Herrera v. Santa Fe Pub. Sch., No. CIV 11-0422 JB/KBM

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
PartiesCANDICE HERRERA, T.H., a minor by and through her father and guardian VINCENT HERRERA, ASHLEY HURTADO, ARIANNA LONDON, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION, BARBARA GUDWIN, GLENN WIKLE, LINDA TRUJILLO, FRANK MONTANO, STEVEN J. CARRILLO, in their official capacities as members of the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, BOBBIE J. GUTIERREZ, in her official capacity as Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools, MELANIE ROMERO, individually and in her official capacity as Principal of Capital High School, ROBERT STEPHENS, in his official capacity as Principal of Santa Fe High School as a necessary party for complete relief, ASI NEW MEXICO, LLC, JOHN/JANE DOE Nos. 1-8, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. CIV 11-0422 JB/KBM
Decision Date29 August 2014

CANDICE HERRERA, T.H., a minor by and through her father and guardian VINCENT HERRERA,
ASHLEY HURTADO, ARIANNA LONDON, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION,
BARBARA GUDWIN, GLENN WIKLE, LINDA TRUJILLO, FRANK MONTANO,
STEVEN J. CARRILLO, in their official capacities as members
of the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education,
BOBBIE J. GUTIERREZ, in her official capacity as Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools,
MELANIE ROMERO, individually and in her official capacity as Principal of Capital High School,
ROBERT STEPHENS, in his official capacity as Principal
of Santa Fe High School as a necessary party for complete relief,
ASI NEW MEXICO, LLC, JOHN/JANE DOE Nos. 1-8, Defendants.

No. CIV 11-0422 JB/KBM

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO

August 29, 2014


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 1

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant ASI New Mexico, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint [Doc. 100] and Supporting Memorandum, filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182)("MSJ"). The Court held a hearing on April 22,

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2014. The primary issue is whether Defendant ASI New Mexico, LLC can properly be held liable for violations of Plaintiffs Candice Herrera's, T.H.'s, Ashley Hurtado's, and Arianna London's rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America that occurred when the Plaintiffs were subjected to searches before a school dance. The Court will grant the MSJ in part and deny it in part. The Court will grant the MSJ as it relates to the searches of the Plaintiffs' persons, because ASI New Mexico did not have a policy or practice that caused a violation of the Plaintiffs' clearly established constitutional rights. The Court will deny the MSJ as it relates to the searches and seizures of the Plaintiffs' possessions, because ASI New Mexico did not meet its prima facie burden as to those claims. The Court will, in a subsequent Memorandum Opinion and Order, dispose of the Plaintiffs' state-law claims.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Court will discuss the factual background in multiple parts. First, the Court will discuss Santa Fe Public Schools and ASI New Mexico, their contractual relationship, and their respective responsibilities vis-à-vis security at school events in general. The Court will then discuss the genesis of Santa Fe Public Schools' search practice and the Pat-Down Guidelines (undated), filed March 20, 2014 (Doc. 193-21), that ASI New Mexico created to reflect its understanding of that practice. Third, the Court will discuss the searches that occurred at the April 16, 2011, Capital High School ("CHS") prom. Fourth, the Court will discuss each Plaintiff's awareness of Santa Fe Public Schools' search practice; her search; and her search's effects on her.

For clarity, the Court must point out a few nomenclature notes. Throughout its discussion of the facts, the Court will use "Santa Fe Schools" to refer to Santa Fe Schools in the

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colloquial sense of the term -- that is, to the school district and to its employees, and not only to Defendants Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, Santa Fe Public Schools, Barbara Gudwin, Glenn Wikle, Linda Trujillo, Frank Montano, Steven J. Carillo, Bobbie J. Gutierrez, Melanie Romero, and Robert Stephens (collectively, "the "SFPS Defendants"). Similarly, when the Court describes what Santa Fe Schools and its employees typically did before school dances, the Court will use the terms "policy" and "practice" in their colloquial sense. The Court does not, by these words, implicitly conclude that Santa Fe Schools had a "policy" or a "practice" within the municipal-liability meaning of those terms. The Court disposed of these issues in its Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order, filed May 27, 2014 (Doc. 219)("SFPS Defendants' MOO"), and does not reopen them in this Sealed Memorandum Opinion and Order. The Court instead uses those words as the parties use them throughout their briefs: to signify that Santa Fe Schools had frequently arranged for particular searches before dances.

1. Santa Fe Schools and ASI New Mexico; Their Contractual Relationship; and Their Respective Responsibilities vis-à-vis Security at School Events in General.

The Plaintiffs' claims against ASI New Mexico arise from pat-down searches, possession searches, and possession seizures that occurred at the April 16, 2011, CHS prom.2 See Second

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Amended Complaint ¶ 135, at 24, filed September 18, 2012 (Doc. 100)("Complaint"). "Santa Fe High School and Capital High are located in Santa Fe, New Mexico and are in the Santa Fe Public School District ('SFPS')." MSJ ¶ 2, at 3 (setting forth this fact). See Complaint ¶¶ 18-20, at 5-6; Response ¶ 2, at 3 (not disputing this fact). "At all times material to Plaintiffs' claims, ASI was a limited liability company organized under the laws of New Mexico and provided security services to public schools, private companies, and state and local governments." MSJ ¶ 14, at 5 (setting forth this fact). See Complaint ¶ 24, at 7 (setting forth this fact); Response ¶ 14, at 3 (not disputing this fact).3

"The governing and policy-making body for SFPS is the Board of Education of SFPS ('Board of Education')." MSJ ¶ 3, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-5-4; Complaint ¶¶ 17-18. at 5; Response ¶ 3, at 2 (not disputing this fact). "SFPS is responsible for

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providing a safe school environment for its school activities as a regular part of its business." MSJ ¶ 4, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See Deposition of Bobbie J. Gutierrez at 117:25-119:13 (taken March 22, 2012, and April 3, 2012), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-1)("ASI New Mexico's Gutierrez Depo.");4 id. at 117:25-119:13; id. at 121:5-12; id. at 227:2-24; id. at 229:6-22; id. at 273:18-274:16; id. at 279:18-280:12; Deposition of Melanie Romero at 100:11-20 (taken March 19, 2012), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-2)("ASI New Mexico's Romero Depo."); Response ¶ 4, at 2 (not disputing this fact). "At the time of the 2011 Prom, Melanie Romero was the CHS principal." MSJ ¶ 5, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See Complaint ¶ 20, at 6; ASI New Mexico's Romero Depo. at 10:6-24; Response ¶ 5, at 2 (not disputing this fact). "Principal Romero had authority to set policies and procedures related to Capital High and Capital High events." MSJ ¶ 6, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See ASI New Mexico's Gutierrez Depo. at 123:4-9; id. at 227:2-228:2; ASI New Mexico's Romero Depo. at 132:7-24; Deposition of Martin "Mark" Archuleta at 122:17-123:6 (taken March 9, 2012, and January 30, 2014), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-3)("ASI New Mexico's Archuleta Depo.");5 Response ¶ 6, at 2 (not disputing this fact).

"Before ASI began providing contractual security services to SFPS in 2004, SFPS had its own directly employed security officers and used those security officers to conduct searches of students and provide day-to-day security services." MSJ ¶ 22, at 7 (setting forth this fact).

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See ASI New Mexico's Gutierrez Depo. at 80:22-81:11; id. at 132:1-134:15; Deposition of Stephanie Gurule-Lebya at 7:14-20 (taken December 10, 2014), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-8)("ASI New Mexico's Gurule-Leyba Depo."); id. at 19:9-25; Response ¶ 22, at 4 (not disputing this fact).6 "Since 1995, the SFPS Code of Conduct has provided that students can be searched at school or at any school event." MSJ ¶ 23, at 7 (setting forth this fact). See Volume I of Videotaped Deposition of Bobbie J. Gutierrez at 54:24-55:7 (taken March 22, 2012), filed April 4, 2014 (Doc. 200-1);7 Deposition of Jennifer Garcia at 8:3-22 (taken May 14, 2012), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-9)("ASI New Mexico's Garcia Depo."); id. at 25:25-26:13; Response ¶ 23, at 4 (not disputing this fact).8

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"ASI began providing services for SFPS, including Capital High, in 2004." MSJ ¶ 15, at 5 (setting forth this fact). See Archuleta Depo. at 133:2-3; id. 134:7-11; Volume I of Deposition of Micah Johnson at 20:14-18 (taken January 16, 2014), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 182-5)("Vol. I ASI New Mexico's Johnson Depo."); Response ¶ 15, at 3 (not disputing this fact). See also Response ¶ 15, at 11 (setting forth a similar fact)(citing Vol. I Videotaped Deposition of Bobbie J. Gutierrez at 80:22-24 (taken March 22, 2012), filed March 20, 2014 (Doc. 193-5)("Vol. I Plaintiffs' Gutierrez Depo.")). "ASI provided school security services generally to SFPS, and specifically for the 2011 Capital High prom, based on a publicly bid and awarded contract pursuant to the New Mexico Procurement Code." MSJ ¶ 9, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See Complaint ¶¶ 24-26, at 7; Affidavit of Micah Johnson ¶¶ 3-4, at 1-2, filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 181)("Johnson Aff."); Proposal No. 1-General 2008-09 School Security Services passim (no date provided), filed March 3, 2014 (Doc. 181-1)("SFPS-ASI New Mexico Proposal"); Santa Fe Public Schools Services Contract passim (dated August 18, 2010), filed May 3, 2014 (Doc. 181-1); Response ¶ 9, at 2 (not disputing this fact).9 "SFPS was free to terminate the contract with ASI by providing 30 days written notice prior to the intended date of termination." MSJ ¶ 10, at 4 (setting forth this fact). See Johnson Aff. ¶...

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