Johnnie Burton complaint against San Juan County Adult Detention Center

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  • 8/10/2019 Johnnie Burton complaint against San Juan County Adult Detention Center

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    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

    FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO

    JOHNNIE BURTON, personally and as PersonalRepresentative for MATILDA BURTON (deceased),

    Plaintiffs,

    vs. No. 1:14 cv 00888 WPL/KBM

    DEPUTY WAGNER, arresting deputy with theSan Juan County Sheriffs Office individually andunder the color of law, CHRISTOPHER SMART, Supervisor,individually and in his capacity as a state actor under the color of law,VALARIE REYNASO, Supervisor, in her individualcapacity under color of law, and Officers MICHAEL GOMEZ,REBECCA HAM, KATHLEEN GREEN, RONALD FOUST,LORETTA WHITE, individually and as state actors underthe color of law, THE SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTIONCENTER, SAN JUAN COUNTY, and CORRECTIONALHEALTHCARE COMPANIES (CHC),

    Defendants.

    DEFENDANTS CHRISTOPHER SMART, VALARIE REYNASO, REBECCA HAM,

    KATHLEEN GREEN, RONALD FAUST, THE SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION

    CENTER, AND SAN JUAN COUNTYS ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL

    INJURIES, WRONGFUL DEATH, AND VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS

    COME NOW Defendants Christopher Smart, Valarie Reynaso, Rebecca Ham,

    Kathleen Green, Ronald Faust, The San Juan County Detention Center, and San Juan

    County (San Juan County Defendants), by and through their Counsel of Record,

    Potts & Associates, LLC (Amy Glasser) and hereby submit Defendants Christopher

    Smart, Valarie Reynaso, Rebecca Ham, Kathleen Green, Ronald Faust, San Juan

    County and San Juan County Detention Centers Answer to Complaint for Personal

    Injuries, Wrongful Death and Violation of Civil Rights. For their Answer, these

    defendants (hereinafter collectively known as County Defendants) state:

    Case 1:14-cv-00888-WPL-KBM Document 8 Filed 10/07/14 Page 1 of 8

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    1. As to the allegations set forth in paragraph one (1), County defendants

    state that, as alleged, the events occurred within San Juan County, New Mexico but

    admit and deny the underlying allegations as set forth in their Answer.

    2.

    County defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to

    admit or deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs two (2), three (3), and four (4),

    and, on that basis, deny.

    3. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraph five (5).

    4. County defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to

    admit or deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs six (6) and seven (7), and, on that

    basis, deny.

    5. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraph eight (8).

    6. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraph nine (9).

    7. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraphs ten (10),

    eleven (11), twelve (12), thirteen (13), fourteen (14), fifteen (15), and sixteen (16).

    8. As to paragraph seventeen (17), County defendants admit that the claims

    brought against the individually named defendants are asserted against them in their

    individual capacities as state actors under the color of law but admit and deny the

    underlying allegations asserted against them as set forth in their Answer.

    9. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraph eighteen

    (18).

    10. As to the allegations set forth in paragraph nineteen (19), County

    defendants admit that there was a contract between defendant CHC and defendant

    San Juan County in which CHC provided healthcare services to inmates at the San

    Juan County Detention Center. County defendants are without sufficient knowledge

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    or information to admit or deny the remaining allegations set forth in paragraph

    nineteen (19) and, on that basis, deny.

    11. The assertions of paragraph twenty (20) contain overly broad legal

    conclusions, rather than factual allegations to which a response is required.

    12. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraph twenty-

    one (21).

    13. The assertions of paragraph twenty-two (22) contain overly broad legal

    conclusions, rather than factual allegations to which a response is required.

    FACTS RELEVANT TO ALL CLAIMS

    14.

    As to paragraph twenty-three (23), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    15. County defendants admit the allegations set forth in paragraph twenty-

    four (24).

    16. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs twenty-

    five (25), twenty-six (26), twenty-seven (27), twenty-eight (28), twenty-nine (29), thirty

    (30), thirty-one (31), thirty-two (32), thirty-three (33), thirty-four (34), thirty-five (35),

    thirty-six (36) and thirty-seven (37).

    COUNT I ENUMERATED TORTS BY NAMED DEFENDANTSUNDER NMSA 41-4-12

    17. As to paragraph thirty-eight (38), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    18.

    County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs thirty-

    nine (39) and forty (40).

    COUNT II INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

    19. As to paragraph forty-one (41), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

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    20. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs forty-two

    (42), forty-three (43) and forty-four (44).

    COUNT III NEGLIGENCE AND NEGLIGENCE PER SE

    21.

    As to paragraph forty-five (45), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    22. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs forty-six

    (46) and forty-seven (47).

    COUNT IV PERSONAL INJURY

    23. As to paragraph forty-eight (48), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    24. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs forty-

    nine (49) and fifty (50).

    COUNT V WRONGFUL DEATH

    25. As to paragraph fifty-one (51), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    26. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraph fifty-two

    (52).

    COUNT VI LOSS OF CONSORTIUM

    27. As to paragraph fifty-three (53), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    28. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs fifty-four

    (54), fifty-five (55) and fifty-six (56).

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    COUNT VII NEGLIGENT OEPRATION AND MAINTENANCE OF FACILITYPURSUANT TO 41-4-6 BY SAN JUAN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, SAN JUAN

    COUNTY AND CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE COMPANIES

    29. As to paragraph fifty-seven (57), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    30. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs fifty-

    eight (58) and fifty-nine (59).

    31. As to paragraphs sixty (60) and sixty-one (61), County defendants state

    that the assertions set forth therein contain overly broad legal conclusions, rather

    than factual allegations such that no response is required. To the extent a response is

    deemed to be required, County defendants deny.

    32. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs sixty-two

    (62), sixty-three (63), sixty-four (64) and sixty-five (65).

    COUNT VIII NEGLIGENT HIRING, TRAINING, RETENTION AND SUPERVISION

    33. As to paragraph sixty-six (66), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    34. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs sixty-

    seven (67), sixty-eight (68) and sixty-nine (69).

    COUNT IX VIOLATIONS OF 42 USC SECTION 1983

    35. As to paragraph seventy (70), County defendants reference and

    incorporate all preceding responses as if restated in their entirety.

    36. As to paragraph seventy-one (71), County defendants state that the

    assertions set forth therein contain overly broad legal conclusions, rather than factual

    assertions such that no response is required. To the extent a response is deemed to

    be required, County defendants deny.

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    37. County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs seventy-

    two (72), seventy-three (73), seventy-four (74), seventy-five (75), seventy-six (76),

    seventy-seven (77), seventy-eight (78), seventy-nine (79), eighty (80), eight-one (81),

    eight-two (82), eighty-three (83) and eighty-four (84).

    COUNT X VIOLATIONS OF 42 USC CHAPTER 26 SECTIONS 12101 et seq.

    38. As to paragraph eight-five (85), County defendants state that the

    assertions set forth therein contain overly broad legal conclusions, rather than factual

    assertions such that no response is required. To the extent a response is deemed to

    be required, County defendants deny.

    39.

    County defendants deny the allegations set forth in paragraphs eighty-

    six (86), eighty-seven (87), eighty-eight (88), eighty-nine (89), ninety (90), ninety-one

    (91), ninety-two (92), ninety-three (93) and ninety-four (94).

    AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

    1. Plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

    2. Plaintiffs claims are barred by the New Mexico Tort Claims Act.

    3. The conduct of the plaintiffs were of such degree as to bar or reduce any

    recovery in this action.

    4. The incident and alleged damages resulted from the negligence and/or

    fault of other parties and/or non-parties for which the County defendants are not

    liable.

    5. The alleged improper conduct on the part of the County defendants does

    not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.

    6. All acts undertaken by the County defendants were in good faith.

    7. The claims asserted against the County defendants are barred or limited

    by the defense of qualified immunity.

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    8. Plaintiffs have failed to mitigate their alleged injuries and damages,

    thereby reducing recovery from defendants.

    9. An award of punitive damages against defendants would violate

    provisions of the New Mexico and United States Constitutions, including, but not

    limited to, the Due Process clause, the "excessive fines" clause of the Eighth

    Amendment, the double jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment, and the equal

    protection clause of the state and federal Constitutions. In addition, procedures for

    awards of punitive damages in New Mexico do not provide safeguards adequate to

    ensure due process as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States

    Constitution in that:

    a. there are no statutory limits placed on the amount of punitive

    damages that may be awarded;

    b. the fact-finder is insufficiently limited in its discretion to award

    punitive damages;

    c. the "preponderance of the evidence" standard of proof is not high

    enough to satisfy due process where a defendant faces a punitive damage award.

    10. None of the acts or omissions, as alleged by plaintiffs and which are

    specifically admitted and denied above, state a cause of action for punitive damages.

    JURY DEMAND

    Defendants hereby submit their demand to have this matter heard by a jury of

    twelve (12) persons.

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    8

    POTTS & ASSOCIATES

    By: /s/ Amy L. GlasserAMY L. GLASSER6001 Indian School Road NE #100

    Albuquerque, NM 87110Telephone: 505-889-5252Facsimile: 877-365-8043aglasser@travelers.comAttorney for San Juan County Defendants

    I HEREBY CERTIFY that on this 7thday of October, 2014, I filed the foregoingpleading electronically through the CM/ECF system, which caused all parties andcounsel of record to be served by electronic or other means, as more fully reflected onthe Notice of Electronic Filing:

    /s/ Amy L. GlasserAMY L. GLASSER

    Case 1:14-cv-00888-WPL-KBM Document 8 Filed 10/07/14 Page 8 of 8

    mailto:aglasser@travelers.commailto:aglasser@travelers.commailto:aglasser@travelers.com