United States District Court, S.D. New York
September 17, 2004.
ADA RODRIGUEZ, MARLENE BETANCOURT, RAFAEL FUERTES VARGAS, and ALBERTO BETANCOURT, and all others similarly situated or affected, et al., Plaintiffs,
THE TRUSTEES OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, a/k/a COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS GRIESA, Senior District Judge
After a series of disqualifications, the case is now on the
docket of the undersigned. A conference was held September 15,
attended by the pro se plaintiffs and by the attorney for the
Columbia University defendants. In addition to these defendants,
a number of other defendants are named in the case, including a
variety of state and city officials. None of the defendants has
actually been served with process, but the attorney for Columbia
attended the conference at the request of the court.
One of the subjects discussed at the conference was service of process. The Columbia attorney stated that the Columbia
defendants would accept service if one copy of the summons and
complaint is delivered to the office of the general counsel of
Columbia at Low Library. The court approved this method of
service and directed that, if plaintiffs wish to serve the
Columbia defendants, they should arrange to have such service
made, in the manner described, by 5:00 p.m. today.
Plaintiffs stated that, according to a Memorandum and Order of
Magistrate Judge Freeman dated May 14, 2004, they had been
granted informa pauperis treatment for the purpose of having
the Marshal's office assist in service.
It is correct that the magistrate judge made such a ruling. The
magistrate judge further ruled that the Marshal's office should
not be required to serve all of the very numerous defendants, but
should only be obligated to serve Columbia University, the United
States Attorney's Office, the New York State Attorney General's
Office and the Office of the New York City Corporation Counsel.
The magistrate judge expressed the hope that there would be
agreements deeming such service to be effective on all the
At yesterday's conference, the court ruled that the Marshal's
office could not be utilized for any service of process at the present
time. As described above, the court decided that it was perfectly
convenient to have the pro se plaintiffs make delivery of the
summons and complaint to the designated office at Columbia
University. This would take care of all of the Columbia
defendants. As to the numerous other defendants, the court
indicated that it would review the complaint and would consider
what further steps, if any, should be taken to affect service of
process on the very large number of additional defendants. The
court expressed doubt as to whether there is any basis for suing
Governor Pataki, former Mayor Giuliani, current Mayor Bloomberg,
The court has reviewed the entire Memorandum and Order of
Magistrate Judge Freeman. The court agrees with the informa
pauperis ruling, although the court will decide exactly how that
is to be implemented. The court also agrees with the magistrate
judge's denial of plaintiffs' application for counsel.
Further proceedings in the case will await the service of the Columbia defendants.
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