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Jeffrey Charles Burfeindt v. Nina Postupack; Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; Gerald C. Roth

October 19, 2011

JEFFREY CHARLES BURFEINDT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NINA POSTUPACK; HUDSON VALLEY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION; GERALD C. ROTH, ESQ.; MARK A. KROHN, ESQ.; AND STATE OF NEW YORK, A/K/A SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff pro se Jeffrey Charles Burfeindt commenced this action against defendants alleging violations of his constitutional rights in connection with a foreclosure proceeding commenced against him. (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Pending are defendants' motions to dismiss and Burfeindt's motions to strike. (See Dkt. Nos. 20, 68, 70, 73, 74, 76.) For the reasons that follow, defendants' motions are granted and Burfeindt's motions are denied.

II. Background*fn1

This case arises out of the foreclosure of Burfeindt's home by defendant Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union ("HVFCU"). (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 19-80, Dkt. No. 67.) On November 20, 2009, Justice Richard Platkin rendered a Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale against Burfeindt in New York State Supreme Court, Ulster County. (See Dkt. No. 68, Attach. 11.) Burfeindt now alleges fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy/obstruction of justice, tax fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, perjury and RICO claims against the following defendants: HVFCU and its counsel, Gerald C. Roth, Esq.; Mark A. Krohn, Esq., the court-appointed referee; Nina Postupack, Ulster County Clerk; and the State of New York. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-18, 81-185, Dkt. No. 67.)

III. Standard of Review

The standard of review under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 is well established and will not be repeated here.*fn2 For a full discussion of the standard, the court refers the parties to its decision in Ellis v. Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP, 701 F. Supp. 2d 215, 218 (N.D.N.Y. 2010).

IV. Discussion

Defendants' argue that Burfeindt's claim should be dismissed on the bases of sovereign immunity, quasi-judicial immunity, and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.*fn3 (See Dkt. Nos. 68, 70, 73, 74.) Although Burfeindt filed two motions to strike, multiple responses, and an Amended Complaint, he has failed to substantively counter any of the arguments raised in defendants' motions. (See Dkt. Nos. 20, 33, 67, 76, 81.) Despite this failure, the court-after reviewing the defendants' motions and the Amended Complaint-concludes that Burfeindt's claims are meritless.

A. Sovereign immunity

Burfeindt's claims against the State of New York are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. (See Dkt. Nos. 12, 73.) The Eleventh Amendment shields states and their agencies, departments, and officials in their official capacities from suit in federal court, regardless of the relief sought. See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276 (1986). This immunity gives way in only three circumstances: (1) where it is waived by the state; (2) where it has been abrogated by Congress, see Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1985); and (3) where a state official is sued in her official capacity for prospective injunctive relief, see Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 157 (1908). Since Burfeindt's claims do not fall within any of these recognized exceptions, the State's motion is granted and all claims against it are dismissed.

B. Quasi-judicial immunity

Similarly, Burfeindt's causes of action against Postupack and Krohn also fail as both are immune from suit. It is well settled that quasi-judicial immunity is absolute if the official's role "is 'functionally comparable' to that of a judge." See Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 513 (1978); see also Cleavinger v. Saxner, 474 U.S. 193, 201 (1985) ("Absolute immunity flows not from rank or title or location within the Government, but from the nature of the responsibilities of the individual official." (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Gross v. Rell, 585 F.3d 72, 81 (2d Cir. 2009) ("Judicial and quasi-judicial immunity are both absolute immunities." (citations omitted)). In evaluating whether an official's duties are "functionally comparable" to those of a judge, courts should consider several factors, including:

(a) the need to assure that the individual can perform his functions without harassment or intimidation; (b) the presence of safeguards that reduce the need for private damages actions as a means of controlling unconstitutional conduct; (c) insulation from political influence; (d) the importance of precedent; (e) ...


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