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RODRIGUEZ v. TRUSTEES OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

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,
v.
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

OPINION

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 various defendants.

  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, etc.

  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.

  SO ORDERED.

20040917

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