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Gebman v. Kelly

August 8, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge



Clark Gebman commenced the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against: Charles Kelly, individually and in his official capacities as Democratic Party Leader and Beacon City Council Member; Steve Gold, individually and as Democratic Election Official Designee and former Ward Council Member and current Beacon City Mayor; Lee Kyriacou, individually and as former Beacon City Council Member, Democratic Party District Leader and Executive Director of the New York State Office of Real Property Services; Clara Lou Gould, individually and as former Beacon City Mayor; Joe Braun, individually and in his official capacity as former Beacon City Manager; Beacon City; the United States; New York State; Eliot Spitzer, individually and in his official capacity as former Governor and former New York State Attorney General; Bear Sterns & Co., Inc.; 283 Madison LLC; and the New York State Democratic Committee.

Although difficult to decipher and comprehend Plaintiff's prolix and convoluted Complaint, Plaintiff appears to be alleging a long-running conspiracy by these defendants to deprive him of his rights by declining to release certain property-tax information that he requested, thereby impairing his ability to pursue business ideas to resell the information and to run for public office. Plaintiff also alleges that Bear Sterns, his wife's employer, harassed her, and that its behavior is somehow tied to the public officials' conspiracy to deprive him of his rights. Plaintiff seeks $50 billion in damages. See Third Amended Complaint ("Complaint"), ¶ 132. Presently before the Court are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss*fn1 and Bear Sterns' Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions.


In addressing a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs' favor. Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir. 2008). The complaint must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, --- U.S. ---, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12 requires that the complaint's "[f]actual allegations be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true." Id. at 1965.


a. Elliot Spitzer

Defendant Spitzer moves to dismiss on the ground that the claims against him are time-barred. Plaintiff appears to assert a claim against former Governor and New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for an illegal restraint of trade. Complaint, ¶ 20.

Gebman's antitrust cause of action against Defendant Spitzer is time-bared by the applicable four-year statute of limitations. 15 U.S.C. § 15b.

A cause of action [for violation of the antitrust laws] accrues and the statute begins to run when a defendant commits an act that injures a plaintiff's business.... This much is plain from the treble damages statute itself.... In the context of a continuing conspiracy to violate the antitrust laws, ... this has usually been understood to mean that each time a plaintiff is injured by an act of the defendants a cause of action accrues to him to recover the damages caused by that act and that, as to those damages, the statute of limitations runs from the commission of the act.

Higgins v. New York Stock Exch., Inc., 942 F.2d 829, 832 (2d Cir. 1991) (quoting Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 338 (1971). The only exception to this "date of injury" rule is the "rare case in which the damages caused by an antitrust injury are so speculative that the court is unwilling to estimate them." Id.

Here, Plaintiff cites anti-competitive behavior on the part of Spitzer beginning with a June 14, 1995 edict allegedly issued by the Office of the Governor that directed state officials not to furnish him with real estate sales data that had been made publicly available through a change in New York State law. Complaint, ¶ 17. Plaintiff claims that this order violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and imposed an illegal restraint on trade that caused him great economic injury. Id., at ¶ 20.

The Complaint struggles to allege actual injury suffered by Plaintiff, or to competition, as a result of the order. Assuming arguendo that there is such an injury, any actionable injuries must have occurred earlier than March 17, 2004.*fn2 Plaintiff asserts little evidence of antitrust injury caused by Spitzer after June 1995 aside from the general similarities that he draws between this and his recent clash with the City of Beacon, which imposed a comparable hold on municipal property tax data and written copies of various contracts requested by Plaintiff. Furthermore, the alleged involvement of Mr. Lee Kyriacou in this latest refusal does not implicate Spitzer, nor does it "refresh" Plaintiff's claim against him. Plaintiff's antitrust claim against Defendant Elliot Spitzer is too speculative to allege a timely injury.

The Court, therefore, dismisses the antitrust claim against Elliot Spitzer as time barred.

b. United States

Plaintiff named the United States as a defendant in this action. The Court is unable to discern what cause of action the Plaintiff attempts to state against the United States.

The United States has sovereign immunity from suit unless it waives that immunity. Dep't of the Army v. Blue Fox, Inc., 525 U.S. 255, 260 (1999) (citation omitted); Dotson v. Griesa, 398 F.3d 156, 177 (2d Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). Here, Plaintiff does not set forth any intelligible ...

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