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Oladokun v. Ryan

March 31, 2009

SULAIMAN OLADOKUN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN R. RYAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK MARITIME COLLEGE, AND RICHARD S. SMITH, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMANDANT OF CADETS OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK MARITIME COLLEGE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimba M. Wood, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Sulaiman Oladokun ("Plaintiff") brings this civil rights action against Defendants John R. Ryan and Richard S. Smith (collectively "Defendants") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants disenrolled him from the State University of New York Maritime College ("SUNY Maritime") in violation of his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Defendant Ryan moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff's individual capacity claims against him, arguing that he had no personal involvement in Plaintiff's disenrollment.*fn1 Plaintiff, in response, moves for leave to amend the Complaint to allege an alternative theory of Defendant Ryan's personal involvement in Plaintiff's disenrollment. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend is GRANTED. Defendant Ryan's motion for summary judgment is DENIED without prejudice to refile, as consistent with the Court's Individual Practices, after the conclusion of discovery.

I. Background

A. Summary of Action

Plaintiff's allegations are described in detail in the Court's October 23, 2007 Order, familiarity with which is assumed. The Court summarizes the facts underlying the action here, focusing on the facts relevant to Plaintiff's individual capacity claims against Defendant Ryan.

1. The Parties a. Plaintiff

Plaintiff is a Nigerian citizen. On August 30, 2000, Plaintiff enrolled as an Engineering student at SUNY Maritime. On March 26, 2003, SUNY Maritime's Suitability Board disenrolled Plaintiff from the school.

b. Defendants

Defendant Ryan was President of SUNY Maritime at the time of Plaintiff's disenrollment. Defendant Smith is SUNY Maritime's Commandant of Cadets.

2. Events Leading to Plaintiff's Disenrollment

On or about March 7, 2003, when Plaintiff was in his final year at SUNY Maritime, Plaintiff was apprehended by two Joint Terrorism Task Force agents, allegedly because they suspected that Plaintiff had submitted false documents in obtaining a student visa. Following his apprehension, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") held Plaintiff in custody during their investigation into the validity of his documents.

On March 25, 2003, ICE attorney Anna Gbur sent SUNY Maritime a fax requesting information about Plaintiff's enrollment status at SUNY Maritime.

3. The Suitability Board Hearing

The next morning, on March 26, 2003, SUNY Maritime's Suitability Board held a suitability hearing in Plaintiff's absence. The Board considered Plaintiff's suitability as a member of the Regiment of Cadets, and charged him with "Deceit and Falsehood" and with "Altering Official Documents." (Compl. Ex. 3.) The Suitability Board's charges against Plaintiff were allegedly based on information from ICE regarding ICE's investigation into Plaintiff's visa documents. (Compl. ¶ 31.)

4. Plaintiff's Disenrollment

In a one-sentence opinion issued that same day, the Suitability Board stated that it had considered the charges against Plaintiff, "deem[ed] them to be true" and recommended that Plaintiff be offically disenrolled. Id. Defendant Smith then signed a memo concurring with the ...


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