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Rollins v. New York State Division of Parole

February 16, 2007

RODNEY ROLLINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF PAROLE, NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER JOHN WHITE, NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER BARRY DAVIS, NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER ROOSEVELT GREEN, AND NEW YORK STATE PAROLE OFFICER JAMES CONTINO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garaufis, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Rodney Rollins ("Rollins" or "Plaintiff") has sued the New York State Division of Parole (the "Parole Division") and four of its officers (the "Parole Officers") (collectively, "Defendants") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and several common-law causes of action. Rollins' suit is based in large part on his August 2002 arrest and subsequent imprisonment for allegedly violating the conditions of his parole by making misrepresentations regarding his income.

This court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed Rollins' Complaint. (See Order dated November 1, 2005.) Rollins now moves the court to reconsider that decision pursuant to Rules 59(e), 60(b)(1) and 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, Rollins' motion for reconsideration is GRANTED to the extent that the court now considers Rollins' statement of facts in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, which his counsel failed to submit previously. The court's decision to grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment is, however, AFFIRMED.

I. Procedural Background

When this court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment, it noted that Rollins, in responding to that motion, did not satisfy his obligation to submit a factual statement including "a corresponding numbered paragraph responding to each numbered paragraph in the statement [of undisputed facts] of the moving party." Local Civ. R. 56.1(b). The court therefore accepted as undisputed all material facts set forth in Defendants' 56.1 Statement. (See Order dated November 1, 2005 at 3 (citing Local Civ. R. 56.1(c)).)

Immediately upon learning of the court's decision, Rollins' counsel filed a letter informing the court that he had prepared a responsive 56.1 Statement at the proper time but had failed to serve and file that 56.1 Statement when he served and filed other documents in opposition to Defendants' motion.*fn1 (Rollins Ltr. to Judge Garaufis dated November 1, 2005 at 1.) Because that letter was filed the day the court granted summary judgment, and because it attached the 56.1 Statement to which it referred, the court accepts as true the explanation set forth by Rollins' counsel. Although counsel's failure to file a responsive 56.1 Statement is a serious error, the court will not dismiss a potentially meritorious complaint because of counsel's negligence. The court will therefore consider Rollins' 56.1 Statement when resolving his motion for reconsideration.*fn2

The court assumes familiarity with the facts of this case as set forth in the Order dated November 1, 2005. For the purpose of resolving Rollins' motion for reconsideration, the court will supplement those facts by discussing, where appropriate, the purportedly disputed and genuine issues of material fact that Rollins identifies in his 56.1 Statement and cites as a basis for this court to deny Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

II. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

A motion for reconsideration may be granted only if a court overlooked (1) factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion or (2) controlling legal authority. See Range Road Music, Inc. v. Music Sales Corp., 90 F. Supp. 2d 390, 392 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (discussing Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) and Local Civ. R. 6.3). Rollins argues that the court overlooked factual matters now set forth in his 56.1 Statement, although he concedes that those matters were not properly before the court when it considered and granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court, although it is not obligated to do so, will nevertheless consider those factual matters. Rollins does not assert that the court overlooked any controlling legal authority.

A. The 1999 and 2000 Arrests

The court dismissed all claims based on Rollins' 1999 and 2000 arrests for purported parole violations because those claims were time-barred. (See Order dated November 1, 2005 at 10-11.) Rollins offers no facts to the contrary. That decision is therefore affirmed.

B. The 2002 Arrest

1. Officers White, Davis, and Green

The court dismissed Rollins' claims against Officers White, Davis, and Green based on Rollins' 2002 arrest because it found that those officers had "arguable probable cause" to arrest Rollins and were therefore entitled to qualified immunity. (See Order dated November 1, 2005 at 16-17.) More specifically, the Officers had arguable probable cause, based on Rollins' statements and omissions regarding his income, to believe that Rollins failed to comply with the condition of release requiring him to respond truthfully to all inquiries by his parole officer. (See id. at 12.) The Officers' arguable probable cause was based on (1) Rollins' October 1999 submission of an ostensibly "phony" check in response to Officer White's request for proof of Rollins' tax payments; (2) Rollins' refusal to fill out two financial questionnaires, one of which he received from Officer White in February 2001 and the other from Officer Davis in April 2002; and (3) Rollins' refusal to respond to a subpoena for information regarding the terms of his employment. (See id. at 5-7, 16-17.) The court found, based on these incidents, that "the facts in totality demonstrate that it was objectively reasonable for [Officers White, Davis, and Green] to believe that probable cause existed," and that those officers were therefore entitled to qualified immunity under Escalera v. Lunn, 361 F.3d 737, 743 (2d Cir. 2004). (See Order dated November 1, 2005 at 16.)

The categories of facts set forth by Rollins in support of his motion for reconsideration do not compel a different result. I will ...


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