United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Carnell Hunnicutt Southern N.M. Correctional Facility Las
Cruces, New Mexico Plaintiff pro se.
D. White YLAW, P.C. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for the
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER comes before the Court on: (i) the Plaintiff’s
Amended Pro Se Civil Rights Complaint, filed October 9, 2018
(Doc. 9)(“Amended Complaint”); (ii) the
Defendants FNU DeSanitago, Moriama Valeriano, D.L.
Richardson, and GEO Group, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss and
Memorandum of Law in Support, filed September 20, 2018 (Doc.
2)(“Original MTD”); and (iii) the Defendants FNU
DeSanitago, Moriama Valeriano, D.L. Richardson, and GEO
Group, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint and
Memorandum of Law in Support, filed October 18, 2018 (Doc.
10)(“MTD”). Plaintiff Carnell Hunnicutt alleges
prison supervisors retaliated against him after he filed
grievances and he then engaged in an explosive argument with
Correctional Officer FNU DeSantiago. Having carefully
reviewed the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court
will grant the MTD and dismiss this case with prejudice.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
originally filed this action on July 13, 2018, in New
Mexico’s Fifth Judicial District Court, No.
D-506-CR-2018-1259. See Complaint (Tort), filed July
13, 2018 (Doc. 1-1)(“Original Complaint”). FNU
DeSantiago, Moriama Valeriano, D.L. Richardson, and GEO
Group, Inc. removed the action to federal court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331 on September 20, 2018, within the
requisite thirty days of service. See Notice of
Removal ¶ 5, at 2, filed September 20, 2018 (Doc.
1)(“Notice”). DeSantiago, Valeriano, Richardson,
and GEO Group filed the Original MTD on the same date.
See Original MTD at 1. On September 9, 2018,
Hunnicutt filed the Amended Complaint. See Amended
Complaint at 1. The Amended Complaint focuses on a conflict
between Hunnicutt and DeSantiago, a correctional officer at
the Lea County Correctional Facility. For the limited
purposes of this ruling, the Court assumes Hunnicutt’s
allegations are true. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
conflict appears to trace back to September 29, 2016, when
Hunnicutt filed a grievance against DeSantiago. See
Amended Complaint ¶ 11, at 2. DeSantiago allegedly
treated Hunnicutt “as if [he] was special management
status”; kept him “from appointments”; and
“contain[ed] [him] in the unit.” Amended
Complaint ¶ 11, at 2. Hunnicutt then filed a grievance
against Lea County Correctional Grievance Coordinator
Valeriano for “circumventing [New Mexico Corrections
Department] grievance policy to shield her
co-workers[’] abuse of authority.” Amended
Complaint ¶ 12, at 2. Hunnicutt also alleged Valeriano
was not properly trained for her job. See Amended
Complaint ¶ 13, at 2. Between January, 2017 and March,
2017, Hunnicutt filed two additional grievances against
DeSantiago and one additional grievance against Valeriano.
See Amended Complaint ¶¶ 14-16, at 2. He
alleges DeSantiago is racist and “deliberate[ly]
indifferen[t], ” and that she stated in front of other
inmates that Hunnicutt “isn’t right in the head
and files a lot of grievances.” Amended Complaint
¶¶ 14, 16, at 2. Hunnicutt further alleges
Valeriano violated grievance policies and/or did not resolve
the dispute. See Amended Complaint ¶ 15, at 2.
April 8, 2017, Hunnicutt met with Lea County Correctional
Sergeant Mungia and accused DeSantiago of
“unprofessionalism and racist behavior.” Amended
Complaint ¶ 17, at 2. Mungia promised to speak with
DeSantiago, but Hunnicutt felt that a conversation would not
resolve the problem. See Amended Complaint ¶
18, at 2. Hunnicutt told Mungia, “check [your] staff or
I will . . . . I will not tolerate Defendant DeSantiago
continued [sic] disrespecting me and talking to me like
crap.” Amended Complaint ¶¶ 18-19, at 2-3.
Hunnicutt then filed a grievance against Mungia, alleging
that an earlier informal complaint “disappeared”
from Hunnicutt’s possession. Amended Complaint ¶
20, at 3. Hunnicutt also alleges that Mungia ignored the Lea
County Correctional handbook, which requires prison staff to
report abuse. See Amended Complaint ¶ 23, at 3.
It is not clear how those grievances were resolved, but
Hunnicutt was not satisfied with the results.
6, 2017, Hunnicutt and DeSantiago were both assigned work in
housing pod 3-B. See Amended Complaint ¶¶
24-25, at 3. Hunnicutt was working on the paint and detail
crew. See Amended Complaint ¶ 25, at 3. At some
point, DeSantiago told the unit to lock up for maintenance.
See Amended Complaint ¶ 25, at 3. Hunnicutt
stated that he was working with the maintenance crew and
needed to finish his job, which the Warden assigned.
See Amended Complaint ¶ 25, at 3. DeSantiago
ignored him again and yelled “lock up.”
See Amended Complaint ¶ 26, at 3. Hunnicutt
packed his tools in his work cart. See Amended
Complaint ¶ 27, at 3. He refused, however, to leave his
“Class A” tools unattended, per the
Warden’s instructions. See Amended Complaint
¶ 27, at 3. DeSantiago again instructed Hunnicutt to
“lock up or leave, ” as two maintenance
technicians entered the unit. Amended Complaint ¶ 28, at
4. Hunnicutt told DeSantiago to ask the maintenance
technicians whether Hunnicutt was working with them on the
maintenance crew, but DeSantiago just glared at Hunnicutt.
See Amended Complaint ¶ 28, at 4. Hunnicutt
finally agreed to leave and began pushing his cart towards
the door. See Amended Complaint ¶ 29, at 4.
Amended Complaint alleges that, as Hunnicutt was pushing the
cart, Hunnicutt and DeSantiago engaged in the following
DESANTIAGO: “You think you’re special --
that’s why you got packed up in housing [pod] 4,
because you couldn’t make it.”
HUNNICUTT: “No one packed me up, and I doubt if anyone
in New Mexico was man enough to pack me up.”
DESANTIAGO: “You think you’re so smart, if
you’re so smart, why are you in prison?”
HUNNICUTT: “[A] judge put me here, why is someone your
age working a base job?”
Amended Complaint ¶¶ 30-33, at 4.
and DeSantiago then entered housing pod D and continued the
argument in the D-space area near Robert Pryor, Officer
Jimenez, and Officer Gonzales. See Amended Complaint
¶ 34, at 4. DeSantiago called Hunnicutt a “piece
of sh*t” and stated: “My people work harder than
you, look at us Mexicans. We are strong.” Amended
Complaint ¶¶ 35-36, at 4. Hunnicutt laughed at
DeSantiago, which made her angrier. See Amended
Complaint ¶ 36, at 4. She continued:
DESANTIAGO: “F**k you. You need to take your blackass
back to Africa.”
HUNNICUTT: “If it’s true that you people are so
strong, why do they sit in the unit (not working) and shoot
suboxone all day and f**k each other?”
Complaint ¶ 36, at 4. DeSantiago then called
Hunnicutt’s mother a “n**ger w*ore” who
“collects welfare[s]” and stated:
DESANTIAGO: “[Your father is a] black n**ger piece of
sh*t making babies and abandoning them.”
HUNNICUTT: “Go back to Mexico with [your] racist
attitude. [Are you] even a citizen of the United
Amended Complaint ¶¶ 39-40, at 5.
this point, none of the nearby Lea County Correctional
officers intervened in the verbal altercation. See
Amended Complaint ¶¶ 37-38, at 4-5. DeSantiago then
told a nearby Hispanic inmate: “That n**ger is talking
about our people (the Mexican race).” Amended Complaint
¶ 41, at 5. The inmate removed his shirt, raised his
fist, and made a comment like he wanted to fight.
See Amended Complaint ¶ 42, at 5. Hunnicutt
said: “Bring it, because [you’re] going to
lose.” Amended Complaint ¶ 42, at 5.
Hunnicutt’s friend weighed in, telling DeSantiago:
“I don’t know why you told that inmate that, he
ain’t going to do ...