United States District Court, Southern District of New York
April 12, 1990
RAFAEL SANTIAGO, PLAINTIFF,
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES AND DR. MELVIN J. STEINHART, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert P. Patterson, Jr., District Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER
Defendants New York Department of Corrections (DOCS) and Dr.
Melvin J. Steinhart (Steinhart) move for reargument, pursuant to
Local Rule 3(j) of the Southern District of New York, of this
Court's Opinion of November 29, 1989 725 F. Supp. 780 (the
Opinion). The Opinion denied in part defendants' motions to
dismiss the complaint of Rafael Santiago (Santiago), a hispanic
employee of DOCS seeking redress for damages incurred as a result
of alleged federal constitutional violations by defendants.
Under Rule 3(j), a motion for reargument must "set forth
concisely the matters or controlling decisions which counsel
believes the court has overlooked." The Court finds that the
arguments in defendants' memoranda fail to satisfy this standard
and therefore the motion is denied.
DOCS argues that the Opinion neglected to take into account
holdings limiting the viability of direct actions under the
Fourteenth Amendment against a State agency. DOCS relies on
rulings that when a claim against a State falls within the scope
of Section 1983 then the claim cannot be brought directly under
the Fourteenth Amendment. Those cases are not applicable here,
because plaintiff's claim against the State agency is not within
the scope of Section 1983. A Section 1983 claim against the State
is unavailable here because the intention of Congress in enacting
Section 1983 was not to include State agencies within the term
"person."*fn1 See Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, ___
U.S. ___, 109 S.Ct. 2304, 2308, 105 L.Ed.2d 45 (1989). After a
similar Supreme Court holding in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167,
191, 81 S.Ct. 473, 486, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961) ("we cannot believe
the word `person' was used in this particular Act [Section 1983]
to include" municipalities), that Section 1983 did not cover
suits against municipalities, the Second Circuit made the
analogous ruling that a direct action under the Fourteenth
Amendment was permitted against municipalities. Turpin v.
Mailet, 579 F.2d 152, 156-58 (2d Cir. 1978) (en banc) (Turpin
I).*fn2 See also Ellis v. Blum, 643 F.2d 68,
83-84 (2d Cir. 1981) (direct constitutional action against state
DOCS also contends that the Opinion incorrectly ruled that the
Eleventh Amendment did not bar all of plaintiff's claims, because
plaintiff may try to obtain recovery in the New York Court of
Claims. That argument rests on the meritless assumption that the
Fourteenth Amendment's intention was to have State violations of
the federal equal protection clause referred to state forums.
Dr. Steinhart's submissions set forth no new arguments. The
Court refers counsel to the cases cited in the Opinion and to
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40
(1988), for explanations of why the allegations against Dr.
Steinhart fall within the definitions of state action and "under
color of state law."
Since defendants have failed to identify controlling decisions
or other matters which the Court overlooked in the Opinion, the
motions are denied in their entirety.