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Douglas E. Kampfer v. Wendy Reu

February 15, 2011

DOUGLAS E. KAMPFER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WENDY REU, CLERK FOR THE VILLAGE OF NORTHVILLE, (INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY); AND RONALD KELLY, OWNER OF LAKEVIEW ORCHARDS; DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David N. Hurd United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Douglas E. Kampfer ("Kampfer" or "plaintiff") brought an action against defendants Ronald Kelly ("Kelly") and Wendy Reu ("Reu") (collectively, "defendants"), seeking a declaratory judgment and compensatory and punitive damages for deprivation of his right to procedural due process. Defendants moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure dismissing the amended complaint and the action. The motion was taken on submission without oral argument.

II. FACTS

The following facts are undisputed. In 2007, Reu, as the Village Clerk for the Village of Northville, New York ("Village"), invited plaintiff to participate in the Farmers' Market after receiving a telephone request from Mrs. Barbara Kampfer, plaintiff's wife. Reu extended the Kamphers an invitation to participate in the Farmers' Market, along with a Mission Statement for the Village's Farmers' Market, which stated: "[p]articipation in the Market is at the discretion of the Village." Reu Aff., Dkt. No. 105-8. The Mission Statement also contained rules governing the Farmers' Market and stated: "The Village reserves the right to conduct site visits to ensure that the sellers adhere to the rules of the market." Reu Aff., Dkt. No. 105-8.

On October 5, 2007, Reu approached plaintiff after receiving a complaint about plaintiff's conduct in connection with a matter occurring on September 14, 2007, in the parking lot of Timeless Tavern, owned by Tom and Lisa Wood. There, three cardboard boxes fell from a pick-up truck and plaintiff, who was in the parking lot at the same time, put the boxes in Wood's dumpster. Lisa Wood noticed plaintiff and demanded he remove the boxes from her property. Plaintiff then sent a letter to Tom and Lisa Wood requesting $25.00 to pay for his removal of the boxes. Reu described the letter as belligerent and unrepresentative of the Village or the Farmers' Market.

On October 5, 2007, Reu asked plaintiff to explain the letter and, exercising the Village's discretion, then asked plaintiff to leave the Market. The only reason Reu provided to plaintiff as a basis for asking him to leave the Farmers' Market was the issue involving Lisa Wood.

Kelly, whose sole participation in the Farmers' Market was as a vendor, had informed Reu that plaintiff had brought certain items to the Farmers' Market that were not from plaintiff's farm, which was contrary to the market rules. Kelly did not have any official role, job, or affiliation with the Village or the Farmers' Market. Plaintiff does not claim Kelly had anything to do with his being asked to leave the Farmers' Market.

Plaintiff does state that Kelly testified at an Article 78 proceeding to "cover up" the Village's "screw up." Burch Decl. Ex. B at 84, Dkt. No. 104-1. According to plaintiff, defendant Kelly agreed to testify as part of a "conspir[acy] with Ms. Reu to protect Ms. Reu from her wrongdoing of kicking [plaintiff] out for things that didn't even involve the market." Burch Decl. Ex. B at 88, Dkt. No. 104-1. Plaintiff alleges this conversation took place after plaintiff was removed from the Farmers' Market.

III. STANDARDS

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment must be granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Andersonv.Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986); Richardson v. New York State Dep't of Correctional Servs., 180 F.3d 426, 436 (2d Cir. 1999); Lang v. Retirement Living Pub. Co., 949 F.2d 576, 580 (2d Cir. 1991). The moving party carries the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986); Thompson v. Gjivoje, 896 F.2d 716, 720 (2d Cir. 1990). Facts, inferences therefrom, and ambiguities must be viewed in a light most favorable to the non-movant. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356 (1986); Richardson, 180 F.3d at 436; Project Release v. Prevost, 722 F.2d 960, 968 (2d Cir. 1983).

When the moving party has met the burden, the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S. Ct. at 1356. At that point, the nonmoving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 250, 106 S. Ct. at 2511; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587, 106 S. Ct. at 1356. To withstand a summary judgment motion, sufficient evidence must exist upon which a reasonable jury could return a ...


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