SECSYS, LLC v. Vigil, No. 11-2006 (10th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Former New Mexico state treasurer Defendant-Appellee Robert Vigil and his former deputy, co-Defendant Ann Marie Gallegos allegedly hatched a plan to find work for his political rival's wife so that the rival couldn't challenge him in the next election. According to the complaint, Defendants solicited bids for a state contract and insisted that any interested contractor hire Samantha Sais (the wife) on any terms she wished. Plaintiff SECSYS agreed to the plan in principle, but ultimately could not come to terms with Ms. Sais. When negotiations broke down, Defendants allegedly chose another contractor who agreed to Ms. Sais' terms. Mr. Vigil was ultimately indicted, convicted, and sentenced to prison for his role in this scheme. Plaintiff sought damages from Mr. Vigil and Ms. Gallegos in their individual capacities for violating its Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection for discriminating against the company when it refused to acquiesce to Ms. Sais' demands: "So that leaves SECSYS with the remarkable argument that it was discriminated against in violation of the federal Constitution not because it was unwilling to pay, but because it was willing to pay only some of an allegedly extortionate demand." Upon review, the Tenth Circuit found no evidence that Defendants enforced Ms. Sais' demands with the purpose of discriminating against those who failed to meet them: "every indication in the record before [the Court] suggest[ed] the defendants would have been just as happy if SECSYS had met its full demand as it was when another bidder eventually did so." The Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Defendants.