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Martinez v. United States

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 5, 2014

Armando Nieves Martinez, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
United States of America, Defendant.

ORDER

LESLIE A. BOWMAN, District Judge.

Pending before the court is the government's motion for a more definite statement, filed on September 17, 2014. (Doc. 21).

The plaintiff, Armando Nieves Martinez, claims he was browbeaten into falsely confessing to drug smuggling by agents of the Department of Customs and Border Protection. The government moves that this court dismiss the complaint and instruct the plaintiffs to file a more definite statement of their claims pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(e).

The case has been referred to Magistrate Judge Bowman for pretrial proceedings pursuant to the Local Rules of Practice. LRCiv 72.2.

The court finds the complaint is sufficient and denies the motion.

Factual and Procedural Background

On August 18, 2011, the plaintiff, Armando Nieves Martinez, his wife, and two children drove north from their home in Caborca, Sonora into Arizona intending to do some shopping. (Doc. 20) Their trip was uneventful until they reached the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint north of Ajo, Arizona. Id.

At the checkpoint, agents became suspicious. (Doc. 20) The vehicle was searched, and the family members were placed in separate rooms. Id. The family was told that liquid methamphetamine was found in the windshield wiper fluid. Id. Mr. and Mrs. Martinez were told that if one of them accepted responsibility, the remaining family members would be released. Id.

After about three hours of questioning, Mr. Martinez agreed to accept responsibility for the drugs in exchange for having his family released from custody. (Doc. 20) At the agents' insistence, Mr. Martinez concocted a story in which his mechanic put the drugs in his car, and he was instructed to deliver them to a mall in Chandler, Arizona. Id. Martinez told the officers the story was false, but the agents did not incorporate that statement into his declaration. Id.

On September 24, 2011, the government filed a motion to dismiss the case because the government's forensic laboratory found no drugs in the samples provided by the agents. (Doc. 20)

Martinez and his family filed a complaint in this court alleging subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. (Doc. 1) The government filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and, in the alternative, for a more definite statement. (Doc. 11) The court granted the motion in part and dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. (Docs. 16, 19) The court found no jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' claims for defamation, misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation. Id.

On August 19, 2014, Martinez and his family filed an amended complaint alleging assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and false imprisonment. (Doc. 20)

On September 17, 2014, the government filed the pending motion for a more definite statement pursuant to ...


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