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Case Name Amaro v. New Mexico PC-NM-0008
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-00993 ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
This is a case about allegations of civil rights deprivations at Guadalupe County Correctional Facility’s (GCCF). The plaintiff, a prisoner of GCCF, alleged that GCCF’s negligently operated a medical facility and a correctional facility, denied prisoners due process, subjected them to inhumane ... read more >
This is a case about allegations of civil rights deprivations at Guadalupe County Correctional Facility’s (GCCF). The plaintiff, a prisoner of GCCF, alleged that GCCF’s negligently operated a medical facility and a correctional facility, denied prisoners due process, subjected them to inhumane conditions of confinement, and unlawfully inflicted cruel and/or unusual punishment. On September 2, 2016, a prisoner of GCCF filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The plaintiff sued the State of New Mexico under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Representing himself, the plaintiff sought injunctive relief regarding the allegedly flawed architectural design and faulty construction at all private “for-profit” prison facilities operating in New Mexico as well as declaratory relief mandating structural alterations of the prisons’ structural flaws, legal termination and/or dissolution of all State contracts with all private ‘for-profit’ prison companies operating in New Mexico. He also sought compensatory, punitive, and hedonic damages. The plaintiff claimed numerous instances of carbon monoxide exposure/poisoning of state prisoners occurred at GCCF and other similar facilities on December 28, 2012; January 4, 2013; January 19, 2013; January 21, 2013; and February 6, 2014. He further alleged that he filed grievances after the December 28, 2012 incident, and the February 6, 2014 incident, but obtained no relief. Judge Kenneth J. Gonzales was assigned to this case. Initially, Magistrate Judge William P Lynch was assigned to this case, but it was later reassigned to Magistrate Judge Jerry H. Ritter.

The same day he filed the complaint, the plaintiff filed a motion to appoint counsel. Magistrate Judge Lynch denied this motion. Later in the case, the plaintiff again filed a motion to appoint counsel, but the court declined to appoint counsel. Thus, the plaintiff proceeded pro se throughout the case.

Three months after the plaintiff filed his complaint, he filed a motion for summary judgment, but on September 15, 2017, Judge Gonzales denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s civil rights complaint with prejudice. 2017 WL 4142572. Judge Gonzalez explained that the plaintiff failed to state a claim because there must be a connection between the official conduct of government officials and a violation of a constitutional right. Conduct that is not connected to a constitutional violation is not actionable under § 1983. Judge Gonzalez also wrote that the plaintiff may not litigate other prisoner’s claims, and since he was barred by the statute of limitations, an opportunity for the plaintiff to amend the complaint would be futile. That same day, he entered judgment against the plaintiff. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration, as well as, a notice of appeal. On October 12, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit abated the appeal until the District Court resolved the motion for reconsideration. While the motion for reconsideration was pending, the plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint on October 24, 2017.

However, on October 30, 2017, Judge Gonzales denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration writing that the motion does not rely on any intervening change in the controlling law or new evidence that was previously unavailable. 2017 WL 5001983. Judge Gonzales granted the plaintiff’s motion to proceed on appeal.

On June 13, 2018, the Tenth Circuit (Circuit Judge Monroe G. McKay) affirmed the denial of summary judgment and dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. 737 Fed. Appx. 882. Though the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s conclusion regarding the untimeliness of plaintiff’s claims, they allowed the plaintiff to amend his claims against the individual state officials and prison employees for the February 2014 incident and related grievance proceeding that were not currently alleged with sufficient individual specificity. Accordingly, on July 26, 2018, Judge Gonzales granted the plaintiff leave to file one amended complaint but cautioned that plaintiff that this complaint should be a short and plain pleading and not reassert previously dismissed claims. After objecting to this order’s requirement of a short and plain pleading, on September 26, 2018, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

On May 28, 2020, Judge Gonzales dismissed the plaintiff’s amended complaint because the plaintiff failed to comply with the court’s requirement that the amended complaint be limited to the plaintiff’s claims against individual state officials and prison employees for an alleged February 2014 incident and related grievance proceeding, and that he may not reassert any other claims previously dismissed by the court. 2020 WL 2768974. Judge Gonzales explained that instead of following the court's requirement for the amended complaint, the plaintiff filed a 144 page long amended complaint naming in excess of 300 defendants and asserting 39 claims covering a 10-year period. The court noted that the plaintiff had a pattern of making “grossly overbroad and unsupported claims.” Judge Gonzalez also denied the plaintiff’s application to proceed without prepaying fees or costs because the appeal was not taken in good faith. That same day, Judge Gonzalez entered judgment dismissing the amended complaint without prejudice.

On June 30, 2020, the plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of the amended complaint. The case is ongoing.

Zoe Van Dyke - 10/11/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Conditions of confinement
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Attorney General for the State of New Mexico
Corizon, LLC
Department of Health and Human Services
GEO Group, Inc.
Governor of the State of New Mexico
New Mexico Department of Corrections
The State of New Mexico
Plaintiff Description A prisoner at Guadalupe County Correctional Facility
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 09/02/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D.N.M.
06/30/2020
1:16-cv-00993-KG-JHR
PC-NM-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.N.M.
09/02/2016
Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983 and 1988, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343(3) [ECF# 1 & 1-1]
PC-NM-0008-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
09/15/2017
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 27] (2017 WL 4142572)
PC-NM-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
09/15/2017
Judgment [ECF# 28]
PC-NM-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
10/30/2017
Memorandum Opinion and Order Denying Motion for Reconsideration [ECF# 41] (2017 WL 5001983)
PC-NM-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
06/13/2018
Order and Judgment (737 Fed.Appx. 882)
PC-NM-0008-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
D.N.M.
09/26/2018
Plaintiff's Amended Civil Rights Complaint [ECF# 69]
PC-NM-0008-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
05/28/2020
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 75] (2020 WL 2768974)
PC-NM-0008-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
05/28/2020
Order Denying Application to Proceed on Appeal in Forma Pauperis and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) Certification [ECF# 76] (2020 WL 2768975)
PC-NM-0008-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.N.M.
05/28/2020
Judgment [ECF# 77]
PC-NM-0008-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gonzales, Kenneth John (D.N.M.) show/hide docs
PC-NM-0008-0001 | PC-NM-0008-0002 | PC-NM-0008-0003 | PC-NM-0008-0004 | PC-NM-0008-0005 | PC-NM-0008-0006 | PC-NM-0008-9000
McHugh, Carolyn Baldwin (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-NM-0008-0009
McKay, Monroe G. (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-NM-0008-0009
Phillips, Gregory Alan (Tenth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-NM-0008-0009
Ritter, Jerry H Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-NM-0008-9000

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