The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERICK SCULLIN, Chief Judge, District
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff's father initially brought this action pro se on behalf of
himself and Plaintiff, asserting claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq., and the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution against a number
of individuals who worked for Defendant Canastota Central School District
("CCSD"), Defendant CCSD School Board members, Defendant CCSD itself, and
Defendant Thomas Sobol, the Commissioner of Education of the State of New
The CCSD Defendants moved for summary judgment and Defendant Sobol
moved for judgment on the pleadings. On April 14, 1997, this Court
granted Defendants' motions and dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
See Wenger v. Canastota Cent. Sch. Dist., 961 F. Supp. 416 (N.D.N.Y.
1997), affdin part, vacated and remanded, 146 F.3d 123 (2d Cir. 1998).*fn2
Plaintiff's father appealed the dismissal to the Second Circuit.
The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the action in its entirety
as to Plaintiff's father's claims. However, the court held that it was
clear that Plaintiff's father could not represent Plaintiff and that this
Court should have focused on Plaintiff's need for counsel. Therefore, the
Second Circuit vacated this Court's judgment as to Plaintiff and remanded
so that this Court could consider whether appointment of counsel was
appropriate. See Wenger, 146 F.3d at 125-126. This Court referred the question of appointment of counsel to Magistrate
In an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the
rights of a disabled plaintiff, Magistrate Judge DiBianco. requested
that an attorney evaluate the case to determine whether appointment
of counsel was appropriate. In October 2001, after reviewing counsel's
confidential report, Magistrate Judge DiBianco. appointed counsel based
upon counsel's statement that he believed that "some" of Plaintiff's
claims were "potentially meritorious" and may not have been advanced
in an appropriate manner.
On May 27, 2003, the parties filed a stipulation dismissing Plaintiff's
father as a plaintiff and dismissing all Defendants from this action with
prejudice, except for Defendant CCSD and Defendant Sobol. See Dkt. No.
80. In addition, counsel moved to amend Plaintiff's father's original pro
se complaint in an attempt to raise properly the "potentially
On March 1, 2004, Magistrate Judge DiBianco. issued an Order and
Report-Recommendation in which he denied Plaintiff's motion to amend the
complaint and recommended that this Court sua sponte grant summary
judgment to Defendants and dismiss the complaint in its entirety.
Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's objections to that Order and
A. Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint
Generally, a court, in exercising its discretion whether to grant
leave to amend, must act pursuant to Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure and grant such a motion "freely . . . when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a); see also Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). In deciding whether to grant a motion to
amend, a court must examine whether there has been "`undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive'" on the part of the movant. See Evans v.
Syracuse City Sch. Dist., 704 F.2d 44, 46 (2d Cir. 1983) (quotation
omitted). A court must also consider whether the amendment would be
unduly prejudicial to the opposing party. See Kovian v. Fulton County
Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 86-CV-154, 1992 WL 106814, *1 (N.D.N.Y. May 13,
1992) (quotation omitted). Finally, "[w]here it appears that granting
leave to amend is unlikely to be productive" or that the amendment would
be fufile, it is not an abuse of discretion for a court to deny leave to
amend. See Ruffolo v. Oppenheimer & Co., 987 F.2d 129, 131 (2d Cir.
1993) (citations omitted).
Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint contains two causes of action,
one against Defendant CCSD and the other against Defendant Sobol.
Plaintiff brings both of these claims pursuant to § 1983 for alleged
violations of the IDEA and seeks only monetary damages. Magistrate Judge
DiBianco. concluded that allowing Plaintiff to file this amended
complaint would be fufile. ...