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Adrian v. Town of Yorktown

June 21, 2006

JOSEPH M. ADRIAN, ELAINE M. ADRIAN, AND ADRIAN FAMILY PARTNERS I, L.P., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TOWN OF YORKTOWN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mark D. Fox, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

In September 2003, Joseph and Elaine Adrian and Adrian Family Partners I, L.P. (the "Plaintiffs") commenced this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and New York State law, against the Town of Yorktown (the "Town"), alleging that the Town, through its Town Supervisor, Linda Cooper, and other policy-making officials, maintained an official policy to deny the Plaintiffs the right to develop their property and to punish and retaliate against the Plaintiffs for their exercise of their First Amendment rights. The parties consented to proceed before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for all purposes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

The Town moved for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the Plaintiffs' complaint based on the statute of limitations and the ripeness doctrine. Additionally, the Town argued that the Plaintiffs' procedural due process claim should be dismissed because the Plaintiffs failed to utilize the Article 78 procedure in New York State court, and that the substantive due process claim should be dismissed because the Plaintiffs lacked a vested property right. It also sought dismissal of the Plaintiffs' false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. After full briefing and oral argument, the Court entered a decision and order on April 26, 2006 (the "Order") granting summary judgment to the Town on all of the Plaintiffs' claims except for the First Amendment retaliation claim and the pendent state law claim for money had and received. A partial judgment was entered pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) on May 1, 2006.

On May 3, 2006, the Plaintiffs moved, pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 6.3, for an order "correcting certain mistakes in the Decision and Order dated April 26, 2006, or in the alternative reconsidering and rearguing same. . . ." Notice of Motion dated May 3, 2006. The application sets forth as follows:

A. The court appears to have dismissed plaintiffs' Eighth Claim, a state law de facto condemnation claim, which we did not understand to be subject to the federal "ripeness" doctrine that was the basis for the motion to dismiss, nor was any other basis set forth in the Court's decision for its dismissal. We ask the Court clarify that if it was dismissed, the Claim was dismissed for lack of federal ripeness.

B. The Court did not address plaintiff's Ninth Claim for Relief, seeking declaratory judgment; it is not listed as being dismissed, nor is it listed as being extant.

C. The Court went against the clear fact that $150,000 could NOT have been due under the so-called Stony Street Realignment project, and instead appears to have accepted as a fact that such sum WAS owed by plaintiffs. We ask the court to make clear that this was not a finding of fact.

D. The court also found that the Town had not refused to return the $150,000, even when the Town conceded this was an issue of fact.

E. The Court dismissed the malicious prosecution claim, based entirely on hearsay evidence.

Declaration and Memorandum in Support of Motion at 4. Shortly after filing the instant motion, Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal from the partial judgment. Defense counsel has submitted an affirmation in opposition to Plaintiffs' Rule 60(b) motion, dated May 26, 2006, and Plaintiffs' counsel's reply was submitted on or about May 30, 2006.

Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to seek relief from a final judgment, order, or proceeding on numerous grounds, including, inter alia, mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, and newly discovered evidence. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Such a motion is within the sound discretion of the trial court, see Sterling v. Kuhlman, No. 97-cv-2825, 2006 WL 177404, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 25, 2006), and may only be granted on a showing of exceptional circumstances warranting such extraordinary relief, see Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v. Key Pharm., 75 F.3d 815, 824-25 (2d Cir.1996). Additionally, "the courts of this circuit . . . require that the evidence in support of the motion be highly convincing, that the movant show good cause for the failure to act sooner, and that no undue hardship be imposed on the other parties as a result." Briller v. Barnhart, No. 04-cv-3649, 2006 WL 118367, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 16, 2006).

With respect to the first four points raised by Plaintiffs, the Court does not believe that any further clarification is required and that the Memorandum Order of April 26, 2006 adequately sets forth the rationale and reasoning for each of the determinations made therein. I will nonetheless attempt to respond to Plaintiff's concerns. Each of the points raised in Plaintiffs' moving papers will be addressed in turn.

A. State Law De Facto Condemnation Claim

The Order addresses this point on pages 44-45 and ...


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