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Jackson v. Portuondo

February 16, 2007

NATHANIEL JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEONARD PORTUONDO, PAUL ANNETTS, JIMMIE HARRIS, KENNETH DECKER, ROBERT CUNNINGHAM, JAY SQUILLACE, A. GOODMAN, DOREN PARISI, EVAN GORELICK, A.C. WRIGHT, AND D. WILKINS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

On March 16, 2001, pro se plaintiff Nathaniel Jackson commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. See Dkt. No. 1. Defendants' motion for summary judgment was referred to Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles for report and recommendation. See Dkt. No. 81;28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B); N.D.N.Y. R. 72.3(c); Gen. Order No. 12, § D(1)(G). After a lengthy motion practice,*fn1 Magistrate Judge Peebles issued a report recommending the dismissal of all claims except the due process claim against defendant Squillace. See Report-Recommendation ("R&R"), Dkt. No. 93.

Broadly construing Jackson's amended complaint, Judge Peebles concluded that: (1) Jackson's rights were not violated when he was denied leave to attend his brother's funeral; (2) the prison was justified in monitoring Jackson's mail; (3) Jackson's due process rights were not violated during the disciplinary hearings; and (4) pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata, the settlement agreement previously negotiated by the parties effectively precludes Jackson's First Amendment claim.

Both Jackson and the defendants have filed timely objections. See Dkt. Nos. 94, 95. Jackson raises both specific and unspecific objections,*fn2 and defendants raise one specific objection. Specific objections will be reviewed under a de novo standard, while unspecific objections will be reviewed under a clearly erroneous standard. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, 9:04-CV-484, 2006 WL 149049 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006).

Upon careful consideration of the arguments, the relevant parts of the record, and the applicable law, the court adopts the Report-Recommendation in its entirety.

II. Discussion

1. Specific Objections

a. Jackson's Specific Objection

Jackson raises one specific objection. Prior to this lawsuit, Jackson entered into a settlement agreement with DOCS, settling all claims against DOCS arising out of their alleged violation of Jackson's right to practice his religion. See Jackson v. Mann, 95-CV-1838 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 1995); Dkt. No. 133. Now, relying on the doctrine of continuous violation, Jackson argues that the settlement agreement does not preclude his religious discrimination claim. Specifically, Jackson maintains that because defendants discriminated against him on the basis of his Jewish faith in a continuous and ongoing nature, his First Amendment claim should survive.

As an initial matter, while Jackson objects to Judge Peebles' finding, he fails to offer any legal basis in support of his objection. Nonetheless, the court has reviewed Judge Peebles' finding de novo.

Judge Peebles concluded that the alleged misconduct supporting Jackson's First Amendment claim was previously resolved by the parties' January 2001 settlement agreement. As such, Judge Peebles found that Jackson's First Amendment claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Following a review of the record, the court agrees with Judge Peebles' analysis. Jackson's allegations of discrimination arise out of the set of facts previously settled. Moreover, Jackson cannot now claim a new violation of his rights based on the continuous violation doctrine. This is a new argument that was neither raised in his amended complaint nor addressed by the Magistrate Judge. Having reviewed Judge Peebles' report de novo, the court concludes that Jackson's religious discrimination claim is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Accordingly, Jackson's First Amendment claim is dismissed.

b. Defendants' Specific Objection

Defendants also raise one specific objection. They claim that Judge Peebles improperly failed to recommend that Jackson's due process claim against defendant Squillace be ...


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