The opinion of the court was delivered by: McAVOY, Chief Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION & ORDER
Plaintiffs Richard Wallikas ("Wallikas") and Raymond Schaffer
("Schaffer") (collectively "Plaintiffs") commenced the instant
litigation against Defendants David Harder ("Harder"), Broome
County Sheriff, in his individual and official capacities, the
County of Broome (the "County"), and Gerald W. Kellar ("Kellar"),
Broome County Undersheriff, in his individual and official
capacities (collectively "Defendants"), asserting claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of Plaintiffs'
constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments
of the United States Constitution, and pendant state law claims
under the New York Constitution and N.Y. CIV. SERV. LAW § 75-b.
Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants retaliated
against them, by affecting the terms and conditions of their
employment, in connection with Plaintiffs' participation in the
recent election for the Broome County Sheriff's position.
Presently before the Court are Defendants' motion to dismiss
certain claims pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(2) and (6).
Because Defendants' motion raises various procedural issues that
do not address the facts or merits underlying Plaintiffs' claims,
the Court declines to elaborate on the specific facts and events
alleged in the Complaint.
A. Official Capacity Claims Against Harder and Kellar
Defendants first argue that the official capacity claims
against Harder and Kellar should be dismissed because Plaintiffs
also name the County as a defendant in the action.
In general, claims against municipal officials in their
official capacities are really claims against the municipality
and, thus, are redundant when the municipality is also named as a
defendant. See, e.g., Busby v. City of Orlando, 931 F.2d 764,
766 (11th Cir. 1991) ("Because suits against a municipal officer
sued in his official capacity and direct suits against
municipalities are functionally equivalent, there no longer
exists a need to bring official-capacity actions against local
government officials, because local government units can be sued
directly (provided, of course, that the public entity receives
notice and an opportunity to respond)"); Harford v. County of
Broome, 1999 WL 615190, at *5-6 (N.D.N.Y. July 15, 1999);
Jeffes v. Barnes, 20 F. Supp.2d 404, 410-11 (N.D.N.Y. 1998);
Union Pacific R.R. v. Village of S. Barrington, 958 F. Supp. 1285,
1291 (N.D.Ill. 1997); Orange v. County of Suffolk,
830 F. Supp. 701, 706-07 (E.D.N.Y. 1993). As the Supreme Court noted
in Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d
473 U.S. at 165-66, 105 S.Ct. 3099 (quotations omitted).
In the present action, Plaintiffs bring both official-capacity
claims against the individual defendants and a Monell-type
claim against the County. In addressing the issue of whether a
sheriff is an agent or officer of the county such that the county
may be liable for the unlawful actions of the sheriff, this Court
recently held that it:
[N]eed not delve into this [issue] . . . to decide
the instant motion because the former provision of
N.Y. State Const. Art. XIII, § 13 and the cases
interpreting it "do not stand for the proposition
that a county cannot be held liable for unlawful acts
that the county itself commits when it establishes or
implements unlawful policies; rather, they hold that
a county is not vicariously liable for the tortious
acts of a sheriff." Weber v. Dell, 804 F.2d 796,
802 (2d Cir. 1986), [cert. denied sub nom., County
of Monroe v. Weber, 483 U.S. 1020, 107 S.Ct. 3263,
97 L.Ed.2d 762 (1987)]. . . . Thus, when the sheriff
or his deputies are acting as final policymakers or
pursuant to County policy or custom, the County may
be held liable for their actions [that result in
violations of a plaintiff's constitutional rights].
Harford, 1999 WL 615190, at *5.
Accordingly, based upon the distinction between personal capacity
and official capacity suits, and because Plaintiffs commenced the
instant litigation against both Defendants Harder and Kellar in
their official capacities and against the County, ...