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Armendariz v. Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

July 24, 2018

GABRIEL ARMENDARIZ, ERIC DION COLEMAN, JACOB GOMEZ, TONY LOVATO, MATTHEW J. LUCERO, EDWARD R. MANZANARES, JOE MARTINEZ, CHRISTOPHER MAVIS, PHILIP TALACHY, FELIPE J. TRUJILLO, and JOSEPH VIGIL, on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
v.
SANTA FE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, and MARK GALLEGOS, in his individual and official capacity, and INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL COATINGS, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Class Action Complaint, filed April 16, 2018 (Doc. 65). Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court finds that Plaintiffs' motion is well-taken and, therefore, is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This case is a putative class action arising from Defendants' renovation of the shower facilities at the Santa Fe Adult Correctional Facility (“ACF”) in 2014 when Plaintiffs and the class members were inmates at the facility. Plaintiffs allege that they were exposed to dust, debris, and hazardous chemicals, which caused them injury. This federal action is a continuation of a prior state court class action by Plaintiffs, No. D-101-CV-2016-00671 in the First Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico. The state court action was filed on March 11, 2016 by two of the named Plaintiffs in this case, Joe Martinez and Christopher Mavis, on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons. The state court action raised timely claims under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, NMSA 1978, §§41-4-1 et seq, and according to Plaintiffs, was brought within the two year limitations period set forth in NMSA 1978, § 41-4-15. See Doc. 63 at 1-5.

         The federal case was initiated on March 14, 2017 when Plaintiffs Mavis and Martinez joined with additional named Plaintiffs to file a Class Action Complaint for Damages Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). This federal action brought claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the County Defendants on behalf of the Plaintiffs and a class of similarly situated persons based on the same underlying facts as the state court action. After Plaintiffs filed the original complaint in the federal case, parties agreed to litigate the two cases together in this case in federal court to conserve resources of both the parties and the courts. See Doc. 63 at 1-5. As part of that agreement, Plaintiffs were granted leave to amend the complaint to add Industrial Commercial Coatings, LLC (“ICC”) as a Defendant and to include Plaintiffs' claims against ICC, Santa Fe County and Gallegos under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act and New Mexico common law. Following the filing of the amended complaint, Plaintiffs dismissed the state case without prejudice.

         The First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) states four causes of action:

(1) Deprivation of Civil Rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against County Defendants;
(2) Supervisory Liability under §1983 against County Defendants;
(3) Claims under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, NMSA 1978, ¶41-4-7 and §41-4-12 against County Defendants; and
(4) Claims against Defendant ICC under New Mexico Common Law.

Doc. 20 (Doc. 65-1).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs now seek leave to amend the complaint. They include both the FAC and the proposed complaint as Exhibits A and B to the motion, and ask to amend the complaint in the following four ways:

         1. Correct clerical issues:

a. Amend caption to add James M. Wheeler as a Plaintiff with additional identifying paragraph ...

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