United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT
HORTON'S MOTION TO DISMISS
MATTER is before the Court under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the
Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Vincent Horton as Warden
of Guadalupe County Correctional Facility (Doc. 3). The Court
grants Defendant Horton's Motion to Dismiss and dismisses
all federal claims against Defendant Warden Horton for
failure to state a claim on which relief can be
Factual and Procedural Background
pro se prisoner civil rights case was filed in the State of
New Mexico, County of Guadalupe, Fourth Judicial District
Court, and removed to this Court by the Defendant, Warden
Vincent Horton, on September 11, 2018. (Doc. 1, 1-1).
Plaintiff Caouette states that his action “is a civil
action authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 1983” and that
“[t]he court also has supplemental jurisdiction over
plaintiff's state law claims under 28 U.S.C. Section
1367.” (Doc. 9 at 1). Defendant Horton filed a Motion
to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on September 17, 2018.
(Doc. 3). Defendant Horton seeks dismissal of the federal
claims against him on the grounds that the Complaint fails to
state a § 1983 claim upon which relief can be granted.
(Doc. 3). Plaintiff Caouette did not file a response to the
Motion to Dismiss but, instead, filed a Motion to Amend,
asking leave to amend his Complaint. (Doc. 6). Without
waiting for a ruling on his Motion to Amend, Plaintiff
Caouette filed his Amended Complaint on November 18, 2018.
Horton has responded that the allegations of the Amended
Complaint still do not state a § 1983 claim for relief
against Warden Horton. (Doc. 14).
Caouette's original Complaint identifies “Warden of
Guadalupe County Correctional Facility” and
“Warden Horton” as a Defendant in this case.
(Doc. 1-1 at 1, 2). Other than identification of Warden
Horton as a Defendant, there is no other allegation against
Warden Horton in the original Complaint. Plaintiff
Caouette's Amended Complaint expressly names “V.
Warden” as a Defendant. (Doc. 9 at 1). The Amended
“ III.) Defendants Defendant V. Horton is the
Warden of Guadalupe County Correctional Facility. He is
legally responsible for the operation of Guadalupe County
Correctional Facility and for the welfare of all inmates in
that prison. . ..”
(Doc. 9 at ¶ 4). The detailed “IV. Facts”
section of Plaintiff Caouette's Amended Complaint does
contain a single factual allegation regarding Warden Horton.
(Doc. 9 at 2-9). In “VI. Legal Claims, ”
Plaintiff Caouette claims Warden Horton “operate[s] a
prison facility (GCCF) severely understaffed leading to
fights among inmates and sexual abuse of the
Plaintiff.” (Doc. 9 at ¶ 68).
seeks to hold Warden Horton vicariously liable for the
failure of GCCF “to adequately train security staff to
follow procedure rules and laws applicable to protecting
inmates from each other . . . to collect or attempt to
collect any evidence such as bed sheets towels or any other
item that may have been evidence from Mr. Caouette's cell
. . . [and for violation of] due process laws and cruel and
unusual punishment by allowing the plaintiff to stay in the
facility after being notified of Mr Caouettes fears history
and charges.” (Doc. 9 at ¶¶ 69, 70, 72).
The Law Regarding Dismissal for Failure to State a
Horton has filed a Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The Court may dismiss a claim for failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Applying 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. Id.
Caouette is proceeding pro se. 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.
The Claims Against Warden Horton Fail to State a §
1983 is the exclusive vehicle for vindication of substantive
rights under the U.S. Constitution. See Baker v.
McCollan,443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979); Albright v.
Oliver,510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (Section 1983 creates
no substantive rights; rather it is the means through which a
plaintiff may seek redress for deprivations of rights
established in the ...