United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MIKE S. OCHIENO, Plaintiff,
SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter comes before the Court upon Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, filed March 7, 2018. (Doc. 4). Pro se
Plaintiff did not file a response, but Defendant filed a
reply on April 4, 2018. (Doc. 10). Having reviewed both the
Motion to Dismiss and the reply, the Court grants the Motion
brings this employment discrimination lawsuit against his
employer, Defendant. When Plaintiff worked for Defendant, he
worked on Kirtland Air Force Base, a federal enclave. (Doc.
1-3) and (Doc. 1-4).
March 1, 2017, Plaintiff, through counsel, filed in state
court a “Notice of Appeal and Complaint for
Discrimination, Breach of Implied Contract, Intentional
Interference with Contractual Relations and Wrongful
Termination” (Complaint). (Doc. 1-1) at 4-7. In Count I
of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges a breach of an implied
employment contract based on Defendant's personnel
manual. In Count II, Plaintiff alleges race discrimination
under the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA). And, finally,
in Count III, Plaintiff alleges intentional interference with
contractual relations (IICR).
February 28, 2018, Defendant removed the lawsuit to federal
court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction arising
from the fact that Kirtland Air Force Base is a federal
enclave subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction. (Doc. 1)
March 7, 2018, Defendant filed this Motion to Dismiss under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. (Doc. 4). Defendant argues, first,
that the federal enclave doctrine bars Counts I, II, and III.
Second, Defendant argues that the IICR claim raised in Count
III also fails to state a claim under New Mexico law.
Standard of Review
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all well-pleaded allegations as true and must view
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 118 (1990); Swanson
v. Bixler, 750 F.2d 810, 813 (10th Cir.1984). Rule
12(b)(6) requires that a complaint set forth the grounds of a
plaintiff's entitlement to relief through more than
labels, conclusions and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim of relief.
Id. at 570. A claim is facially plausible if the
plaintiff pleads facts sufficient for the court to reasonably
infer that the defendant is liable for the alleged
misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Counts I, II, and III: Federal Enclave Doctrine
the federal enclave doctrine, “state law that is
adopted after the creation of the enclave generally does not
apply on the enclave.” Allison v. Boeing Laser
Tech. Servs., 689 F.3d 1234, 1235 (10th Cir. 2012). Only
state law existing at the time of the creation of the federal
enclave “remains enforceable.” Id. at
1237 (citation omitted). In this case, Kirtland Air Force
Base, where Plaintiff worked for Defendant, was established
in 1954 as a federal enclave. Id. at 1236.
respect to Count I, “New Mexico did not recognize an
implied contract for employment arising from an employment
manual until 1980.” Allison, 689 F.3d at 1243.
Because this type of breach of implied contract claim did not
exist prior to the creation of Kirtland Air Force as a
federal enclave in 1954, the breach of implied contract claim
in this case is not enforceable under the federal enclave
doctrine. As such, Count I does not state a plausible breach
of an implied contract claim.
Count II, the New Mexico legislature did not enact the NMHRA
until 1969. See NMSA 1978, §§ 28-1-1 to
28-1-14 (2012 Repl. Pamp.); Human Rights Comm'n of
New Mexico v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of New Mexico Coll. of
Nursing, 1981-NMSC-026, ¶ 9, 95 N.M. 576 (referring
to 1969 New Mexico Human Rights Act). As with breach of