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Leyba v. City of Santa FE

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 18, 2019

LYDIA LEYBA and LAWRENCE TRUJILLO, as co-personal representatives of the ESTATE OF ROBERT DOMINGUEZ, deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF SANTA FE, CHARLES A. LARAMIE, II, RAYMOND J. RAEL, BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF SANTA FE COUNTY, SANTA FE REGIONAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER BOARD OF DIRECTORS, ROBERT EGAN, JUDITH EGAN, LIVEWATCH SECURITY, LLC d/b/a SAFEMART, and DOES I-V, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JERRY H. RITTER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant LiveWatch Security, LLC d/b/a Safemart's (Defendant) Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on November 22, 2018 [Doc. 110]. Having thoroughly reviewed the parties' submissions and the relevant law, the Court finds that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment should be granted in part and denied in part.

         I.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[1]

         This case, and the claims at issue in the instant motion, arise from the fatal shooting of Robert Dominguez in the early morning on March 4, 2013. [Doc 1-3, ¶¶ 53-56, 127-135; Doc. 97]. Robert and Judith Eagan owned a home located at 512 Johnson Lane, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for which a security system had been installed. [Doc. 97, UMF 1; Doc. 115, p. 2, ¶ 1; Doc. 219, UMF 20; Doc 229, p. 2]. The Eagans contracted with LiveWatch for security system monitoring services. [Doc. 110, p. 7; Doc. 219, UMF 20; Doc 219, p. 3, ¶ 7; Doc 229, p. 2]. In turn, LiveWatch contracted with Security Monitoring Services, Inc., a Florida corporation, d/b/a CMS Monitoring Services (“CMS”), to provide monitoring services for the Eagans' security system. [Doc. 110, UMF 9; Doc 219, p. 3, ¶ 9].

         As part of the Eagan's monitoring agreement with LiveWatch, they were required to provide two contacts who could be reached prior to contacting law enforcement if the security system was activated. [Doc. 219, UMF 23; Doc 229, p. 2]. The Eagans identified Robert Dominguez as one of the contacts for purposes of the LiveWatch monitoring agreement. [Doc. 219, UMF 24; Doc 229, p. 2]. The Eagans paid Robert Dominguez to watch over the home when they were away, and on March 4, 2013 when the events giving rise to this matter took place, Mr. Dominguez had served as caretaker of the residence for approximately ten years. [Doc. 110, UMF 1; Doc 219, p. 2, ¶ 1].

         At approximately 3:20 a.m. on March 4, 2013, a CMS operator contacted Mr. Dominguez after receiving an alarm activation at the Eagan residence. [Doc. 97, UMF 2; Doc. 115, p. 2, ¶ 2; Doc. 219, UMF 1; Doc 229, p. 2]. The following exchange occurred between the CMS operator and Mr. Dominguez:

Mr. Dominguez: Hello?
Operator: Hi, this is the monitoring center calling on a recorded line. I am trying to reach Robert.
Mr. Dominguez: Yeah, what do you want?
Operator: We're calling sir, regarding the Eagan residence on Johnson Lane.
Mr. Dominguez: Yeah.
Operator: We just received a master bedroom burglary alarm activation reporting in.
Mr. Dominguez: Ok, I will be up there in a minute.
Operator: Ok, sir do you know if we need to dispatch the police?
Mr. Dominguez: I can't tell you. I've been asleep.
Operator: Ok, sir if you are not sure then we will continue our, our notification list and they're, they're on the list.
Mr. Dominguez: Yeah. I'll, I'll be up there.
Operator: Alright, thank you sir.

[Doc. 219, UMF 2; Doc 229, p. 2].

         After this exchange, the operator updated the CMS system to reflect that she had notified a contact person regarding the security system activation at the Eagan residence. [Doc. 219, UMF 4; Doc 229, p. 2]. The operator then notified the city dispatch center. [Doc. 219, UMF 6; Doc 229, p. 2]. When asked whether a responding party had been notified of the activation, the operator stated that they were “still attempting.” [Doc. 219, UMF 6; Doc 229, p. 2]. At approximately 3:36 a.m., a second CMS operator called the dispatch center regarding additional security system activations at the Eagan residence. [Doc. 219, UMF 9; Doc 229, p. 2]. The second CMS operator did not advise the dispatch center that a responding party (Mr. Dominguez) had been contacted regarding the first security system activation at the home. [Doc. 219, UMF 11; Doc 229, p. 2].

         Officer Charles Laramie of the Santa Fe Police Department was dispatched to the Eagan residence in response to the security system activation. [Doc. 97, UMF 1; Doc. 115, p. 2, ¶ 1]. Officer Laramie was not aware that Mr. Dominguez had been notified of the security system activation and could be present at the Eagan residence. [Doc. 97, UMF 3; Doc 115, p. 2, ¶ 3]. At approximately 3:37 a.m. Officer Laramie arrived at the Eagan residence and observed that the front door ...


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