United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RIGGS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint filed by Core Civic and Warden Betty Judd
(together, Defendants) (Doc. 20). The Amended Complaint
asserts claims for failure to protect and provide medical
care. Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the
applicable law, the Court finds the Motion should be granted
in part. The federal constitutional claims will be dismissed
with prejudice, but the Court declines to adjudicate any
surviving state law negligence claim.
is a New Mexico Corrections Department inmate. He alleges
Correctional Officer Lucero discovered a syringe in a
bunkmates' bed and blamed Plaintiff. This purportedly
caused tension in the cellblock, and he was beaten by six
other inmates for approximately six to 15 minutes. Doc. 11,
¶ 11. He suffered a broken jaw, and welts and contusions
to his head, neck, and back. Id.
appears to allege that the attack is traceable to misconduct
by Defendants. He contends prison officials inappropriately
mixed Level II and Level III inmates and failed to have
sufficient employees to respond to the fight. Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent
to his medical needs by failing to timely treat his injuries
and respond to his request for medical treatment.
filed his complaint in New Mexico's First Judicial
District Court on March 7, 2019. Defendant Centurion
Correctional Health Care of New Mexico, LLC
(“Centurion”) removed this matter to Federal
Court on April 19, 2019. Plaintiff, proceeding pro
se, filed an Amended Complaint on May 14, 2019. Doc. 11.
Counsel subsequently entered an appearance on behalf of
Plaintiff, and Defendants Core Civic and Judd moved to
dismiss the Amended Complaint under Fed. R. Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Docs. 18, 20. The matter is fully briefed.
reviewing a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) dismissal, a court must
accept as true all well-pleaded facts, as distinguished from
conclusory allegations, and those facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Moss
v. Kopp, 559 F.3d 1155, 1159 (10th Cir. 2010). “To
withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
enough allegations of fact ‘to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
Plaintiff filed his amended complaint pro se, the
Court liberally construes the factual allegations. See
Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th
Cir. 1992). However, the pleadings are still judged by the
same legal standards that apply to all litigants. 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 assume the role of advocate. Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)
asserts federal constitutional claims. 42 U.S.C. § 1983
is the statutory vehicle for asserting violations of the
United States constitution. A cause of action under section
1983 requires the deprivation of a civil right by a
‘person' acting under color of state law.”
McLaughlin v. Bd. of Trustees, 215 F.3d 1168, 1172
(10th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff must allege that each government
official, through the official's own individual actions,
has personally violated the Constitution. Trask v.
Franco, 446 F.3d 1036, 1046 (10th Cir. 1998). There must
also be a connection between the official conduct and the
constitutional violation. Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523
F.3d 1147, 1162 (10th Cir. 2008); Trask v. Franco,
446 F.3d 1036, 1046 (10th Cir. 1998).
Federal Constitutional Claims will be Dismissed with
alleges that prison officials failed to protect him from
attack and treat his injuries. Both claims implicate the
deliberate-indifference standard under the Eighth Amendment.
Hovater v. Robinson, 1 F.3d 1063, 1068 (10th Cir.
1993); Garrett v. Stratman, 254 F.3d 946, 950 (10th
Cir. 2001). Deliberate indifference occurs where a prison
official is subjectively aware of an excessive risk to health
and recklessly disregards that risk. Wilson v. Falk,
877 F.3d 1204, 1209 (10th Cir. 2017). The substantial harm
requirement “may be satisfied by lifelong handicap,
permanent loss, or considerable pain.”
Garrett, 254 F.3d at 950. Assuming without deciding
that prison officials caused substantial harm, the Amended
Complaint contains no allegations that any particular
Defendant knew Plaintiff was likely to be attacked. See,
e.g., Butler v. Rios, 2017 WL 6803451, at *5 (W.D. Okla.
Nov. 30, 2017) (knowing that certain types of prisoners may