of action under the State Due Process Clause.
Plaintiff argues that the New York Court of Appeals "implicitly if not explicitly" recognized a private right of action under the State Due Process Clause in Brown v. State of New York, 89 N.Y.2d 172, 652 N.Y.S.2d 223, 674 N.E.2d 1129 (1996). See Pl.'s Mem. at 4. In response, Municipal Defendants contend that "New York State courts would decline to imply a cause of action for violation of the [due process] provision" of the New York Constitution under the Brown analysis. Defs.' Mem. at 5. The Court agrees.
In Brown, the New York Court of Appeals recognized a "narrow remedy" against the State of New York for violations of the equal protection and search and seizure guarantees of the New York State Constitution. 89 N.Y.2d at 192. The claims in Brown arose out of a state police investigation following the attack of an elderly woman. Id. at 176. The class action complaint alleged that all "non-white" males found in the City of Oneonta were stopped and interrogated in violation of their rights under the equal protection and search and seizure clauses of the New York Constitution. Id.
In recognizing a private right of action for equal protection and search and seizure violations under the State Constitution, the Court of Appeals relied heavily upon the Supreme Court's analysis in Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619, 91 S. Ct. 1999 (1971). Brown, 89 N.Y.2d at 187-89.
In Bivens, the Supreme Court implied a private cause of action for damages against federal officials who violated the search and seizure provisions of the Fourth Amendment. 403 U.S. at 395.
The Brown court identified the rationale underlying Bivens as two-fold: (1) the protection of constitutional guarantees on their own terms "without being linked to some common-law or statutory tort," and (2) the "obligation to enforce these rights by ensuring that each individual receives an adequate remedy for [the] violation of a constitutional duty." 89 N.Y.2d at 187. The court explained that "if the remedy is not forthcoming from the political branches of government, then the courts must provide it by recognizing a damage remedy against the violators." Id.
The Brown court concluded that implying a damages remedy was "necessary" in order to ensure the full realization of the class plaintiffs' constitutional rights. 89 N.Y.2d at 189 (citing Bivens, 403 U.S. 388 at 406 (Harlan, J., concurring)). Because the plaintiffs presented no basis for obtaining prospective relief against the State, for them, as in Bivens, "it [was] damages or nothing." 89 N.Y.2d at 192 (citing Bivens, 403 U.S. at 410 (Harlan, J., concurring)). The court further explained that the remedies created by Congress and the Supreme Court had failed to reach State action "though it is on the local level that most law enforcement functions are performed and the greatest danger of official misconduct exists." Id. Accordingly, the Brown court held that, "by recognizing a narrow remedy for violations of sections 11 and 12 of article I of the State Constitution, we provide appropriate protection against official misconduct at the State level." Id.
The rationale of Brown is inapplicable in this case. Unlike Brown where the plaintiffs had no remedy against the State, Plaintiff has stated a viable Section 1983 claim against the Municipal Defendants for the alleged due process violations. Plaintiff's due process claims, therefore, have means for redress. Accordingly, the existence of alternative damage remedies under Section 1983 obviates the need to imply a private right of action under the State Due Process Clause. See, e.g., Remley v. State, 174 Misc. 2d 523, 665 N.Y.S.2d 1005, 1009 (Ct. Cl. 1997) (refusing to imply private right of action for violations of State Due Process Clause under Brown analysis because plaintiff had alternative remedies under state tort law); Taylor v. State of Rhode Island, 726 F. Supp. 895, 901 (D.R.I. 1989) (dismissing claim for damages under equal protection clause of Rhode Island State Constitution where plaintiff had alternative remedy under Title VII to address his employment grievance); cf. Turpin v. Mailet, 591 F.2d 426 (2d Cir. 1979) (en banc) (refusing to imply Bivens action under federal constitution where plaintiffs had remedy under Section 1983).
Because the State Due Process Clause claim would not survive a motion to dismiss, the Court denies Plaintiff's request to amend his complaint in order to add this futile claim.
The Court hereby denies Plaintiff's motion to amend the Fourth Amended Complaint to claim for damages under the due process clause of the New York State Constitution.
It is So Ordered.
Dated: March 1, 1998
New York, New York
Mary Johnson Lowe
United States District Judge