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Arreola v. Smith

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

October 25, 2018

DANIEL ANGEL ARREOLA, Plaintiff,
v.
R.C. SMITH AS GEO CORPORATION, J.W. BEAIRD, RUSSLE, GOMEZ, SUSANA MARTINEZ AS NMDOC, UNKNOWN OFFICERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER is before the Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B) on the Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights filed by Plaintiff Daniel Angel Arreola on April 3, 2017. (Doc. 1). The Court dismisses the Complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, but will permit Arreola the opportunity to file an amended complaint.

         Plaintiff Arreola is incarcerated at Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility. (Doc. 2 at 1). He is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Arreola filed his Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on April 3, 2017. Although currently incarcerated at Northeast New Mexico Detention Facility, his claims appear to relate to an unidentified prison facility in Hobbs. (Doc. 1 at 1-3).[1] Arreola names six Defendants and alleges:

“Defendant R.C. Smith is a citizen of Hobbs New Mexico, and is employed as Warden. . . R.C. Smith as warden is to oversee all well being of inmates in his custody from NMDOC, even after being notified of mistreatment he failed to fix it, which in turn led to further abuse by prison officials.”
“Defendant J.W. Beaird is a citizen of Hobbs New Mexico, and is employed as warden of security. . .As security warden he oversees placement of inmates as well as to mail. He knowingly altered and with-held mail sent to facility, as well as failed to protect me from cruel and unusual punishment while in custody . . .
Defendant Russle is a citizen of Hobbs New Mexico, and is employed as corrections officer . . .As officer its his duty to protect inmates from all forms of abuse. He instead took advantage of his position of power and brought forth forms of both mental and sexual abuse himself. . .
Defendant Gomez is a citizen of Hobbs New Mexico, and is employed as grievance officer . . .As grievance officer its her duty to have and or maintain all informal complaints and grievances filed at facility. Some of the complaints I have filed have yet been returned and some held up to a month before received back. I've requested copies of past complaints to her facility on several occasions with no response from her at all. . .
Defendant Susana Martinez is a citizen of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is employed as Governor of State. . . As Governor of State and head of prison operations in New Mexico, its her duty to put in place training for employees and policies to insure the well being and safety of inmates in NMDOC custody is a priority. Lack of employee training led to abuse by prison officials. There for duties failed by our head of state and all under her as well failed given duties. . .
Defendant Unknown Officers are citizen of Hobbs, New Mexico, and are employed as STIU officers. . . as officers they are to protect from all forms of abuse. They failed such when they themselves made sexual comments towards me and brought forth the abuse. They failed their given duties as officers.”

(Doc. 1 at 1-3).

         1. Standards for Failure to State a Claim

         Plaintiff Arreola is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis on civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has the discretion to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint sua sponte for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under either Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) the Court must accept all well-pled factual allegations, but not conclusory, unsupported allegations, and may not consider matters outside the pleading. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 1989). The court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim if “it is ‘patently obvious' that the plaintiff could not prevail on the facts alleged.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991) (quoting McKinney v. Oklahoma Dep't of Human Services, 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991)). A plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim should be dismissed where it is legally or factually insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         Under § 1915(e)(2)(B) the Court may dismiss the complaint at any time if the Court determines the action fails to state a claim for relief or is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 915(e)(2)(B)(2). The authority granted by § 1915 permits the court the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). See also Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1109. The authority to “pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations” means that a court is not bound, as it usually is when making a determination based solely on the pleadings, to accept without question the truth of the plaintiff's allegations. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). The Court is not required to accept the truth of the plaintiff's allegations but, instead, may go beyond the pleadings and consider any other materials filed by the parties, as well as court proceedings subject to judicial notice. Denton, 504 U.S. at 32-33.

         In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court liberally construes the factual allegations. See Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th Cir. 1992). However, a pro se plaintiff's pleadings are judged by the same legal standards that apply to all litigants and a pro se plaintiff must abide by the applicable rules of court. Ogden v. San Juan County, 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir. 1994). The Court is not obligated to craft legal theories for the plaintiff or to supply factual allegations to support the plaintiff's claims. Nor may the Court assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1110.

         In deciding whether to dismiss the complaint, in whole or in part, the Court is to consider whether to allow plaintiff an opportunity to amend the complaint. Pro se plaintiffs should be given a reasonable opportunity to remedy defects in their pleadings. Reynoldson v. Shillinger,907 F.2d 124, 126 (10th Cir. 1990). The opportunity to amend should be granted unless amendment would be futile. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1109. An amendment is futile if the amended claims would also be subject to ...


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