194-95. Because the state court has not decided the plaintiffs
section 349 claim on the merits, this Court still retains
subject matter jurisdiction over the claim under the
However, the Court must abstain from considering this claim
under the Younger abstention doctrine. See Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971).
"Abstention is warranted where a state judicial proceeding is
ongoing, implicates important state interests, and affords an
adequate opportunity to raise constitutional challenges." Doe
v. State of Connecticut, Dep't. of Health Servs., 75 F.3d 81,
85 (2d Cir. 1996). The doctrine derives from the recognition
that interference by a federal court with a state proceeding,
"would entail unseemly failure to give effect to the principle
that state courts have the solemn responsibility, equally, with
the federal courts to guard, enforce, and protect every right
granted or secured by the Constitution of the United States."
Temple of the Lost Sheep, Inc. v. Abrams, 930 F.2d 178, 183
(2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 866, 112 S.Ct. 193, 116
L.Ed.2d 153 (1991).
The Court finds that there is a state proceeding currently
pending before the Supreme Court, Suffolk County. As noted, the
Second Department held that Scavo had stated a claim for a
violation of section 349 of the General Business Law. Neither
party has indicated that the state proceedings with regard to
Scavo's section 349 claim have concluded. Accordingly, the Court
finds there is an "ongoing state proceeding" with regard to this
matter which satisfies the first element of the Younger test.
As for the second requirement, the Court finds that the state
proceeding implicates important state interests. In New Orleans
Pub. Serv. Inc. v. Council of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 109
S.Ct. 2506, 105 L.Ed.2d 298 (1989), the Supreme Court noted that
in determining the substantiality of the state's interest in its
proceeding, a court must "not look narrowly to [the state's]
interest in the outcome of the particular case," but rather, to
the "importance of the generic proceedings to the state." The
state court proceeding is a civil action brought to enforce
adherence to the state's business laws. Indeed, New York has an
interest to prohibit deceptive business practices within the
state, especially in the insurance industry. See, e.g., SEC v.
National Securities, Inc., 393 U.S. 453, 459, 89 S.Ct. 564, 21
L.Ed.2d 668 (1969) (holding that "states ha[ve] a free hand in
regulating the dealings between insurers and their
As for the third and final requirement, the Court finds that
the plaintiff does have an adequate opportunity to raise
constitutional challenges in the state proceeding. However, the
plaintiff apparently have made no attempt to do so. Accordingly,
the Court finds that the third requirement for the Younger
abstention doctrine is satisfied. As such, the plaintiffs claim
for a violation of section 349 of the General Business Law is
stayed pending the outcome of the state court proceedings.
Next, the plaintiffs 57th cause of action for punitive damages
is dismissed for failing to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. It is well settled that there is no separate cause
of action for punitive damages exists. See Rocanova v.
Equitable Life Assurance Soc'y of the United States, 83 N.Y.2d 603,
616-17, 612 N.Y.S.2d 339, 344-45, 634 N.E.2d 940 (1994).
The New York Court of Appeals has held that a demand for
punitive damages "is parasitic and possesses no viability absent
its attachment to a substantive cause of action." Id.; see
Gilman v. BHC Securities, Inc., 104 F.3d 1418, 1431 (2d Cir.
1997). Bologna has not attached his
claim for punitive damages to a substantive cause of action.
Moreover, even if he had, the only substantive claim that has
survived the motion to dismiss is his claim for deceptive
business practices, but that cause of action has been stayed
pending the outcome of the state proceedings. Because the Court
must construe Bologna's complaint to raise every claim that it
asserts, the Court interprets Bologna's cause of action for
punitive damages to be attached to his claim for deceptive
business practices. Applying the Younger abstention doctrine,
the Court concludes that the cause of action for punitive
damages is stayed pending the outcome of the state case.
I. The Rudy Defendants
As noted, one of the two motions before the Court is that
submitted by the Rudy defendants. The causes of action that the
Court has already dismissed are the only claims that the
plaintiff has asserted with respect to the Rudy defendants. The
deceptive business practices claim and the attached punitive
damages claim are brought only with respect to the Allstate and
Sears defendants. Accordingly, the motion to dismiss the amended
complaint by the Rudy defendants is granted.
J. The Individual Defendants
The deceptive business practices cause of action and attached
punitive damages claim, as well as the factual allegations
supporting them, do not contain any specific allegations with
respect, to individual defendants North, Loue, Meehan, Inguanti,
and Pace. Accordingly, the Court grants those defendants'
motions to dismiss the amended complaint against them.
Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, it is hereby
ORDERED, that the Rudy defendants' motion to dismiss the
amended complaint is GRANTED, and it is further
ORDERED, that the motion by individual defendant North,
Loue, Meehan, Inguanti, and Pace to dismiss the amended
complaint as against them is GRANTED, and it is further
ORDERED, that the motion by the Allstate and Sears
defendants to dismiss the amended complaint is GRANTED, in
part and DENIED in part, such that all causes of action except
that for deceptive business practices and punitive damages are
dismissed; and it is further
ORDERED, that the 56th and 57th causes of action for a
violation of General Business Law § 349, and for punitive
damages are stayed pending the outcome of the state court
proceedings; and it is further
ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Court is directed to amend
the caption of the complaint to read as follows:
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