The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.
Defendants H. Carl McCall ("McCall"), Comptroller of the State
of New York, and Rosemary Scanlon ("Scanlon") (collectively the
"Defendants") have moved, pursuant to Rule 56(b), Fed.R.Civ.P.,
for partial summary judgment dismissing the conspiracy claim
brought by plaintiff George P. Roniger ("Roniger") under
42 U.S.C. § 1985(2). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
Facts and Prior Proceedings
The facts, parties, and prior proceedings in this case have
been set forth more fully in a prior opinion of the Court,
familiarity with which is assumed. See Roniger v. McCall,
22 F. Supp.2d 156 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (Roniger I).
On October 29, 1997, Roniger filed his original complaint in
this action, asserting causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and § 1985(2). Roniger's First Amended Complaint (the
"Complaint") was filed on May 8, 1998.
From May of 1993 until approximately December 1, 1994, Roniger
was employed in the Office of the State Deputy Comptroller for
the City of New York ("OSDC") — a division of the Office of the
State Comptroller ("OSC"). As was set forth in more detail in
Roniger I, Roniger has alleged in this action that he was
terminated from his position at the OSDC as a result of his
politically embarrassing statements in deposition testimony
concerning a June 29, 1993 letter (the "June 1993 letter") that
Comptroller McCall sent to then — Mayor Dinkins in connection
with the City's efforts to prevent a downgrading of its bond
rating. In that letter, McCall made a variety of representations
to Dinkins concerning the state of the City's budget. The City
ultimately utilized the Comptroller's positive statements in that
letter in remonstrating for the maintenance of its "A-" bond
rating by Standard & Poors.
On August 12, 1994, approximately three months before McCall
faced reelection for Comptroller, the plaintiffs in the Westmeyer
Lawsuit deposed Roniger. Roniger was questioned at length about
the June 1993 Letter, and it was during this questioning that his
only criticism of McCall was voiced. As the deposition transcript
reveals, Roniger expressed the view that the Comptroller's June
1993 letter was too soft on the City:
Q: Do you know whether the portions of the letter
that you saw conformed to the statements contained
in the various reports sent out by the
Comptroller's office concerning the City financial
A: As I recall from a distance, it was my view that
the letter took too soft a position vis-a-vis the
A: I can't answer that question because I don't
remember the language. It's been too long.
Q: I don't want to put words in your mouth. You are
here to testify, not me. But do you mean it was not
critical enough of the City's financial plan?
A: In my view, the City's position was somewhat more
difficult than what I recall the letter suggested.
Shortly thereafter, on September 14, 1994, the Bond Buyer, a
newspaper serving the New York financial community, published an
article headlined, "State Comptroller Downplayed Plight of N.Y.C.
Budget Woes, Top ...