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Miller v. O'Bryan

March 12, 2007

DONAHUE A. MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER AMY O'BRYAN; OFFICER PETER PALEN; SGT. KILFOYLE, TOWN OF ULSTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R. Homer, U. S. Magistrate Judge

DECISION and ORDER

I. Background and Proceedings to Date

This action was commenced by pro se plaintiff Donahue Miller in April, 2005, against three members of the Town of Ulster Police Department. By his complaint, plaintiff asserts claims arising out of his arrest on June 20, 2003, on charges of driving while intoxicated. Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff claims that defendants lacked probable cause for his arrest and that he was improperly subjected to chemical tests without his consent and in violation of his right to counsel. Id.*fn1

Plaintiff also commenced an action in state court seeking to recover medical costs associated with injuries he sustained at the Ulster Police Department immediately following his arrest. See Dkt. No. 15 at ¶¶ 2-5; Miller v. Town of Ulster Police Dept. & Officer O'Bryan, Index No. 03-3992 (Ulster County).*fn2

Defendants filed their answer to the complaint in September, 2005 and the parties thereafter undertook discovery. Following a conference with the Court on March 8, 2006, the deadline for completion of discovery was set for September 15, 2006, and the motion filing deadline was set for November 1, 2006. Dkt. No. 27.*fn3

Presently before the Court are motions filed by plaintiff seeking to stay the state court action and transfer jurisdiction to this Court, to compel the defendants to provide further discovery, and to consolidate this matter with his pending application for a writ of habeas corpus. Dkt. Nos. 32, 33, 39. Defendants have responded in opposition. Dkt. Nos. 38, 40, 41.*fn4

II. Motion to Stay, Transfer Jurisdiction and Extend Discovery

Plaintiff seeks an order of this Court staying proceedings in his state court action and "transferring" or removing that action to this court. Dkt. No. 32. Plaintiff's previous request for this relief, made during the conference with the Court on March 8, 2006, was denied. See Dkt. No. 32 at ¶ 5; Dkt. No. 40 Aff. at ¶ 13.

Defendants have filed papers in opposition. Dkt. No. 40.

Plaintiff invokes 28 U.S.C. § 2283 in support of his request that this Court stay the state court action. Section 2283 provides:

A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except where expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.

28 U.S.C. § 2283. As defendants correctly maintain, § 2283 does not provide any basis upon which this Court could restrain or otherwise interfere with the proceedings in plaintiff's state court action. Dkt. No. 40. None of the three limited circumstances stated therein are present in this case, and plaintiff's request for a stay is denied.

Plaintiff also seeks to remove the state court action to this Court. A state court action may be removed to federal court only in limited circumstances where the federal court has original jurisdiction over the claims in the plaintiff's complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Removal is available only to defendants in a state court action, and must be sought promptly after commencement of the state court proceeding. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).

Plaintiff may not remove the state court action to this Court or otherwise "transfer" jurisdiction of the claims asserted therein, ...


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