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Farbstein v. Hicksville Public Library

February 2, 2006


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


Presently before the Court is Defendant Hicksville Public Library's motion to dismiss pro se Plaintiff Neil Farbstein's Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege a claim for civil rights conspiracy, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and § 1986. (See Def.'s Mem. at 1.) Plaintiff opposes the motion. (See Pl.'s Opp'n.) Because Plaintiff has failed to allege a conspiracy involving more than one legal entity, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion.


The following summary of the facts is based upon both the original Complaint and the Amended Complaint. Though the Court dismissed the original Complaint in its entirety, as discussed infra, Plaintiff did not re-plead his entire case. Apparently, he assumed that the Court was familiar with certain specific facts that he discussed in his original Complaint. That document is now a nullity. Because Plaintiff is pro se, and because the Court is dismissing the Amended Complaint, the Court has no difficulty with the following liberal treatment of the pleadings.

Plaintiff initiated the instant action for religious discrimination against Defendant due to an incident that occurred on the Library premises on December 11, 1996. (Compl. ¶ 4.) On that date, Plaintiff claims that employees of Defendant "threw him out" and called the police after he "complained to the desk clerk that it was improper of her to call him a kike." (Id.) Subsequent to the December 11 incident, and drawing from the disputed events thereof, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter dated December 20, 1996, which suspended his library privileges through December 20, 1998. (See Am.Compl. at 11.) At some point after the December 20 suspension of privileges, Defendant scheduled a hearing for Plaintiff to present an appeal. (See Compl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff cancelled his appearance at the hearing due to "a prior engagement." (Id.)

Plaintiff thereafter initiated a small claims action against Defendant on or about December 18, 1996, in the District Court of Nassau County. (Answer ¶ 10.) Plaintiff's small claims complaint asserted claims for "false complaint to police" and alleged that "epithets were used." (Id.) The Honorable John G. Marks presided over the case and, on March 3, 1997, found that Plaintiff had failed to prove any liability or damages. (See id. ¶¶ 11-12.)

Plaintiff's suspension ended on December 20, 1998. Plaintiff alleges, however, that the Library Director did not answer Plaintiff's requests between December 20, 1998 and May 28, 2002 for permission to return to the library. (See Am. Compl. at 17.)

On December 9, 2002, Plaintiff commenced the instant action. The original Complaint based its claims upon "title II, title III, title VI, and title IX of the Civil Rights Act Of 1964 as codified in 42 USCS 2000a-e17 Amended in 1972 and 1978 and 42 USCS sections 1981, 1985, and 1986." (Compl. ¶ 4.) Furthermore, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant refused to grant him access to its facilities until 2002. (Id.) On July 28, 2003 Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint to add a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See Pl.'s Mot. to Amend at 1.) Upon these claims, Plaintiff sought $1 million compensatory damages and $10 million punitive damages and a permanent injunction against Defendant enjoining it from violating his civil rights. (Compl. ¶ 5.)

In a Memorandum & Order dated June 24, 2004 (hereinafter, the "June 24 Order"), the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's original complaint. The Court read the Complaint as alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1985, 1986 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, et seq., and found these claims deficient. Finding that the proposed amendment was futile, the Court further denied Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend the complaint.

Nonetheless, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to submit an amended complaint consistent with June 24 Order, limiting his claims to conspiracy pursuant to § 1985(3) . (See June 24 Order at 19.) Plaintiff was advised:

[H]e should endeavor to provide adequate allegations of a Section 1985(3) conspiracy. Plaintiff is further advised that he should provide some minimal specificity with regard to those overt acts that purportedly occurred within the relevant time period. Finally, Plaintiff is advised that he is not granted leave to amend as to any claims under Section 1981, Section 2000a, Title III, Title VI or Title IX. (Id.) Plaintiff submitted his "Amended Complaint and Memorandum" to the Court on July 20, 2004.


In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a district court must limit itself to the facts stated in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and documents incorporated by reference in the complaint. Hayden v. County of Nassau, 180 F.3d 42, 54 (2d Cir. 1999). The court must accept the factual allegations contained in the complaint as true, and view the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor. Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994).

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling him to relief in support of his claim. Zerilli-Edelglass v. N. Y. City Transit Auth., 333 F.3d 74, 79 (2d Cir. 2003). The issue is not how likely the plaintiff is to ultimately prevail, but whether he is entitled to even offer evidence to support his claims. "Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleading that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test." Weisman v. LeLandais, 532 F.2d 308, 311 (2d Cir. 1976); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). These standards apply with particular strictness where, as here, the complaint alleges civil rights violations. Gant v. Wallingford Bd. of Educ., 69 F.3d 669, 673 (2d Cir. 1995). However, "conclusory allegations ...

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