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THREAT v. RUSSI

February 20, 1992

MARK THREAT, Plaintiff,
v.
PAUL RUSSI, NORMAN LEWIS, THOMAS A. COUGHLIN III, and VERONICA D. THOMAS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL A. TELESCA

 INTRODUCTION

 Pro se plaintiff Mark Threat filed this action on August 22, 1991, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that his parole was revoked in violation of his fourth and fourteenth amendment rights. The defendants in this action are Paul Russi, *fn1" the Chairman of the New York State Board of Parole; Norman Lewis, plaintiff's parole officer; Thomas Coughlin, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services; and Veronica Thomas, one of the members of the Parole Board that revoked plaintiff's parole.

 On October 2, 1991, this court determined that the portion of plaintiff's § 1983 action which sought release from custody should be considered a petition for habeas corpus, and dismissed that portion of the complaint due to the plaintiff's failure to allege that he had exhausted all state remedies. Threat v. Russi, Civ. No. 91-6346T, at 2 - 3 (W.D.N.Y., October 2, 1991). Plaintiff was permitted to proceed with that portion of his action which seeks money damages for alleged wrongful confinement subsequent to the parole revocation. Defendants now move to dismiss the remainder of plaintiff's complaint on the grounds that he has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b). For the reason's discussed below, defendants' motion is granted and the complaint is dismissed.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his complaint which, for the purposes of this motion, will be taken as true:

 While on parole from a previous sentence, plaintiff was arrested in Buffalo, New York and charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a dangerous weapon, unlawful imprisonment, driving while intoxicated and various other traffic offenses. A co-defendant was also charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a dangerous weapon, unlawful imprisonment. In addition, the co-defendant was charged with robbery and sexual abuse. The charges against Mr. Threat were heard by a Grand Jury, which did not return an indictment against him.

 DISCUSSION

 A. Defendants Thomas Coughlin and Raul Russi:

 In order to state a claim for a constitutional violation under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege personal involvement of each defendant. McKinnon v. Patterson, 568 F.2d 930, 934 (2d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1087, 55 L. Ed. 2d 792, 98 S. Ct. 1282 (1978); Ayers v. Coughlin, 780 F.2d 205, 210 (2d Cir. 1985). The mere fact that the defendant was "in a high position of authority is an insufficient basis for the imposition of personal liability." McKinnon, 568 F.2d at 934; Al-Jundi v. Estate of Rockefeller, 885 F.2d 1060, 1065 (2d Cir. 1989). Nor does the doctrine of respondeat superior suffice to demonstrate personal responsibility of a defendant. Al-Jundi, 885 F.2d at 1065.

 Plaintiff apparently bases his claim against defendant Thomas Coughlin on the fact that he has legal custody of plaintiff. Plaintiff's claim against Russi is apparently based upon the fact that Russi is the Chairman of the New York State Board of Parole and that he is the employer of defendant Veronica Thomas. Plaintiff does not assert that either Chairman Russi or Commissioner Coughlin were in any way directly involved with the decision to revoke his parole. Accordingly, plaintiff's complaint fails to state a cause of action against defendants Coughlin and Russi.

 B. Defendant Veronica Thomas:

 Defendant claims that Parole Board Member Veronica Thomas violated his constitutional rights by relying on false testimony when revoking his parole. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Second Circuit has definitively answered the question of whether state parole officials enjoy absolute immunity from suit. This court and other district courts in the Second Circuit have, however, adopted the view of several other circuits, that state parole officials do enjoy absolute or quasi-judicial immunity when acting in their official capacity. Vinson v. Barkley, Civ-85-1451T, at 3 - 4 (W.D.N.Y. June 30, 1986) (citing Sellars v. Procunier, 641 F.2d 1295, 1301 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1102, 70 L. Ed. 2d 644, 102 S. Ct. 678 (1981)); Doe v. United Social and Mental Health Services, 670 F. Supp. 1121, 1124 (D. Conn. ...


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