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Kalderon v. Finkelstein

August 25, 2010

NURIT KALDERON, PH.D., PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT FINKELSTEIN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard J. Sullivan, District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff Nurit Kalderon brings this action against Defendants for violating her rights as the principal investigator ("PI") on a National Institute of Health ("NIH") research grant (the "Grant"). Specifically, she alleges that Defendants violated her rights under the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution; 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2); 42 U.S.C. § 1986; and various provisions of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. Now before the Court is the Report and Recommendation (the "Report") of the Honorable Theodore M. Katz, Magistrate Judge. For the following reasons, the Court adopts the Report in its entirety, with the exception of the recommendation regarding Plaintiff's cause of action under 5 U.S.C. § 552a(d)(2)-(3).

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY*fn1

Defendants filed their motion to dismiss and for summary judgment on June 15, 2009, and the motion became fully submitted on August 14, 2009. Plaintiff filed her motion for partial summary judgment on July 24, 2009, and the motion became fully submitted on September 8, 2009. The Court referred both motions to Magistrate Judge Katz on October 22, 2009, and he issued the Report on March 10, 2010. The Report recommends that the Court:

(1) Grant Defendants' motion to dismiss as to all of Plaintiff's claims except for her eighth cause of action;

(2) Deny Plaintiff's cross-motion for partial summary judgment; and

(3) Dismiss the eighth cause of action as a matter of law, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c).

On March 22, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's request for an extension in which to file her objections. On April 23, 2010, Plaintiff filed her objections, which challenge all of Magistrate Judge Katz's recommendations. Defendants filed their response on May 21, 2010, after also receiving an extension of time in which to respond. On June 24, 2010, the Court invited Plaintiff to submit additional objections (the "Additional Objections") with respect to her eighth cause of action, and she did so on July 7, 2010. Defendants submitted their response to these additional objections on July 16, 2010.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When no party objects to a report and recommendation, the Court may adopt the report if there is no clear error on the face of the record. Adee Motor Cars, LLC v. Amato, 388 F. Supp. 2d 250, 253 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). When a party objects, the objections "must be specific and clearly aimed at particular findings in the magistrate judge's proposal." Harden v. LaClaire, No. 07 Civ. 4592 (LTS) (JCF), 2008 WL 4735231, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 27, 2008). "[I]f the party makes only conclusory or general objections, or simply reiterates his original arguments, the Court reviews the Report and Recommendation only for clear error." Dawson v. Phillips, No. 03 Civ. 8632 (RJS) (THK), 2008 WL 818539, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 25, 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). But "[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3);28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Grassia v. Scully, 892 F.2d 16, 19 (2d Cir. 1989) (explaining that § 636(b)(1) "affords the district court broad latitude" in reviewing the magistrate judge's recommendation).

III. DISCUSSION

A. First Objection

Plaintiff's first objection argues that Magistrate Judge Katz misapplied the First Amendment by construing Plaintiff as a public employee, rather than a private citizen, while engaging in speech that was not on a matter of public concern. (Objections at 4.) This objection merely reiterates an argument that Plaintiff has already made and that the Report thoroughly addresses. (Compare Pl.'s Opp'n at ...


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