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Morris v. Murtagh

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


December 4, 2009

JEFFREY LEE MORRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KIM MURTAGH,*FN1 FRANKLIN COUNTY PROBATION DEPARTMENT DIVERSION PROGRAM COORDINATOR; TYEREE STINES; AND SARA J. NICHOLS-MORRIS, DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Pro se plaintiff Jeffrey Lee Morris brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, inter alia,*fn2 that defendants violated his constitutional rights when an order of protection caused him to become homeless and suffer physical and emotional distress. Pending is Franklin County Probation Officer Kim Murtagh's motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 26.) For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.

II. Facts

Familiarity with the underlying facts are presumed and will be repeated only as relevant. For a full recitation of those facts, the parties are referred to the court's March 31, 2009 Memorandum-Decision and Order. (Dkt. No. 20.)

III. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

The standard for the grant of summary judgment is well established, and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard, the court refers the parties to its previous opinion in Bain v. Town of Argyle, 499 F. Supp.2d 192, 194-95 (N.D.N.Y. 2007).

B. Immunity

Federal suits against arms of the state, including suits against state employees in their official capacity, are barred under the Eleventh Amendment, with exceptions not relevant here. See Will v. Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); In re Deposit Ins. Agency, 482 F.3d 612, 617 (2d Cir. 2007). Here, because Murtagh was acting solely in her capacity as probation officer when she investigated and reported the conditions of the LaPlant household,*fn3 Morris's claim against Murtagh based on that conduct is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Accordingly, Murtagh's motion for summary judgment is granted and Morris's claim against Murtagh is dismissed.

V. Conclusion

WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby

ORDERED that Murtagh's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court provide a copy of this Memorandum-Decision and Order to the parties.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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