Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

RONIGER v. MCCALL

December 1, 1999

GEORGE P. RONIGER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
H. CARL MCCALL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMPTROLLER OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND ROSEMARY SCANLON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS STATE DEPUTY COMPTROLLER FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.

OPINION

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 denied.

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.

The lawsuit in which Roniger had been called to testify involved accusations by former OSDC personnel that they had been improperly fired because of McCall's alleged politicization of the OSC, and because of their pointed criticism of the City's budget in a draft OSC report. Several fired employees filed suit against McCall in federal court for wrongful termination and retaliation, claiming that they had been discharged for truthfully assessing the fiscal position of New York City at a time when McCall had political reasons to downplay the City's financial difficulties. See Westmeyer v. McCall, No. 93 Civ. 8226(JSM) (hereinafter the "Westmeyer Lawsuit"); see also Fry v. McCall, No. 95 Civ. 1915(JFK). The plaintiffs in the Westmeyer Lawsuit claimed that they had been discharged for political reasons, and that McCall had sought to influence their reports in order to help Dinkins' reelection chances.

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
    plan?
  A: As I recall from a distance, it was my view that
    the letter took too soft a position vis-a-vis the
    City.

Q: In what respect?

  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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.