with the
state lawsuit. (Id.).
in the federal action, the Court screened Hudson's
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2). In a
memorandum opinion and order, Judge Armijo dismissed sua
sponte Hudson's causes of action under the ADA, and
for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false
imprisonment. (Doc. 9) The Court, however, allowed
Hudson's claims for deliberate indifference under the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment and negligent denial of
medical care under state law to proceed. (Id.). The
Court directed Hudson to identify and the transportation
sergeant within a reasonable period of time and file a
supplement informing the Court of the sergeant's
identity. (Id.). Hudson ultimately identified
Officer Fuentes as the transportation sergeant, and the Court
substituted the defendant accordingly. (Docs 11, 12, 13).
Defendants' dispositive motions followed. (Docs. 19 &