cognizable first amendment claim against Defendant Kenneth Maxik.
Defendant Tae-Sik Choi, M.D. is an active medical staff member of the Hospital and Chief of Obstetrics. (Complaint P19). Dr. Choi is the only other obstetrician/gynecologist in the Massena area. (Complaint P66). Plaintiffs' Complaint mentions Choi as the benefactor of defendants' double standard, whereby minuscule or non-existent violations of hospital regulations, by-laws or protocols were used to harass, penalize and damage Franzon while more substantial violations by Choi were ignored. However, plaintiffs' Complaint neither mentions Choi as a member of the Board of Managers, the MEC, or as an individual intentionally and maliciously making false statements to Franzon's patients, potential patients, and the community at large. That Choi is a member of the Hospital, is too vague and conclusory an allegation to withstand defendants' Motion to dismiss.
ii. Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Claim
It is plaintiffs' contention that the Complaint states an actionable equal protection claim because Franzon was deprived of equal protection of the law or equal privileges and immunities under the law. The facts alleged, however, do not substantiate his claim. It may very well be that Franzon's outspoken behavior prompted the defendants' actions, nevertheless, a simple showing of unequal application of the law does not give rise to an equal protection claim, even if it is malicious. Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1, 88 L. Ed. 497, 64 S. Ct. 397 (1944). Indeed, the Supreme Court acknowledged that an equal protection cause of action may not be construed as "general federal tort law." Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 101-02, 29 L. Ed. 2d 338, 91 S. Ct. 1790 (1971). Rather, a plaintiff must demonstrate "some racial, or perhaps otherwise class-based invidiously discriminatory animus behind the conspirators' actions." Griffen, 403 U.S. at 102. While equal protection claims may encompass more than racially motivated conspiracies, animus based generally upon the economic views or commercial interests of a class are beyond the scope of equal protection. United Bhd. Of Carpenters & Joiners of America, Local 610 v. Scott, 463 U.S. 825, 837-39, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1049, 103 S. Ct. 3352 (1983). Accordingly, this Court rejects plaintiffs' equal protection claim against all named defendants.
C. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
Defendants have, alternatively, sought dismissal of the Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b), a court may convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment to be disposed of as provided in Rule 56 if "matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b). In the instant case, defendants have chosen to supplement their papers with supporting documents. However, the Court refuses to convert the present motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.
At this point in the litigation between the parties it would be premature to rule on the applicability of summary judgment absent further discovery. See United States v. Yonkers Bd. of Ed., 893 F.2d 498, 500 (2d Cir. 1990). Because summary judgment is a drastic device, it should not be granted where one party has yet to exercise its opportunities for pre-trial discovery. See, e.g., National Life Ins. v. Solomon, 529 F.2d 59 (2d Cir. 1975). Indeed, to do otherwise would be both premature and unwise. Klebanow v. Funston, 35 F.R.D. 518, 520 (S.D.N.Y. 1964) ("a decision of such importance should await the completion of pre-trial discovery").
D. Plaintiffs' State Claims
Having found federal jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims, under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), this Court has supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' pendant state law claims. Plaintiffs' supplemental state claims arise from the same case and controversy over which this Court has original jurisdiction. United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218, 86 S. Ct. 1130 (1966).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART defendants' motion to dismiss. It is therefore
ORDERED, that defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED with respect to defendants Kenneth Maxik and Tae-Sik Choi, M.D., and DENIED with respect to all remaining named defendants.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
August 8, 1997
Binghamton, New York
HON. THOMAS J. McAVOY
Chief U.S. District Judge
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