Pagan-Garcia et al v. Rodriguez et al

2015 | Cited 0 times | D. Puerto Rico | August 27, 2015



Civil No. 14-1385 (DRD)

OPINION AND ORDER Plaintiffs Mary Jessica Pagan-Garcia, Luz Irizarry-Maldonado, Ciara Ramos-Torres, Yolanda Santiago, Carmen Caba-Virola and Daisy Irizarry- Hernandez filed an Amended Complaint on June 6, 2014 (Docket No. 5) against Defendants Luz Elina Rodríguez, Jorge Rivera-Hernández, Puerto Rico Department of Health, National Building Maintenance Corp., Management Consultants and Computer Services, Laura Tricoche, Blanca Rodríguez, Edwin Carmona and Associates, Edwin Carmona and Genesis Security (collectively, , all in their official and personal capacities, alleging political discrimination. 1

Plaintiffs bring this action under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; Puerto Rico Law No. 100 of 1959, 29 L.P.R.A. § 146, et seq.; Puerto Rico Law 80 of 1976, 29 L.P.R.A. § 185a, et seq.; Articles 1802 and 1803 of the Civil Code, 31 L.P.R.A. §5141-5142; and Sections 1, 2, 4,

1 On January 20, 2015, the Court entered a Partial Judgment (Docket No. 75) claims against Defendants Management Consultants and Computer Services, Laura Tricoche and Blanca Rodríguez without prejudice. MARY JESSICA PAGAN-GARCIA, et al., Plaintiffs, v. LUZ ELINA RODRIGUEZ, et al., Defendants.

6, and 7 of Article II of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 2

I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 3 Plaintiffs worked at the Center for Diagnostic Treatment of , performing non-managerial functions, before being discharged or transferred. Plaintiffs were all employed by Private Contractors, 4

who provide essential services, such as nursing, billing, security, and maintenance, at the CDT.

Plaintiffs are all affiliated with the New Progressive Party and actively participated in the November 2012 elections. According to Plaintiffs, their political ideologies were well known to all Defendants.

Defendant Luz Elina Rodríguez works at the Department of Health as a Regional Director, and serves as Defendant Jorge Rivera- -Hernández was named Administrator of the CDT in the aftermath of the 2012 General Elections, a position he previously held following the 2000 General Elections.

Plaintiffs claim that, immediately after the results of the November 6, 2012 general election, they were subjected to political 2 plemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1367. 3 The facts outlined below are neither exhaustive nor indicative of all the factual allegations set forth in the complaint. The facts, as outlined, simply relate to the arguments set forth in the pending motions to dismiss. 4 The Private Contractors are Defendants National Building Maintenance Corp.

harassment at the hands of Defendant Rivera-Hernández, who openly Defendant Rivera-Hernández repeatedly threatened NPP affiliated employees by warning them that they would be fired and replaced with members of the Popular

Defendant Rivera- June/July 2013, when Plaintiffs were either discharged from their employment without just cause or transferred to inferior positions. The Private Contractors immediately replaced Plaintiffs with individuals affiliated with the PDP and informed several Plaintiffs that they had been terminated at Defendant Rivera- who ordered that PDP affiliated individuals be hired in their place. 5

and/or transfers, Plaintiff Pagán- Director, Defendant Luz Elina Rodríguez, to complain about Defendant

Rivera- After Plaintiff Pagán- provided a detailed explanation of the events in question, Defendant Rodríguez indicated that she would not do anything about the layoffs because Defendant Rivera-Hernández was an important figure within the PDP.

On November 14, 2014, Defendants Puerto Rico Department of Health and Luz Elina Rodríguez filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 48). Therein, Defendant Rodríguez argues, inter alias, that Plaintiffs failed to establish that she participated in the alleged 5 It is worth noting that the Private Contractors work on a contractual basis with the Department of Health. Hence, a failure on their part to accommodate Defendant Rivera- could potentially result in the non- renewal of their services contracts.

adverse employment action, as the facts demonstrate that Plaintiffs had already been removed from their positions when Defendant Rodríguez became aware of the purported discriminatory conduct. Additionally, s as a matter of law, as Plaintiffs were not employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Health. Furthermore, Defendants accentuate that all claims against the Department of Health and the individual Defendants in their official capacity for monetary damages are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Lastly, Defendant Rodríguez contends that she is entitled to qualified immunity, as the evidence fails to establish a violation of a statutory and/or constitutional right as a result of her conduct.

On December 22, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Response in Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss at Dockets 36 and 48 (Docket No. 64) asserting that Defendant Rodríguez subjected Plaintiffs to adverse employment actions when she failed to rehire them after being confronted with evidence surrounding their unconstitutional terminations. In sum, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant Rodríguez condoned Defendant Rivera-Herná Furthermore, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant Rodríguez was well-aware

of their political affiliations and that their Due Process claims must stand, as Defendant Rivera-Hernández utilized the contractual relationship between the Department of Health and the Private

accentuate that Defendant Rodríguez is not entitled to qualified immunity given that her Case 3:14-cv-01385-DRD Document 89 Filed 08/27/15 Page 4 of 22 constitutional rights. Lastly, Plaintiffs clarify that they are not seeking monetary damages against the government defendants in their official capacity, only injunctive relief.

On February 18, 2015, Defendants Edwin Carmona and Edwin Carmona & Associates filed a Motion for Joinder (Docket No. 77) regarding the Motion to Dismiss filed at Docket Entry 36. In essence, the Carmona Defendants seek dismissal of


On March 9, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss Filed by Co-Defendants Edwin Carmona and Edwin Carmona & Associates (Docket No. 79) arguing that Plaintiffs Ciara Ramos-Torres and Yolanda Santiago-Beltrán were prematurely terminated by the Carmona Defendants at the request of Defendant Rivera- Hernández. Plaintiffs aver that the Carmona Defendants assisted the new PDP administration in firing NPP affiliated employees in order to maintain their contracts with the Puerto Rico Department of Health. However, Plaintiffs concede that their Articles 1802 and 1803 claims should be dismissed.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW FOR MOTIONS TO DISMISS Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires plaintiffs to

Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a plaintiff must

See Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12

complaint relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the

allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) (citation omitted). Thus, a plaintiff must, and is now required to, present allegations that order to comply with the requirements of Rule 8(a). Id. at 570; see

e.g. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).

When in a two-step process under the current context- standard established by Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, and Iqbal, 556 U.S.

icient facts that comply with the basic elements of the cause of action. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677- factually insufficient to substantiate the required elements of a

Bivens claim, leaving the complaint with only conclusory statements). and factually threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of

action. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Maldonado v. Fontanes, 568 F.3d 263,

268 (1st Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. 678) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

Under the second step of the inquiry, the Court must determine whether, based upon all assertions that were not discarded under the Iqbal, 556 U.S. 679. This -

which relief may be granted, or, conversely, whether dismissal under

Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate. Id.

must allege sufficient facts to show that he has a plausible Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo, 590 F.3d 31, 41 -pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.

8(a)(2)). Furthermore, such inferences must be at least as plausible Id. at 679-80 (citing Twombly

th Ocasio-Hernandez, 640 F.3d at 12, (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. 679).

The First Circuit has cautioned against equating plausibility with an analysis of the likely success on the merits, affirming that Sepúlveda-

, 628 F.3d 25, 30 (1st Cir. 2010)

(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Ocasio-Hernandez, 640 F.3d at 12 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. 679); see Twombly - pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears that a recovery is see Ocasio-Hernandez, 640 F.3d at 12 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at llegations,

make-or-break standard . . . is that the combined allegations, taken as true, must state a plausible, [but] not a merely conceivable, case Sepúlveda-Villarini, 628 F.3d at 29. Additionally, a district court may not weigh evidence in deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). See Massachusetts Delivery Ass n v. Coakley, 671 F.3d 33, 39 n. 6 (2012)(emphasizing that a primary difference between a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) is that, under Rule 12(b)(1), a court may weigh the evidence and make factual determinations).

will likely not survive a motion to dismiss. Aulson v. Blanchard, 83 F.3d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1996). Similarly, unadorned factual assertions as to the elements of the cause of action are inadequate as well. Penalbert-Rosa v. Fortuno-Burset, 631 F.3d 592 (1st Cir. 2011). not in the form of admissible evidence, would likely be enough at [the motion to dismiss] stage; pure Id. at 596; see Iqbal Case 3:14-cv-01385-DRD Document 89 Filed 08/27/15 Page 8 of 22 clear, we do not reject [] bald allegations on the ground that they are unrealistic or nonsensical. . . . It is the conclusory nature of [the] allegations, rather than their extravagantly fanciful nature, see Mendez Internet Mgmt. Servs. v. Banco Santander de P.R., 621 F.3d 10, 14 (1st Cir. 2010) (The Twombly and Iqbal standards require District Courts to However, merely parroting the elements of a cause of action is insufficient. Ocasio- Hernandez, 640 F.3d at 12 (citing Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo, 590 F.3d 31, 49 (1st Cir. 2009)).

The First Circuit recently outlined two considerations for district courts to note when analyzing a motion to dismiss. García- Catalán v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 104 (1st Cir. 2013). First, a complaint modeled on Form 11 of the Appendix of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which contains sufficient facts to make the claim plausible is ordinarily enough to surpass the standard prescribed under Twombly-Iqbal. Id. at 104. Second, district courts should

Id. (m be expected that the [plaintiff], without the benefit of discovery,

alleged injury.)(internal citations and quotations omitted).

III. LEGAL ANALYSIS A. Section 1983 Claims

Section 1983 does not create any independent substantive rights; Section 1983 is only a procedural vehicle to vindicate constitutional and other federal statutory violations brought about by state actors. See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 145, n.3 (1979)( . is not itself a source of substantive rights, but [merely provides]

Albright v. Oliver, 210 U.S. 266 (1994); Lockhart-Bembery v. Sauro,

498 F.3d 69, 74 (1st Cir. 2007); Cruz-Erazo v. Rivera-Montañez, 212 F.3d 617 (1st Cir. 2000). Section 1983 merely provides a mechanism to remedy for deprivations of rights that are federally enshrined elsewhere. Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808 (1985). Section 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper

42 U.S.C. § 1983.

When assessing the imposition of liability under Section 1983, we a person acting under the color of state law; and (2) whether this

conduct deprived a person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured Gutierrez- Rodriguez v. Cartagena, 882 F.2d 553, 558 (1st Cir. 1989)(citing Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981)). Acting under color of state law requires that a in a § 1983 action have exercised

power possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988)(internal citations and quotations omitted).

In the instant case, all of the facts alleged by Plaintiffs transpired under the umbrella of the Department of Health, an executive agency of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. At all relevant times, Defendants were employed by, or received contracts from, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and acted in their official capacities. Furthermore, the alleged discrimination occurred within the scope of Defendants all six Plaintiffs worked under the supervision of Defendants. Further, the individual Defendants were acting under color of state law when the purported discriminatory conduct transpired, as the alleged discrimination was committed by employees of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico during the course of their employment with the Department of Health. Therefore, Section 1983 is an appropriate avenue to remedy the alleged conduct that

Although Section 1983 provides an avenue to remedy many depriva a federal forum for litigants who seek a remedy against a State for Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). The Eleventh Amendment bars lawsuits for monetary damages against a State in federal court, unless said State has waived its immunity or unless Congress has expressly overridden that immunity. See CONST. Amend. XI; Will, 491 U.S. at 66

(citing Welch v. Texas Dept. of Highways and Public Transportation, 483 U.S. 468, 472-473 (1987) (plurality opinion)); , a state official acting in his official capacity may be sued for

damages in a section 1983 action. Johnson v. Rodriguez, 943 F.2d 104, 108 (1st Cir. 1991)(emphasis ours). The reasoning follows that a suit against an official actor is a suit against his office, and by default a suit against the state. See Will, 491 U.S. at 71; Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471 (1985); Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-166 (1985). Puerto Rico has long been considered a state for Eleventh Amendment purposes. See Irizarry Mora v. Univ. of Puerto Rico, 647 F.3d 9 (1st Cir. 2011); Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. v. P.R. Aqueduct & Sewer Auth., 991 F.2d 935 (1st Cir. 1993). recovery of damages in a federal court against the Commonwealth of

Puerto Rico, and, by the same token, it bars the recovery of damages in official capacity suits brought against Puerto Rico officials where Culebras Enterprises Corp. v. Rivera Rios, 813 F.2d 506, 516 (1st Cir. 1987) (citing Ramirez v. P.R. Fire Service, 715 F.2d 694, 697 (1st Cir. 1983) and Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985)) (emphasis in the original); Maysonet Robles v. Cabrero, 323 F.3d 43 (1st Cir. 2003).

In the instant matter, Plaintiffs concede that they are not seeking monetary damages from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico nor any

of its employees in their official capacities. 6

We now proceed to analyze the constitutional violations alleged by Plaintiffs against Defendants in their personal capacities for monetary damages and in their official capacities for prospective injunctive relief.

a) The First Amendment The First and Fourteenth Amendments protect the rights of

Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 ate with the political .

Under the First Amendment, government officials are prohibited from taking an adverse employment action against a public employee because of the emplo political loyalty is a legitimate requirement for the position in question. See Rutan v. Republican Party of Ill., 497 U.S. 62, 75-76 (1990); Branti v. Finkel, 445 U.S. 507, 516-518 (1980); Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 372-73 (1976)(plurality opinion). Subject to the latter exception, government officials cannot discharge public employees simply because of their political affiliations. See Elrod, 427 U.S. at 350.

6 Prospective injunctive relief as an equitable remedy against defendants in their official capacity is not barred by the Eleventh Amendment, pursuant to Ex Parte Young Mills v. State of Me., 118 F.3d 37, 54 (1st Cir. 1997)(citing Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 68 (1985)). In Mills, the First Circuit Ex parte Young ... allows plaintiffs to avoid the Eleventh Amendment bar by naming a state officer in his official capacity Id. at 53 (emphasis ours). This is of particular relevance in the case at bar, as Plaintiffs seek reinstatement to their positions at the CDT in Adjuntas.

Additionally, [p]romotions, transfers, and recalls after layoffs based on political affiliation or support are an impermissible infringement on the First Amendment rights of public employees. Rutan, 497 U.S. at 75 (rejecting the ent of a

(citing Rutan v. Republican Party of Ill., 868 F.2d 943, 954-957 (7th Cir. 1989)). The First Amendment serves to protect the freedom of government employees to associate with a political party,

except in the most compelling circumstances. Id. at 76.

To succeed on a First Amendment political discrimination claim, a plaintiff must prove the plaintiff and defendant have opposing political affiliations, (2) that the defendant is aware of occurred, and (4) that political affiliation was a substantial or

motivating factor for Lamboy-Ortiz v. Ortiz-Velez, 630 F.3d 228, 239 (1st Cir. 2010). In order to survive the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff must make a fact specific showing that his political affiliation was a substantial or motivating factor in the employment decision. See Penalbert-Rosa v. Fortuno- Burset, 631 F.3d 592, 594 (1st Cir. 2011) (citing Montfort Rodríguez v. Rey Hernández, 504 F.3d 221, 224 25 (1st Cir. 2007)). Additionally, it is sufficient for plaintiffs to allege that they and defendants are affiliated to different political parties. See Ocasio-Hernandez, 640 F.3d at 13.

In the instant case, Defendant Rodríguez takes exception with the second and third factors outlined in Lamboy-Ortiz, i.e., that she was

undertake an adverse employment action against them. We address each argument in turn.

Under the second prong of the inquiry, Plaintiffs must show that Defendant Rodríguez was to the NPP. According to the complaint, Plaintiff Pagán-García met with Defendant Rodríguez, Defendant Rivera- ng the meeting, she complained about what had transpired at the CDT in Adjuntas and urged Defendant Rodríguez to immediately reinstate all Plaintiffs to their respective positions. During the conversation, Defendant Rodríguez was informed that all of the individuals who had been dismissed were affiliated with the NPP and had been replaced with members of the PNP. Defendant Rodríguez failed to remedy the situation, stating instead that she would not do anything about the layoffs because Defendant Rivera-Hernández was an important figure within the PDP. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have satisfied the second prong of the inquiry, having set forth sufficient factual allegations that, when taken as true under 12(b)(6) standards, demonstrate that Defendant Rodríguez was aware of NPP affiliation.

The third prong requires Plaintiffs to show that an adverse employment action occurred as a result of Defendant Rodríguez conduct. It is well settled that a government official cannot be held liable for the acts of a subordinate under the theory of respondeat

superior under Section 1983. See Maldonado-Denis v. Castillo Rodríguez, 23 F.3d 576 (1st Cir. 1994). However, supervisory liability may nevertheless attach if the plaintiff can establish that of the official, or from indirect conduct that amounts to condonation

Rodriguez-Garcia v. Miranda-Marin, 610 F.3d 756, 768 (1st Cir. 2010)(internal citations and quotations omitted).

dismissal or demotion, such as denials of promotions, transfers and

Welch v. Ciampa, 542 F.3d 927, 936 (1st Cir. 2008)(citing Rutan, 497 U.S. at 75).

As to prong three, Defendant Rodríguez argues that she did not after the alleged unlawful conduct had occurred. We disagree. When

Plaintiff Pagán-García approached Defendant Rodríguez about

position to rehire Plaintiffs, yet failed to do so for reasons that, on their face, appear political in nature. Defendant Rodríguez, as Regional Director at the Department of Health, had the power and obligation to reinstate Plaintiffs to their positions at the CDT in Adjuntas. Failing to do so constituted an adverse employment action.

Accordingly, the Court hereby DENIES Defendant motion claims.

b) The Fourteenth Amendment In the case at bar, the Carmona Defendants seek dismissal of develop their argument. 7

Claims, arguing that Plaintiffs were not state employees and, hence, did not have a property interest in their positions. Conversely, Plaintiffs aver that the right to hold private employment free from unreasonable government interference was violated by Defendant Rodríguez and the rest of her staff at the CDT when they ordered the Private Contractors to discharge Plaintiffs. Additionally, Plaintiffs aver that the Carmona Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment by assisting the PDP administration in achieving their unconstitutional objective of removing Plaintiffs from their position solely on the basis of their political affiliations. right to hold private employment and to pursue one's chosen profession free from unreasonable government interference is encapsulated in the liberty concept of the Due Process Clause. Mead v. Independence Ass'n, 684 F.3d 226, 232 (1st Cir. 2012)(citing Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474, 492, 79 S.Ct. 1400, 3 L.Ed.2d 1377 (1959); Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33, 38, 36 S.Ct. 7, 60 L.Ed. 131 (1915)). The right to hold private employment free from unreasonable government interference is implicated when the interference is direct and

7 motion to dismiss. The argument made therein against the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to the Carmona Defendants, as Genesis did not discharge its employee, Plaintiff Irizarry-Hernández, but simply transferred her to Ponce. In contrast, the Carmona Defendants discharged Plaintiffs Ramos-Torres and Santiago-Beltrán.

Id. (citing Helvey v. City of Maplewood, 154 F.3d 841, 843 44 (8th Cir. 1998) officials, through exercise of their regulatory authority over an

). In the case at bar, Plaintiffs aver that the government Defendants, especially Defendant Rivera-Hernández, took advantage of their contractual relationship with the Private Contractors and ordered their dismissals on the basis of their political affiliations. Plaintiffs contend that the Private Contracts fired and/or transferred them for fear of economic retribution regarding their service contracts. Hence, the Private Contractors allegedly assisted the PDP administration in discriminating against Plaintiffs in order to maintain their contracts with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, as admitted by some of the Private Contractors. The facts show that Commonwealth of Puerto Rico employees directly interfered with

government interference. They also demonstrate that the Carmona Defendants were complicit in depriving Plaintiffs of their Substantive Due Process rights. Hence, the Court hereby DENIES the Carmona Defendants and Defendant Rodríguez motions Claims.

c) Law 80- Wrongful Discharge Act 29 L.P.R.A. § 185, et seq., requires employers to compensate employees who are . A


Law 80 entitles employees discharged without just cause to a form formula based on the employee's salary and years of service. 29

L.P.R.A. §185g; Otero-Burgos v. Inter American University, 558 F.3d 1, 7-9 (1st Cir. 2009). However, if an employee is discharged with just cause, the employer will not be liable for payment of the severance under Law 80. 29 L.P.R.A. §§ 185a-185b. Law 80 establishes a presumption of unjust dismissal against employers. See Varela Teron, supra (citing Diaz v. Wyndham Hotel Corp., 155 D.P.R. 364, 378 (2001); Arce v. Martínez, 146 D.P.R. 215, 230-31 (1998); Delgado Zayas v. Hosp. Interamericano, 137 D.P.R. 643 (1994)). Under Law 80, if an employee brings a claim for wrongful discharge, the employer has the burden of proving that the dismissal was justified. See Varela Teron v. Banco Santander de Puerto Rico, 257 F.Supp.2d 454, 464-65 (D.P.R. 2003). Further instituted by an employee claiming the benefits [of Law 80], the

employer is bound to plead in his answer to the complaint the facts that led to the dismissal, and to prove that it was justified. ged

and alleges that his dismissal was unjustified, his employer must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the discharge was for good cause [as defined and limited Hoyos v. Telecorp Communications, Inc., 488 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 2007); see also

Alvarez-Fonseca v. Pepsi Cola of P.R. Bottling Co., 152 F.3d 17, 28 (1st Cir. 1998). In the instant case, the Carmona Defendants moved to dismiss any elaboration. As highlighted above, the facts alleged in the complaint show that Plaintiffs Ramos- Torres and Santiago-Beltran were terminated by the Carmona Defendants for politically oriented reasons at Defendant Rivera- behest. Absent evidence demonstrating that Plaintiffs Ramos-Torres and Santiago-Beltran were terminated for just cause, the Court cannot dismiss their Law 80 claims against the Carmona Defendants. Accordingly, the Carmona Defendants request for dismissal of DENIED.

d) Qualified Immunity Finally, Defendant Rodríguez asserts that she is entitled to qualified immunity for her actions. See Docket No. 48. The qualified

specter of damages liability for judgment calls made in a legally unce Ryder v. United States, 515 U.S. 177, 185 (1995). Maldonado v. Fontanes, 568 F.3d

263, 268 (1st Cir. 2009). Under this doctrine, entitlement to

statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 524 (1985) (citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)).

A two-part test shapes the qualified immunity inquiry. A court should deny a defendant qualified immunity if: (1) the facts a plaintiff has either alleged or shown establish a violation of a constitutional right; and (2) the constitutional right at issue was clearly established at the time of the defendant's alleged violation. Cortes-Reyes v. Salas-Quintana, 608 F.3d 41, 51 (1st Cir. 2010). Law is considered clearly established ruled that materially similar cond general constitutional rule already identified in the decisional law

Guillemard-Ginorio v. Contreras-Gomez, 585 F.3d 508, 527 (1st Cir. 2009); see also Jennings v. Jones, 499 F.3d 2, 16 (1st Cir. 2007). As to clearly established law concerning First Amendment claims, the this circuit and beyond precludes government officials from

dischar -motivated Acevedo-Garcia v. Monroig, 351 F.3d 547, 564 (1st Cir. 2003).

denies Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 48) on the basis of qualified immunity. First, Plaintiffs allegations, if proven at trial, clearly establish a constitutional violation, i.e., the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of political beliefs. Second, these rights were, without a doubt, clearly established at the time of the alleged discriminatory events pursuant to the cases cited herein, particularly as to a government entity ordering a termination

or doing nothing when a plaintiff s constitutional rights were trampled. Accordingly, Defendant Rodríguez is not entitled to qualified immunity.

IV. CONCLUSION For the aforementioned reasons, the Court hereby DENIES Defendant Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 48). Additionally, the

GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Process and Law 80 claims against the Carmona Defendants remain viable causes of action. Articles 1802 and 1803 against the Carmona Defendants are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. IT IS SO ORDERED. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, this 27th day of August, 2015. s/ Daniel R. Dominguez DANIEL R. DOMINGUEZ U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

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