United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON
THE PLEADINGS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND.
MATTER comes before the Court upon ten motions to dismiss
filed by Defendants on February 15 and 21, 2018
(Docs. 12-15, 19-21, 24-26), and one Motion
for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Defendant Northern New
Mexico College on February 28, 2018 (Doc.
32). Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and
the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants'
motions are well-taken in part and, therefore, are
GRANTED IN PART, but the Court will allow
Plaintiff to file an amended complaint. The motions are
otherwise DENIED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE, and may be reasserted, if
appropriate, after Plaintiff amends her complaint.
was an adjunct faculty member at Northern New Mexico College.
She alleges that she was retaliated against after she began
questioning alleged financial improprieties and misuse of
federal grant money, violating her First Amendment and Due
Process rights. She also alleges seven other claims against
Defendants, as they allegedly tried to stop her from
investigating and exposing these improprieties. The fifteen
defendants include Northern New Mexico College, the NNMC
Board of Regents, and employees thereof.
case was removed from the Second Judicial District,
Bernalillo County, New Mexico, on November 17, 2017.
Defendants filed motions to dismiss or for judgment on the
pleadings, asserting qualified immunity and statute of
limitations issues, and that Plaintiff failed to state a
claim as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
in part because of factual insufficiency.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move for
dismissal of a case for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Rule 8(a)(2), in turn, requires a
complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although a court must accept all
the complaint's factual allegations as true, the same is
not true of legal conclusions. See Id. Mere
“labels and conclusions” or “formulaic
recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of action”
will not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
“Thus, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court should
disregard all conclusory statements of law and consider
whether the remaining specific factual allegations, if
assumed to be true, plausibly suggest the defendant is
liable.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656
F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011).
I. Plaintiff Insufficiently Pled
alleges three constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983: First Amendment retaliation, Deprivation of
First Amendment Rights of Free Association, and violation of
her Due Process Rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. This
is in conjunction with seven other federal and state law
claims, set forth above.
1983 is the exclusive vehicle for vindication of substantive
rights under the U.S. Constitution. See Baker v.
McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979); Albright v.
Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (Section 1983 is the
means through which a plaintiff may seek redress for
deprivations of rights established in the Constitution). To
state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
assert acts by government officials acting under color of law
that result in a deprivation of rights secured by the United
States Constitution. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
must allege some personal involvement by an identified
official in the alleged constitutional violation to succeed
under § 1983. Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523 F.3d
1147, 1162 (10th Cir. 2008). In a Section 1983 action, it is
particularly important that a plaintiff's complaint
“make clear exactly who is alleged to have
done what to whom, to provide each individual with
fair notice as to the basis of the claim against him or
her.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242,
1249-50 (10th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original). As set out
below, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's complaint
fails to state a claim for relief under § 1983.
filed a complaint asserting ten claims against fifteen
defendants, but did not specify which claims are asserted
against which defendants. Thus, neither the Court nor the
Defendants are able to tell which claims are asserted against
which defendant. Because of these insufficiencies, Defendants
filed motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim, which in part contain brief
statements that Plaintiff failed to allege facts supporting
in response to the motions to dismiss, Plaintiff for the most
part failed to address which claims are alleged against the
specified defendant, leaving it unclear whether she admits
that she failed to state a claim on those counts. In any
event, it is ...