Castaneda v. City of Albuquerque

Decision Date04 February 2016
Docket NumberNo. CIV 14–0103 RB/LAM,CIV 14–0103 RB/LAM
Parties Paul CASTANEDA, Plaintiff, v. The CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE, Ray Schultz, former Chief of Police, Sergeant Donny Keith, Albuquerque Police Officer and D. Hensley, Albuquerque Police Officer, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Mexico

Joseph P. Kennedy, Laura Schauer Ives, Shannon L. Kennedy, Kennedy Kennedy & Ives, LLC, Theresa V. Hacsi, Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway PC, Albuquerque, NM, for Plaintiff.

Patrick D. Allen, Yenson, Allen & Wosick, P.C., Albuquerque, NM, for Defendants.



This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Including Qualified Immunity) and Memorandum of Law in Support filed on August 14, 2015 (Doc. 62), and Plaintiff Paul Castaneda's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Count I of His Complaint: Unlawful Arrest, Unlawful Charging, Unreasonable Seizure, and Excessive Force, filed on August 14, 2015 (Doc. 64). Jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Having considered the submissions of counsel and relevant law, the Court will:

(1) DENY Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment;
(2) GRANT Defendants' motion on the following claims: (Count I) unlawful charging, unreasonable seizure, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (Count II) violation of due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment; (Counts III and IV) violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act; (Count V) violations under the Tort Claims Act against the City of Albuquerque, Ray Schultz, and Donny Keith for negligent training and supervision, and all violations of the New Mexico Children's Code; (Count VI) violations of Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution ; and (Count VII) municipal or supervisory liability under § 1983; and
(3) DENY Defendants' motion as to Plaintiff's claims regarding: (Count I) unlawful arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (Count V) battery and false imprisonment under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, and violations under Article II, Section 10 of the New Mexico Constitution. These claims are the only ones remaining for the Court's consideration.

Because no claims remain against the City of Albuquerque, Mr. Schultz, or Sergeant Keith, these three Defendants are dismissed from the case.

I. Procedural Background

On January 2, 2014, Plaintiff (Paul Castaneda) filed a complaint for damages in the Second Judicial District Court, County of Bernalillo, State of New Mexico. (Doc. 2–A, Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff, who has a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

("ADHD"), was a student at Grant Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the time of the incident described in the complaint. (Id. at ¶¶ 14–15; Doc. 72–2.) On December 12, 2008, Plaintiff was scheduled for an In School Suspension ("ISS"), but he asserts that due to his ADHD, he had forgotten about the ISS and reported instead to his regularly scheduled class. (Compl. at ¶¶ 16–19, 50.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant School Resource Officer ("SRO") D. Hensley came to Plaintiff's classroom, searched Plaintiff's backpack and pockets, handcuffed Plaintiff with zip ties (causing his fingers to turn blue), and transported Plaintiff to the Juvenile Detention Center. (Id. at ¶¶ 20, 23–25; Doc. 72, Ex. 4 at 42–46.) Defendant Hensley charged Plaintiff with "Interference with members of staff, public officials or the general public" pursuant to N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30–20–13(D) (1978). (Compl. at ¶ 26.)

Plaintiff filed his complaint in state court alleging (1) unreasonable seizure and excessive force, arrest, and charging in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights; (2) a deprivation of his liberty interest in violation of his substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment; (3) a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") in arresting and charging him with a delinquent act for the manifestations of his disability; (4) a violation of the ADA in the lack of accommodation of his disability; (5) battery and false imprisonment under the Tort Claims Act and in violation of Article 2, Section 10 of the New Mexico Constitution ; (6) violations of his rights under Article 2, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution ; and (7) negligent training and supervision of Defendant Hensley by Defendant Ray Schultz and Defendant Donny Keith. (Id. at ¶¶ 30–83.)

Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (Including Qualified Immunity) (Doc. 62) and a Motion to Stay Proceedings Until Such Time as the Court Decides Pending Motion for Qualified Immunity (Doc. 63) on August 14, 2015. Plaintiff filed a response to the motion for summary judgment on September 11, 2015 (Doc. 72), and Defendants filed a reply on October 2, 2015 (Doc. 76). The Court granted Defendants' motion to stay on December 23, 2015. (Doc. 87.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Count I of His Complaint: Unlawful Arrest, Unlawful Charging, Unreasonable Seizure, and Excessive Force on August 14, 2015. (Doc. 64.) Defendants filed a response to Plaintiff's motion on September 9, 2015 (Doc. 69), and Plaintiff filed his reply on October 5, 2015 (Doc. 78).

II. Statement of Facts

On the day of the incident at issue in this caseDecember 12, 2008Plaintiff was a 13–year-old student at Grant Middle School. (Compl. at ¶¶ 2–3.) On that date, Defendant Hensley worked as a police officer for the Albuquerque Police Department and served as the School Resource Officer for Grant Middle School, Defendant Schultz was Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department, and Defendant Keith was a Sergeant working for the Albuquerque Police Department. (Id. at ¶¶ 6–8.) Prior to the incident, Plaintiff had been diagnosed with and prescribed medication for ADHD. (Id. at ¶ 2; Doc. 72–2 at 1.) Plaintiff had been treated by a physician and took medication for his ADHD earlier in 2008, but Plaintiff's mother (Ms. Linda Castaneda) testified that she believed he had stopped taking his medication prior to December 12, 2008. (Doc. 62E, Linda Castaneda Dep. 87:22–88:6.) Plaintiff testified that the last time he saw a physician, psychologist, or other specialist for ADHD or learning disabilities was in his eighth grade year, at the time of his last medication refill.1 (Doc. 62B, Paul Castaneda Dep. 12:10–22.)2

Plaintiff testified that one of the symptoms of his ADHD is forgetfulness. (Doc. 72–4, Paul Castaneda Dep. 77:19–21.) Dr. Donald Flammer noted in a Psychiatric Diagnostic Examination on March 27, 2008 that "[a]t school, [Plaintiff] has poor memory" and other "symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

, which hinder his ability to maintain task persistence [and] to complete and practice basic academic skills in an age appropriate manner." (Doc. 72–2 at 1–2.) Grant Middle School administration was aware of Plaintiff's diagnosis and that he required certain accommodations. (See Doc. 72–1.) Plaintiff's Individual Education Plan ("IEP"), dated April 24, 2009, listed one of his necessary "[a]ccommodation[s] of instruction" as "[c]hecking for understanding"; a necessary "[p]resentation of instruction" as "repeated instructions"; and a "[b]ehavior management" accommodation of "[f]requent reminder of rules." (Id. at 1.) Defendant Hensley testified that he does not believe he had any contact with Plaintiff prior to December 12, 2008, nor is there evidence in the record to show that Defendant Hensley was aware of Plaintiff's IEP or the necessary accommodations for that disability. (Doc. 62–A, Hensley Dep. 33:10–15, 50:21–51:11.)

Sometime in September 2008, the principal of Grant Middle School gave Plaintiff a referral to attend ISS on December 12, 2008. (Paul Castaneda Dep. 35:2–14.) The administration of Grant Middle School used ISS as a tool to deal with students' behavior problems. (Hensley Dep. 36:18–37:3; Doc. 62–C at 3.) Plaintiff testified that in his experience, he normally received an ISS referral date that was within two to three days of a behavioral infraction. (Paul Castaneda Dep. 53:2–6.) This time, however, Plaintiff's ISS referral was scheduled for a date approximately two months after his behavioral infraction. (Id. at 35:2–14.) Ms. Barbara Tate served as an educational assistant at Grant Middle School. (Doc. 62D, Tate Dep. 16:9–11.) Ms. Tate supervised the ISS classroom on December 12, 2008. (Hensley Dep. 34:14–18; Doc. 62–C at 3.) Ms. Tate asserts she did not have access to Plaintiff's IEP. (Tate Dep. 16:18–17:14.)

Ms. Tate testified that at the time of the incident, the ISS referral process worked in this way: when a student misbehaved, the student's teacher wrote an ISS referral and sent the student to the administrative office where the principal decided on a consequence. (Id. at 6:16–24.) If the consequence was time in ISS, the student took the referral to the secretary who filled out a triplicate form with the date of the ISS. (Id. at 6:23–7:8.) The secretary gave one copy to the student; the student took it home for a parent's signature and brought it back.3 (Id. at 7:4–12.)

Ms. Tate testified that school staff routinely notified students who had ISS referrals for the day by placing a copy of the students' names on the outside window where students would see it as they entered school each morning. (Id. at 7:13–17.) School staff also posted a copy of the students' names by the school's office. (Id. at 7:18–19.) If a student with an ISS referral failed to report to the ISS classroom, Ms. Tate testified that her practice was to check to see if the student was absent from school. (Id. at 7:21–8:6.) If the student was present at school but had failed to report to ISS, Ms. Tate would track the student down. (Id. at 8:6–7.)

Plaintiff, who had spent time in ISS prior to the date of the incident, testified that he recalls the school—typically the principal or a secretary—gave students oral notice of ISS assignments before the first class period. (...

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