United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Doc. 5. In the Motion,
Defendants' contend that (a) Officer Jayson Hoff is
entitled to qualified immunity because Plaintiff has not
stated a plausible claim that he violated any of her
constitutional rights; (b) Plaintiff's Section 1983
claims against Police Chief Chris McCall, Dorothy Apodaca,
and the Hobbs Police Department should be dismissed because
Plaintiff's claims against the City of Hobbs render these
claims redundant; (c) Plaintiff has not stated a viable
Monell claim against the City of Hobbs; (d)
Plaintiff failed to state viable state law claims against
Defendant Hoff; and (e) Plaintiff's state law claims
against the City of Hobbs, Hobbs Police Department, Police
Chief Chris McCall, and Dorothy Apodaca should be dismissed
because Plaintiff's claims sound in negligence and the
New Mexico Tort Claims Act does not waive immunity for
negligence. For the reasons stated below, the Court will
GRANT Defendants' Motion. However, because the Court will
grant Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint, the dismissal
of Plaintiff's claims will be without prejudice.
12(b)(6) allows for the dismissal of a complaint where the
plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “The court's
function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential
evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to
assess whether the plaintiff's complaint alone is legally
sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be
granted.” Tal v. Hogan, 453 F.3d 1244, 1252
(10th Cir. 2006) (internal citation omitted). In considering
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court will “assume
the truth of the plaintiff's well-pleaded factual
allegations and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v.
Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007).
Generally, a district court can consider outside materials
only by converting a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss to a motion
for summary judgment. Utah Gospel Mission v. Salt Lake
City Corp., 425 F.3d 1249, 1253 (10th Cir. 2005). But
conversion is unnecessary when the documents are referenced
in the complaint and their authenticity is unchallenged.
Id. at 1253-54.
complaint will survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion if it contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In determining
the plausibility of a claim, we look to the elements of the
particular cause of action, keeping in mind that the Rule
12(b)(6) standard [does not] require a plaintiff to set forth
a prima facie case for each element. The nature and
specificity of the allegations required to state a plausible
claim will vary based on context. But mere labels and
conclusions and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not suffice; a plaintiff must offer
specific factual allegations to support each claim.”
Safe Streets All. v. Hickenlooper, 859 F.3d 865, 878
(10th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). “Thus, a claim is facially plausible if the
plaintiff has pled factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
Court takes the following allegations from Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint as true for purposes of this
decision. On February 27, 2014, a woman now known to be
Devanne Archibeque was arrested by Arizona Department of
Public Safety Officer Douglas Redig for aggravated DUI while
traveling on Interstate 40 through Arizona.
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, Doc. 1-2,
P. 16. Archibeque did not have identification on her at the
time of her arrest and the vehicle she was driving was
registered to a different individual. Id. P. 18. At
the time of her arrest Archibeque had an active warrant for
her arrest signed by Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court
Judge Daniel Ramzcyk. Id. P. 17. Perhaps owing to
her active arrest warrant, Archibeque represented to Officer
Redig that her name was “Joy Morales” and
provided Plaintiff's correct date of birth. Id.
at 22. Upon investigation of the information provided,
Officer Redig determined that Joy Morales' driver's
license was suspended. Id. 23. Officer Redig
arrested Archibeque and transported her to the Yavapai County
Jail where she was fingerprinted and booked. Id. P.
24. However, no further identifying information was obtained
and charges were filed against Joy Morales. Id. P.
was released from jail two days later. Id. P. 25.
Although the charges against Joy Morales were initially
dismissed, they were refiled in April of 2015. Id.
P. 26. Plaintiff, obviously unaware of the charges, failed to
appear in court and a bench warrant (Arizona Warrant) was
issued for her arrest. P. 27.
was not the first time an arrest warrant had been issued in
Plaintiff's name for an offense allegedly committed by
another person. On February 10, 2014, Plaintiff reported to
law enforcement authorities in New Mexico that someone had
stolen her identity and apparently received a traffic
citation which led to a warrant in Plaintiff's name.
Id. P. 38. On July 7, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested
pursuant to that warrant. Id. P. 39. The alleged
traffic citation underlying the warrant had been issued in
approximately December 2013. Id. P. 39. Due to the
arrest, Plaintiff was fingerprinted and identified through
standard booking procedures. Id. P. 39. On August
14, 2014, the criminal complaint was dismissed by Bernalillo
County Metropolitan Court Judge Edward Benavidez because he
recognized that Plaintiff was not the individual initially
cited for the traffic violation. Id. P 40.
August 2015, Plaintiff was again arrested but this time based
on the Arizona Warrant. Id. P41. A fugitive
complaint was filed against her in Valencia County, New
Mexico. Id. In October 2015, however, Plaintiff was
released and Magistrate Judge Tina Garcia dismissed the
fugitive complaint due to the identity theft issue.
pertinent to the matter at hand, on November 20, 2015,
Plaintiff was pulled over by Officer Jayson Hoff of the Hobbs
Police Department for failing to come to a complete stop at a
stop sign. Id. P. 42. During a routine background
check, Officer Hoff discovered the still active Arizona
Warrant against Plaintiff. Id. P 43. Officer Hoff
accordingly arrested Plaintiff and transported her to the
Hobbs Detention Center. Id. Plaintiff protested the
arrest and notified Officer Hoff that her identity had been
stolen. Id. 44. Plaintiff further protested her
arrest while being booked into the Hobbs Detention Center.
Id. 46. Plaintiff requested that law enforcement
personnel compare the arrest records, including fingerprints
and booking photos, to verify her claims. Id. 46.
same day of Plaintiff's arrest, Officer Hoff swore a
fugitive complaint against Plaintiff. Id. 47. The
fugitive complaint was filed in Lea County Magistrate Court
on November 23, 2015. Id. 48. Plaintiff was also
arraigned on November 23, 2015 and denied that she was
subject to extradition pursuant to the Arizona Warrant.
Id. 49. At her arraignment, Plaintiff again
requested that authorities compare her records to verify her
claims of mistaken identity. Id. 49. The magistrate
judge instead remanded Plaintiff to the custody of the Lea
County Detention Center (LCDC). Id. 49.
at LCDC, Plaintiff was fingerprinted twice and these
fingerprints were sent to Arizona for verification.
Id. 50-51. Defendants, however, did not obtain
verification that the fingerprints of the person arrested in
Arizona matched Plaintiff. Id. 50-51. Throughout her
incarceration at LCDC, Plaintiff issued multiple Inmate
Request Forms requesting that LCDC investigate her claim of
mistaken identity. Id. 52-56. Plaintiff's family
also contacted authorities in Lea County concerning the issue
and included supporting documentation with their
correspondence. Id. 59.
December 8, 2015, Plaintiff was appointed a public defender
but did not have any contact with her public defender until
December 23, 2015, the date of the status conference in
regard to the fugitive complaint. Id. 57-58. At the
status conference, Plaintiff again raised the issue her
mistaken identity. Id. 61. Plaintiff alleges,
however, that she was pressured to accept extradition and
ultimately did so at the status conference. Id. 62.
On December 31, 2015, Plaintiff was transported to the
airport and transferred to Arizona. Id. 66.
January 7, 2016, a comparison of Plaintiff's booking
information and fingerprints were conducted, which verified
her complaints of misidentification. Id. 68.
Accordingly, the charges against Plaintiff were dismissed and
Plaintiff was released from custody that day. Id.
69. In total, Plaintiff was held in custody at the Hobbs
Detention Center and LCDC from November 20, 2015, through
December 31, 2015, a period of ...