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Roosa v. Ochs

July 12, 2010

DAVID CHARLES ROOSA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARK S. OCHS, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.



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

DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff commenced the instant action claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and also asserting state law claims of the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the negligent infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, defamation, and prima facie tort arising out of his removal from the list of assigned counsel and his indefinite suspension from the practice of law.

I. FACTS

The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff graduate from Syracuse University College of Law in December 1996. He was admitted to the practice of law as an attorney by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Fourth Judicial Department, in July 1997.

On August 6, 2007, Plaintiff submitted a request for accommodation to Defendant Delaware County and Family Court Judge Carl Becker. Becker did not respond to the request for accommodation and, instead, forwarded the request to the Third Department Appellate Division Committee on Professional Standards (the "Committee"). Becker "refused to assign Plaintiff to any further cases under either County Court or Family Court NY County Law 18-B programs, or under the Law Guardian program, with few exceptions." Compl. at ¶ 24.

The Committee made a confidential request to the Third Department Appellate Division to have Plaintiff evaluated for mental incapacity. Plaintiff consented to the evaluation, which was performed by Dr. Jeffry Luria on February 8, 2008. Dr. Luria's evaluation "did not primarily recommend suspension, but recommended treatment, under the supervision of the Committee. . . ." Id. at ¶ 39. The Committee moved to suspend Plaintiff from the practice of law under 22 N.Y.C.R.R. § 806.10(a). Plaintiff opposed the motion and requested that the proceedings remain confidential. By Order dated May 23, 2008, the Appellate Division indefinitely suspended Plaintiff from the practice until he proved that he was no longer mentally incapacitated. Plaintiff's suspension, and the reason therefore, was disseminated to the media.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and (6). Plaintiff failed to submit timely opposition papers.

II. DISCUSSION

a. Eleventh Amendment

"A suit generally may not be maintained directly against the State itself, or against an agency or department of the State, unless the State has waived its sovereign immunity." Fla. Dep't of State v. Treasure Salvors, Inc., 458 U.S. 670, 684 (1982); see also Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). Here, Plaintiff seeks relief against a state court judge, the Committee, and the various members of that Committee.

There being no indication that the State has consented to suit or that its immunity has otherwise been abrogated, the claims against the Committee and the individual Defendants in their official capacities must be DISMISSED.*fn1 See Humphrey v. New York, 108 Fed. Appx. 691 (2d Cir. 2004); Aretakis v. Committee on Professional Standards, 2009 WL 1905077, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. 2009); Richards v. State of New York, 597 F. Supp. 692 (E.D.N.Y. 1984), aff'd, 767 F.2d 908 (2d Cir. 1985).

b. Rooker-Feldman

The instant matter also is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. District Courts lack subject matter jurisdiction in "cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005).

There are four requirements for the application of Rooker-Feldman. First, the federal-court plaintiff must have lost in state court. Second, the plaintiff must complain of injuries caused by a state-court judgment. Third, the plaintiff must invite district court review and rejection of that judgment. Fourth, the state-court ...


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