White v. Padilla

Decision Date28 November 2022
Docket NumberCiv. 21-1204 MIS/JFR
PartiesCLIFTON WHITE, Plaintiff, v. LISA PADILLA, New Mexico Correctional Department, in her individual capacity, et al., Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico


LISA PADILLA, New Mexico Correctional Department, in her individual capacity, et al., Defendants.

Civ. No. 21-1204 MIS/JFR

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

November 28, 2022



THIS MATTER is before the Court by Order of Reference[1] in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B), (b)(3) and Va. Beach Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Wood, 901 F.2d 849 (10th Cir. 1990). Doc. 46. On May 20, 2022, Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (“Motion”). Doc. 32. On July 12, 2022, Plaintiff filed a Response in Support of the Denial of the Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and, in the Alternative, Request for Limited Discovery in Order to Adequately Respond. Doc. 40. On August 17, 2022, Defendants filed a Reply in Support of Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Doc. 44. Defendants informed the Court that briefing is complete on the Motion. Doc. 45. Thus, it is ripe for decision. See D.N.M.LR-Civ. 7.1(e). Discovery in this matter has been stayed pending resolution of the Motion. Doc. 35. Having reviewed the pleadings and the applicable law, and being otherwise sufficiently advised, the Court recommends that the presiding judge GRANT Defendants' Motion IN PART and DENY Defendants' Motion IN PART.



“Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” is a defense that “may be raised . . . by motion under Rule 12(c).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(2)(B). Rule 12(c) provides: “After pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). “‘Pleadings are closed within the meaning of Rule 12(c) if no counter or cross claims are at issue when a complaint and an answer have been filed.'” Bath v. Am. Express Co., No. 19-CV-606, 2019 WL 2607020, at *4 (D. Colo. May 31, 2019) (quoting Maniaci v. Georgetown Univ., 510 F.Supp.2d 50, 60 (D.D.C. 2007)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 7(a) (setting out the “pleadings . . . allowed” in civil litigation). Motions brought under Rule 12(c) are subject to the same standards applicable to motions to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6), “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” See Corder v. Lewis Palmer Sch. Dist. No. 38, 566 F.3d 1219, 1223 (10th Cir. 2009).

“The nature of Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the allegations within the four corners of the complaint after taking those allegations as true.” Mobley v. McCormick, 40 F.3d 337, 340 (10th Cir. 1994). “A complaint need not set forth detailed factual allegations, yet a ‘pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' is insufficient.” Romero v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, 202 F.Supp.3d 1223, 1240 (D.N.M. 2016) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's complaint must contain sufficient facts that, if assumed to be true, state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. A “plausible” claim for relief is not one that is “likely to be true.” Robbins v. Oklahoma,


519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Rather, plausibility in this context must refer to the scope of the allegations in a complaint: if they are so general that they encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent,” the claim for relief has not crossed “the line from conceivable to plausible.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “The allegations must be enough that . . . the plaintiff plausibly (not just speculatively) has a claim for relief.” Id.

In ruling on motion brought under Rule 12(c), however, the Court is not constrained to considering the well-pled allegations set forth within the four corners of the complaint, but considers materials attached to the pleadings, and the answer. See Park Univ. Enters., Inc., v. Am. Cas. Co., 442 F.3d 1239, 1244 (10th Cir. 2006), abrogated on other grounds as stated in Magnus, Inc. v. Diamond State Ins. Co., 545 Fed.Appx. 750, 753 (10th Cir. 2013); Ciber, Inc. v. ACE Am. Ins. Co., 261 F.Supp.3d 1119, 1125 (D. Colo. 2017). The Court will “accept all facts pleaded by the non-moving party as true and grant all reasonable inferences from the pleadings in favor of the same.” Park Univ. Enters., 442 F.3d at 1244. Indeed, “[a]ll of the nonmoving party's allegations are deemed to be true, and all of the movant's contrary assertions are taken to be false.” Romero, 202 F.Supp.3d at 1240 (citing Nat'l Metro. Bank v. United States, 323 U.S. 454, 456-57 (1945)). “Judgment on the pleadings should not be granted unless the moving party has clearly established that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Park Univ. Enters., 442 F.3d at 1244 (internal quotation mark and citation omitted). “Claims dismissed pursuant to a motion under [R]ule 12(c) are dismissed with prejudice.” Pena v. Greffet, 110 F.Supp.3d 1103, 1112 (D.N.M. 2015).



The facts are taken from Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 16) and accepted as true for purposes of Defendants' Motion. See Park Univ. Enters., 442 F.3d at 1244.

In May 2002, a grand jury sitting in the Second Judicial District Court of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, indicted Plaintiff in Case No. D-202-CR-2002-1530 for two counts of armed robbery, alleged to have occurred earlier that year. Doc. 16 at 4. Fourteen months later, a grand jury sitting in the Second Judicial District Court of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, indicted Plaintiff in Case No. D-202-CR-2003-2079 for kidnapping, armed robbery, trafficking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, battery, and possession of marijuana. Id. Plaintiff entered into a consolidated plea agreement to resolve both cases, under which he pled guilty to one count of armed robbery in Case No. D-202-CR-2002-1530, and armed robbery, trafficking, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Case No. D-202-CR-2003-2079. Id. With regard to sentencing, the terms of the plea agreement called for Plaintiff to serve his sentence for the armed robbery and trafficking convictions in D-202-CR-2003-2079 concurrently, while his sentence for all other convictions was to be served consecutively, for a period of six years of incarceration, followed by a five-year term of probation. Id. at 5. The state district court's Judgment and Sentence suspended a total of 19 years of incarceration. Id.

Plaintiff was released from custody on January 9, 2008. Id. A year and a half of Plaintiff's time incarcerated was spent in custody in Arizona, pursuant to the Interstate Compact Agreement. Id. Plaintiff served this period of time straight through, apparently without the application of meritorious deductions. Id. Plaintiff earned meritorious deductions during his time in custody, and he was awarded 311 days of pre-sentence confinement credit following a


successful petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Id. At some point, it was also determined that Plaintiff was entitled to an additional 42 days of pre-sentence confinement credit. Id. at 6.

Plaintiff violated the terms of his probation six times between the date of his initial release from custody and the date of his final probation revocation. Id. at 5. On December 20, 2012, Plaintiff was ordered to spend five years in custody as a result of his fourth violation of the terms of his probation. Id. at 6. The state district court's order revoking probation provided that Plaintiff was entitled to “credit for all time served on the original probation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). On June 5, 2015, the New Mexico Department of Corrections (“DOC”) paroled Plaintiff for a one-year term of parole for one of his convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Case No. D-202-CR-2003-2079. Id. However, Plaintiff was supposed to be paroled for a two-year term of parole for his armed robbery conviction in Case No. D-202-CR-2002-1530. Id. Plaintiff was released onto parole on September 16, 2019.[2] Id. However, this was done in error; had the state's jurisdiction over Plaintiff been calculated correctly, he would have been released from parole three years earlier, on September 6, 2016. Id.

At different times in 2017 and 2018, Plaintiff was in the custody of DOC because of violations of the terms of his probation. Id. at 7. For example, in December 2017, the state district court remanded Plaintiff to DOC's custody for two years for violating the terms of his probation for a sixth time, with an unsatisfactory discharge from probation at the time of his release. Id. at 8. Plaintiff was in custody awaiting a hearing on this probation violation between


September 13, 2017, and December 8, 2017, but did not receive credit for serving this time. Id. Plaintiff sought a writ of habeas corpus following his December 2017 probation revocation and it was denied. Id. at 8.

Defendants were employed by DOC. Id. at 2-3, 7. Plaintiff met with Defendants Alisha Tafoya Lucero, Joe Lytle, and Melissa Ortiz (collectively, “Warden Defendants”), who acknowledged issues with the calculation of the amount of time Plaintiff should remain in custody, but the issues went unremedied by these Defendants. Id. at 7. The issues also went unremedied by Defendant Judith Anderson, whose job duties included maintaining records[3] of the calculation of inmate sentences and meritorious deductions. Id...

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