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Chase v. Czajka

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


February 28, 2007

JOHN T. CHASE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PAUL CZAJKA, FAMILY COURT JUDGE; ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Background

This matter was originally filed in the Southern District of New York, but was transferred to this District by an Order of the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan, United States District Judge. See June 2005 Order (Dkt. No. 45). Prior to Judge Kaplan's transfer order, a Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 43) was issued by the Honorable Andrew J. Peck, then-Chief United States Magistrate Judge of the Southern District,*fn1 recommending dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety. Upon transfer of the case, Judge Kaplan only determined that venue was inappropriate in the Southern District, and he did not rule on the remaining issues addressed in Chief Magistrate Judge Peck's Report and Recommendation, or Plaintiff's objections (Dkt. No. 44). See Judge Kaplan's June 2005 Order (Dkt. No. 45) ("This ruling is without prejudice to the defendants' motion to dismiss and to plaintiff's objections to Judge Peck's reports and recommendations.").

Therefore, as this Court understands the current status of this case, the Report and Recommendation of Judge Peck (Dkt. No. 43) and the objections by Plaintiff*fn2 (Dkt. No. 44) are awaiting a final ruling. The Clerk has sent the entire file to the undersigned, including the objections and additional motions that have been filed, for review.

For a complete recitation of the facts, reference is made to Judge Peck's two Reports and Recommendations (Dkt. Nos. 30 & 43),*fn3 and the Complaint (Dkt. No. 1), familiarity with which is presumed.

II. Discussion

A. Judge Peck's Report and Recommendation

It is the duty of this Court to "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). "A [district] judge... may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." Id. This Court has considered the objections and has undertaken a de novo review of the record and has determined that the Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 43) should be approved, in part, for the reasons stated therein.*fn4

In so adopting the Report and Recommendation in pertinent part, the Court hereby dismisses this case as against all Defendants.*fn5

B. Absolute Judicial Immunity

The Court has reviewed the pending Motion submitted by Defendant Czajka (Dkt. No. 55). Defendant Czajka has already been dismissed as a Defendant in this suit based upon this Court's adoption of Judge Peck's Report and Recommendation, above. Therefore, Defendant Czajka's Motion (Dkt. No. 55) is moot, and is denied as such.*fn6

C. Motion by Defendants Shook, Skype and County of Columbia

The Court has reviewed the pending Motion submitted by Defendants Shook, Skype and County of Columbia (Dkt. No. 56). The issues raised therein, concerning Rooker-Feldman, have been sufficiently addressed in the Report and Recommendation of Judge Peck, and the Defendants have been dismissed from this action based upon this Court's adoption of the Report and Recommendation, such that the present Motion is moot. Therefore, Defendants' Motion (Dkt. No. 56) is denied as moot.

D. Plaintiff's Motion

Plaintiff has filed a Motion of his own (Dkt. No. 63), seeking, inter alia, to amend his intimidation and would thus "lose 'that independence without which no judiciary can either be respectable or useful.'"... The absolute immunity of a judge applies "'however erroneous the act may have been, and however injurious in its consequences it may have proved to the plaintiff.'"....

"Judges have absolute immunity not because of their particular location within the Government but because of the special nature of their responsibilities."....

Young v. Selsky, 41 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing, inter alia, Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967); Cleavinger v. Saxner, 474 U.S. 193, 199-200 (1985)). Furthermore, "[j]udicial immunity is conferred even if the plaintiff accuses the judge of acting maliciously or corruptly, and no matter how erroneous the ruling challenged by the plaintiff." Daniels v. Appellate Div. of State Supreme Court, No. 97 Civ. 5113 DC, 1997 WL 528060 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 27, 1997) (citing Cleavinger, 474 U.S. at 199-200)). And, Complaint, to add Plaintiff's children as Plaintiffs, to have a special master appointed to oversee discovery (instead of the co-assigned U.S. Magistrate Judge - as is the usual practice in this District), and to have an Order issued compelling discovery and depositions.*fn7 Defendants Czajka, Shook, Skype and County of Columbia have replied/responded in opposition. See Dkt. Nos. 66-67. However, by disposing of all of the other outstanding motions and issues in this case, and by adopting Judge Peck's Report and Recommendation, this Court has determined that the case should be dismissed in its entirety as against all presently-named Defendants. No discovery will be held, and no depositions required. In addition, as discussed earlier, Plaintiff is simply not permitted to represent either his adult child or minor children in this matter.*fn8 And, this Court will not appoint a Special Master at this time, when, among other things, no demonstration has been made showing exceptional circumstances or why this Court should otherwise abandon the usual practice of referring to the co-assigned Magistrate Judge, and when, additionally, Defendant Czajka (one of the parties) has clearly stated that he does not consent to the appointment of a Master in any event. See Deft. Czajka's Resp. (Dkt. No. 66, Attach. 2) at 7. See, generally, FED. R. CIV. P. 53 ("Unless a statute provides otherwise, a court may appoint a master only to: (A) perform duties consented to by the parties..."); Fisher v. Harris, Upham & Co., Inc., 61 F.R.D. 447 (S.D.N.Y. 1973).

The last remaining portion of Plaintiff's Motion addressed herein is the request to file an Amended Complaint. Since Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, this Court must undertake an evaluation of the proposed Amended Complaint to ensure, inter alia, its compliance with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon review of Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 65), the Court finds that although Plaintiff names additional Defendants, the allegations and accusations (some very general) arise from and involve the same incident(s) and set(s) of circumstances, and are largely similar to or the same as, those already addressed in the Original Complaint, the prior pleadings of the parties, and Judge Peck's Report and Recommendation. Amendment would not cure the problems that have led to dismissal. As such, allowing Plaintiff to amend the Complaint would be futile and is denied, see Azurite Corp. Ltd. v. Amster & Co., 52 F.3d 15, 19 (2d Cir. 1995); Zahra v. Town of Southold, 48 F.3d 674, 685-86 (2d Cir. 1995); Acito v. IMCERA Group, Inc., 47 F.3d 47, 54-55 (2d Cir. 1995), since dismissal of the claims based upon the same legal foundations as already specified by Judge Peck and this Court, supra, would be inevitable.*fn9

Therefore, given the discussion above, Plaintiff's Motion (Dkt. No. 63) is denied, and Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 65) is rejected.

III. Conclusion

Based on the foregoing discussion, it is hereby

ORDERED, that the Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 43) of the Honorable Andrew J. Peck, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, is APPROVED and ADOPTED IN PART, as to Judge Peck's recommendations concerning Rooker-Feldman and the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction. The Court does not rule on the remainder of the Report and Recommendation concerning transfer and venue, however, since Judge Kaplan already ruled on those issues when he transferred the case from the Southern District to the Northern District; and it is further

ORDERED, that Defendant Czajka's Motion (Dkt. No. 55) is DENIED AS MOOT; and it is further

ORDERED, that Defendants Skype, Shook and County of Columbia's Motion (Dkt. No. 56) is DENIED AS MOOT; and it is further

ORDERED, that Plaintiff's Motion (Dkt. No. 63) is DENIED, and Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 65) is REJECTED; and it is further

ORDERED, that Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED, and this case is DISMISSED as to all claims and all Defendants; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Clerk serve a copy of this Order on all parties.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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