N.M. Consol. Constr., LLC v. City Council of Santa Fe

Decision Date31 March 2015
Docket NumberNo. CIV 14–0171 JB/WPL.,CIV 14–0171 JB/WPL.
Citation97 F.Supp.3d 1287
PartiesNEW MEXICO CONSOLIDATED CONSTRUCTION, LLC, a New Mexico Limited Liability Company, Appellant, v. CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA FE, Appellee, and New Mexico Consolidated Construction, LLC, a New Mexico Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff, v. David Coss, Mayor of the City of Santa Fe, personally and as Mayor; Rebecca Wurzberger, personally and as Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Santa Fe; Patti J. Bushee, Chris Calvert, Rosemary Romero, Michael M. Chavez, Carmichael A. Douglas, Matthew F. Ortiz, and Ronald S. Trujillo, Members of the City Council of the City of Santa Fe, personally and as Officials of the City of Santa Fe; Robert Romero, City Manager, Geno Zamora, City Attorney, and Mel Morgan, City Finance Director, personally and as employees or officials of the City of Santa Fe; Sharon Woods, Karen Walker, Celilia Rios, Deborah Shapiro, Dan Featheringill, John Kantner, Rod Collier Acton, Frank D. Katz, and Christine Mather, personally and as Members of the Santa Fe Historic Design Review Board, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Mexico

John R. Polk, Albuquerque, NM, for PlaintiffAppellant.

Philomena M. Hausler, Erika E. Anderson, Albuquerque, NM, for DefendantAppellees.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND AMENDED ORDER1

JAMES O. BROWNING, District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment That Federal Claims in the Third Amended Complaint Are Barred by the Doctrine of Res Judicata, filed June 25, 2014 (Doc. 26)(“Motion”). The Court held a hearing on the Motion on December 19, 2014. The primary issue is whether the Stipulation of Dismissal of All Federal Claims Against Defendants with Prejudice, No. CIV 12–0513 KBM/RHS (Doc. 14) (D.N.M. June 15, 2012) (“Stipulation”), entered in an earlier case, bars the federal claims in the Third Amended Complaint for Damages for Deprivation of Rights Under the New Mexico Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Interference with Contractual Relations, Taking and Inverse Condemnation, filed February 24, 2014 (Doc. 1–1)(“Current Complaint”), by way of claim preclusion. Because the Stipulation dismissed “any federal claim brought [in an earlier complaint based on the same incident], express or implied ... with prejudice,” claim preclusion bars the federal claims in the Current Complaint. The Court, therefore, grants the Motion and dismisses all federal claims. There being no remaining federal claims and this case being before the Court exclusively on the Court's federal-question subject-matter jurisdiction, the Court will remand this case to the First Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On April 13, 2012, PlaintiffAppellant New Mexico Consolidated Construction Services, LLC (NM Consolidated) filed a Notice of Appeal and Petition for Certiorari and Complaint for Damages Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Interference with Contractual Relations, Taking, Inverse Condemnation and Civil Conspiracy in the First Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico, No. CIV 12–0513 KBM/RHS (Doc. 1–1) (D.N.M. Apr. 13, 2012)(“First Complaint”). See Motion ¶ 1, at 4; Plaintiff's Response to Motion for Summary Judgment That Federal Claims in the Third Amended Complaint Are Barred by the Doctrine of Res Judicata ¶ 1, at 2, filed August 15, 2014 (Doc. 35)(“Response”)(admitting this fact). The First Complaint names as defendants all of the individuals and entities now named as Defendants in the Current Complaint; it also names DefendantAppellee City Council of Santa Fe as an appellee. See First Complaint ¶¶ 7–13, at 11–12; Motion ¶ 2, at 4; Response ¶ 2, at 2 (admitting this fact). The First Complaint alleged, among its five claims, two federal causes of action relevant to this case: (i) a cause of action in Count III, under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, for a taking of property without just compensation, see First Complaint ¶¶ 104–105, at 28; and (ii) a cause of action in Count V, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violations of unspecified “rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution,” First Complaint ¶¶ 107–108, at 30–31. See Motion ¶ 3, at 4; Response ¶ 3, at 3 (admitting this fact).

On May 12, 2012, the defendants in that action removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. See Notice of Removal, No. CIV 12–0513 KBM/RHS (Doc. 1) (D.N.M. May 5, 2012); Motion ¶ 4, at 5; Response ¶ 4, at 3 (admitting this fact).2

On June 13, 2012, NM Consolidated filed a Stipulation of Dismissal of All Federal Claims Against Defendants with Prejudice, No. CIV 12–0513 KBM/RHS (Doc. 13) (D.N.M. June 13, 2012),3 dismissing all federal claims against all defendants in that action with prejudice.4 See Motion ¶ 6, at 5; Response ¶ 6, at 3 (admitting this fact); id. ¶ 1, at 6; Defendants' Reply in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment That Federal Claims in the Third Amended Complaint Are Barred by the Doctrine of Res Judicata ¶ 1, at 2, filed September 5, 2014 (Doc. 44)(“Reply”)(admitting this fact). NM Consolidated's counsel and the Defendants' counsel signed the Stipulation. Stipulation at 2–3; Motion ¶ 7, at 5; Response ¶ 7, at 3 (admitting this fact). The Stipulation dismissed, with prejudice, Count III's Fifth Amendment takings claim and Counts V's federal due-process, equal-protection, conspiracy, and § 1983 claims. See Stipulation at 2; Motion ¶ 8, at 5; Response ¶ 8, at 4 (admitting this fact). The Stipulation further provides:

It is the intent of this stipulation that any federal claim brought in this matter, express or implied, is dismissed with prejudice, however, no claims based on the Constitution, Statutes or Common Law of the State of New Mexico will be dismissed. Plaintiff shall be free to allege any claim based on the Constitution, Statutes or Common Law of the state of New Mexico on remand to the District Court of the First Judicial District.
Stipulation at 2; Motion ¶ 9, at 5–6. See Response ¶ 9, at 4 (admitting this fact). The Stipulation preserved the counts based upon state causes of action. See Response ¶ 2, at 6; Reply ¶ 2, at 3 (admitting this fact). With the federal claims dismissed, the Honorable Karen B. Molzen, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Mexico, remanded the case to state court. See Order of Remand, No. CIV 12–0513 KBM/RHS (Doc. 16) (D.N.M. July 11, 2012); Motion ¶ 10, at 6; Response ¶ 10, at 4 (admitting this fact).

The case proceeded in state court under cause No. D–101–CV–2012–01054. See Response ¶ 3, at 6; Reply ¶ 3, at 3 (admitting this fact). On or about January 22, 2013, NM Consolidated served subpoenas on the New Mexico School for the Arts (“NM School”) and the New Mexico School for the Arts/Arts Institute (“NM Institute”), requesting documents and tangible items relating to any dealings between the two organizations and the City of Santa Fe in regard to NM Consolidated's property, St. Catherine's Industrial School.5 Response ¶ 4, at 6; Reply ¶ 4, at 3 (admitting this fact). The two organizations responded to the subpoenas by producing at least six documents in which City of Santa Fe officials expressed interest in acquiring St. Catherine's during the same time period that NM Consolidated had a zoning petition before the City Council.6 See Response ¶ 5, at 6–7; id. ¶ 12, at 8; Reply ¶ 5, at 3 (admitting this fact); id. ¶ 12, at 6 (admitting this fact).7 City of Santa Fe officials had expressed interest in acquiring St. Catherine's, but the City of Santa Fe did not have sufficient funds to purchase it or to pay fair market value in condemnation proceedings.8 See Response ¶ 6, at 7; Reply ¶ 6, at 5. The zoning hearing before the City of Santa Fe's Historic Design Review Board (SF Design Board) requested the relocation of historic buildings on the St. Catherine's campus. See Response ¶ 7, at 7; Reply ¶ 7, at 5 (admitting this fact); Electronic Mail Transmission from John Polk to David Rasch Re: St. Catherine's Indian School, filed August 15, 2014 (Doc. 35–12). In March, 2011, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs posted a Notice of Availability and a Draft Environmental Assessment of the School property for comment, giving notice that it intended to purchase property around St. Catherine's school to expand the Santa Fe National Cemetery.9 See Response ¶ 8, at 7; Reply ¶ 8, at 5.10 NM Consolidated filed the petition to relocate the buildings with the SF Design Board on September 12, 2011, the SF Design Board denied the petition on January 10, 2012, and the City Council of Santa Fe formally denied NM Consolidated's appeal from the SF Design Board on March 28, 2012. See Response ¶ 11, at 7; Reply ¶ 11, at 6 (admitting this fact); City of Santa Fe Historic Design Review Board Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, filed August 15, 2014 (Doc. 35–13).

On May 10, 2013, NM Consolidated filed an Amended Notice of Appeal and Petition for Certiorari and Second Amended Complaint for Damages for Deprivation of Rights Under the Federal and New Mexico Constitutions, Interference with Contractual Relations, Taking, Inverse Condemnation and Civil Conspiracy in the First Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico (“Second Complaint”). Motion ¶ 11, at 6; Response ¶ 11, at 4 (admitting this fact). The Second Complaint named two new defendants: (i) the NM School, which NM Consolidated identified as a “New Mexico charter school formed under the laws of the State of New Mexico governing such schools, and is a part of the state and local public schools administration and ... [a] state actor”; and (ii) the NM Institute, which NM Consolidated identified as a “New Mexico nonprofit corporation, acting on behalf of and for the Charter School or as agents of the Charter School.” Motion ¶ 12, at 6–7; Response ¶ 12, at 4 (admitting this fact). On July 15, 2013, NM Consolidated withdrew its Second Complaint. See Motion ...

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