United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND FINAL ORDER OF
MATTER is before the Court on the Motion to Amend 42 U.S.C.
1983 and Motion for Appointment of Counsel filed by Plaintiff
Star Joseph (Doc. 14). The Court denies the Motion and (1)
dismisses this case for failure of Plaintiff Joseph to comply
with a Court order, (2) dismisses all federal claims with
prejudice for failure of the Complaint to state a federal
claim for relief, and (3) declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction and dismisses all state-law claims without
Star Joseph filed his Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights
on November 6, 2017. (Doc. 1). On June 21, 2018, the Court
entered its Memorandum Opinion and Order. (Doc. 13). The
Memorandum Opinion and Order: (1) dismissed Plaintiff's
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to state a
claim on which relief can be granted; (2) declined to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state
law negligence claims; and (3) granted Plaintiff leave to
file an amended complaint within 30 days after entry of the
Memorandum Opinion and Order. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff did not
file an amended complaint as ordered by the Court but,
instead, filed the Motion to Amend 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Motion
for Appointment of Counsel. (Doc. 14) (“Motion to
Motion to Amend filed by Plaintiff Joseph asks this Court to
conduct an investigation on Plaintiff's behalf and to
appoint counsel to allow him to properly formulate negligence
claims against Defendants. (Doc. 14 at 2-7). The Motion to
Amend makes clear that the claims Joseph seeks to pursue are
state law negligence claims, not federal civil rights claims.
The Motion to Amend states:
“This Plaintiff truly believes that MTC Corporation is
liable for all Pain and Duress that this plaintiff indured
and suffered behind the incident on August 24th
2017, all behind negligence of
O.C.P.F. staff . . .
the acts of negligence by the
O.C.P.F. officers on August 24th2017 at O.C.P.F. .
this ‘Liability Claim' against, certain staff
members of MTC Corporation (O.C.P.F.) who was deemed
‘directly responsible', and ‘certainly
liable' by this plaintiff, either directly and indirectly
toward acts of negligence toward
this plaintiff (Star Joseph) safety on August 24th
2017. . .
In order for this plaintiff to properly identify those
responsible for the negligence
involving acts toward this plaintiffs safety, and to
investigate the circumstances leading up to the claims of
negligence surrounding this
plaintiff's injuries . . .
the names of those liable for being
negligent. . . .
the actions of MTC Corporation's staff and the
negligence of the staffs actions on
August 24, 2017 . . .”
Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order directed Plaintiff
Joseph to file an amended complaint alleging proper federal
claims for relief within thirty days if he wished to pursue
federal civil rights claims in this Court. (Doc. 13 at 7).
Plaintiff Joseph did not file an amended complaint as ordered
by the Court. The Court may dismiss an action under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) for failure to prosecute, to comply with
the rules of civil procedure, or to comply with court orders.
See Olsen v. Mapes, 333 F.3d 1199, 1204, n. 3
(10th Cir. 2003); Rogers v. Andrus Transp.
Servs., 502 F.3d 1147, 1151 (10th Cir. 2007). As its
first ground for dismissal, the Court will dismiss this case
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) for failure to comply with the
Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order.
the Court were to construe the Motion to Amend as an amended
complaint, it still does not state a § 1983 claim for
relief. To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §
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).
There must be a connection between official conduct and
violation of a constitutional right. Conduct that is not
connected to a constitutional violation is not actionable
under Section 1983. See Trask v. Franco, 446 F.3d
1036, 1046 (10th Cir. 2006). The Motion to Amend
does not factually identify any conduct by prison officials
that allegedly violated a constitutional right. Instead,
Plaintiff Joseph repeatedly emphasizes that he seeks to hold
Defendants liable for negligent conduct. (Doc. 14 at 3-5). As
its second ground for dismissal, the Court will dismiss all
federal claims, with prejudice for failure to state a §
1983 claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 676 (2009).
in both his original Complaint and in the Motion to Amend,
Plaintiff Joseph clearly expresses an intent to hold
Defendants liable for acts of negligence. (Doc. 1 at 4; Doc.
14 at 3-5). Negligence is a tort cause of action that arises
under New Mexico state law. See U.J.I. 13-601,
13-603, 13-604 NMRA. As the Court has already advised
Plaintiff, this Court's subject-matter jurisdiction over
state-law claims exists only within the Court's
supplemental jurisdiction granted by 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
The Court has discretion to decide whether to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction after dismissing all claims over
which it has original jurisdiction. See §
1367(c). See, also, Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S. 225,
245 (2007); Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S.
500, 514 (2006).
Supreme Court has admonished the lower federal courts that
needless decisions of state law should be avoided both as a
matter of comity and to promote justice between the parties,
by procuring for them a surer-footed reading of applicable
law. United Mine Workers of Amer. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S.
715, 726 (1966). When all federal claims have been dismissed
the Court usually should decline to exercise jurisdiction
over any remaining state claims. Koch v. City of Del
City, 660 F.3d 1228, 1248 (10th Cir.2011); Smith v.
City of Enid ex rel. Enid City Comm'n, 149 F.3d
1151, 1156 (10th Cir.1998); Young v. City of Albuquerque,
77 F.Supp.3d 1154, 1185 (D.N.M. 2014). The Court has
dismissed all of Plaintiff s claims within the Court's
original jurisdiction. The Court has also declined, and
continues to decline, to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.
As its third basis for dismissal, the Court also dismisses
Plaintiffs state-law claims under § 1367(c), without
prejudice to filing by Plaintiff of a state-law negligence
action in New Mexico state court.