United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Herrera United States District Court Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants'
Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings
(“Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings”) (ECF No.
43), filed August 3, 2018. The Court, having considered the
motion, the briefs, the complaint, the record, and the
relevant law, concludes that the motion should be granted.
considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court
should accept as true and construe in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party all facts pleaded in the
complaint. Aspenwood Investment Co. v. Martinez, 355
F.3d 1256, 1259 (10th Cir. 2004).
August 3, 2014, at around 2:00 a.m., in Clovis, New Mexico,
Defendant Officer Brent Aguilar (“Defendant
Aguilar”), a police officer with the Clovis Police
Department, stopped a vehicle suspected of running a red
light and exceeding the speed limit. First Am. Compl.
¶¶ 3, 6-8, ECF No. 1-1. Defendant Aguilar
approached the driver's side window of the vehicle and
asked the driver, Keisha Lujan, for her driver's license,
insurance, and registration. Id. ¶¶
Plaintiff Jorge Corona was a passenger in the back-left
passenger seat. Id. ¶ 9. Defendant Aguilar
asked that the rear passenger window be rolled down.
Ms. Lujan was looking for her paperwork, Plaintiff Corona
asked Defendant Aguilar why he had pulled them over.
Id. Defendant Aguilar responded that he was not the
driver and he was not speaking to him. Id. ¶
10. Plaintiff continued to ask Defendant Aguilar the reason
he had pulled them over. Id. ¶ 11. Defendant
Aguilar asked Plaintiff if he had “ID, ” to which
Plaintiff responded, “Nah. Why are you stopping
us?” Id. Despite having informed him that he
did not have identification, Defendant Aguilar continued to
ask for Plaintiff's “ID.” Id. ¶
12. Each time, Plaintiff responded, “Why are you
stopping us?” Id. ¶ 13. Finally,
Defendant Aguilar told Plaintiff that if he did not produce
his ID, he would be arrested for concealing Id.
Id. ¶ 15.
Aguilar then ordered Plaintiff out of the vehicle, arrested
him for concealing his identification, and handcuffed him
behind his back. Id. ¶ 16. Instead of turning
him directly towards his patrol vehicle or informing
Plaintiff where he was taking him, Defendant Aguilar pulled
Plaintiff in the opposite direction, about 270 degrees
around. Id. ¶¶ 16-19. Without warning,
Defendant Aguilar slammed Plaintiff facedown into the
asphalt, fracturing his cheekbone and causing other injuries.
Id. ¶ 21.
point, Defendant Travis Loomis, a certified peace officer
with the Clovis Police Department, arrived on scene. See
Id. ¶¶ 4, 38. Defendant Loomis said to
Defendant Aguilar, “I don't know what the fuck
happened. Man, I just heard a thud!” Id.
¶ 40. Defendant Loomis did nothing to stop Officer
Aguilar from brutally assaulting Plaintiff. Id.
drafting his police report on the incident and explaining his
use of force, Defendant Aguilar fabricated aspects of his
story, including falsely claiming Plaintiff used abusive
language towards him, tried to pull away on numerous
occasions, and thrust his left shoulder forward in an
aggressive manner. See Id. ¶ 22. Despite not
paying attention to exactly what happened in the matter,
Defendant Loomis drafted a supplemental report that gave the
impression he witnessed everything in an attempt to support
Defendant Aguilar's conduct. Id. ¶ 38.
Defendant Loomis participated in, helped, caused, or
encouraged Defendant Aguilar to continue the prosecution of
Plaintiff, an innocent person, by fabricating his police
report and testimony to support a senior officer.
Id. ¶ 41. At the criminal jury trial, Defendant
Loomis testified he could see what had occurred from the
corner of his eye enough to make his detailed police report.
Id. ¶ 39.
filed suit in state court, and subsequently filed a
“First Amended Complaint for Assault, Battery, Wrongful
Arrest, Prima Facie Tort, Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress, Pain and Suffering, Negligence, Damages, Misuse of
Process, Malicious Abuse of Process and Violation of 42
U.S.C. 1983” against the City of Clovis, Clovis Police
Department, Officer Aguilar, and Officer Loomis in their
personal and official capacities. First Am. Compl., ECF No.
1-1. In the section of the complaint entitled
“Violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983, ” Plaintiff
asserted claims under § 1983 against Defendants Aguilar
and Loomis for seizing and arresting him without a warrant or
probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Id. ¶ 57. He also alleged a claim under §
1983 against Defendants Aguilar and Loomis for
“assaulting” him “under color of state law,
without justification and due process of law, in violation of
the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution.” Id. ¶ 58. He asserted no
other § 1983 claims in this section. See Id.
in the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserted a variety
of state law claims against Defendant Aguilar: lack of
reasonable suspicion or probable cause to demand his
identification, id. ¶ 26; lack of probable
cause to arrest him for a crime, id. ¶ 27,
assault and battery, id. ¶ 28, “abuse of
process and malicious abuse prosecution, ” id.
¶ 29, prima facie tort, id. ¶ 30, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress, id.
¶ 31. He asserted that Defendant Aguilar misused the
legal process by initiating a prosecution and actively
prosecuting Plaintiff with no probable cause. Id.
¶ 23. He further asserted that Defendant Aguilar used an
amount of force on a defenseless, handcuffed person likely to
cause serious injury including great bodily harm. See
Id. ¶¶ 24-25.
state claims against Defendant Loomis, Plaintiff asserted
that Defendant Loomis committed a prima facie tort,
id. ¶ 42, and engaged in “a conspiracy
amongst police officers to fabricate and support each
other's version of events out of a misguided loyalty with
another officer who has committed tortious conduct towards a
defenseless individual, ” id. ¶ 43.
also stated, “Defendant's negligent training of
Defendant Aguilar and/or Defendant Loomis was the proximate
cause of the injuries inflicted upon Mr. Jorge Corona.”
Id. ¶ 44. Moreover, he alleged,
“Defendant's pattern and practice of rewarding
officers who violate the law by not taking appropriate
measures to correct their inappropriate behavior is
responsible and was the proximate cause of the injuries to
Mr. Corona.” Id. ¶ 45. Plaintiff further
asserted that Defendant Aguilar has a history of disciplinary
actions for not following policies and procedures prior to
the incident with Mr. Corona, id. ¶ 46, and
“Defendant Department's failure to properly train
their officers in proper arrest procedures, when they can
arrest a person for concealing ID, and when they can exercise
use of force against a defenseless handcuffed subject, all
were  proximate ...