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Loriann Deuel and Lorraine Deuel v. Frank T. Dalton; State of New York

January 25, 2012

LORIANN DEUEL AND LORRAINE DEUEL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FRANK T. DALTON; STATE OF NEW YORK;
NEW YORK STATE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM; PHILIP J. DANAHER, ESQ., AS THE ATTORNEY APPOINTED TO ACT AS LAW GUARDIAN FOR BMD; CATHERINE CHOLAKIS, AS THE PRESIDING JUSTICE OF THE FAMILY COURT ASSIGNED TO THIS PROCEEDING; JOHN & JANE DOES 1-100, WHOSE IDENTITIES MAY OR MAY NOT BE KNOWN BUT NECESSARY PARTIES TO THESE PROCEEDINGS; ABC CORP'S 1-100, THOSE ENTITIES WHOSE IDENTITIES ARE CURRENTLY UNKNOWN, BUT NECESSARY PARTIES TO THESE PROCEEDINGS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court, in this pro se civil rights action filed by Loriann Deuel and Lorraine Deuel ("Plaintiffs") against the above-captioned defendants (together "Defendants"), are (1) United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece's Report-Recommendation recommending that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed, and (2) Plaintiffs' Objections to that Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. Nos. 4, 5.) For the following reasons, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted, and Plaintiffs' Complaint is dismissed.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiffs' Complaint

On June 8, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this action. (Dkt. No. 1.) Generally, in their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated their constitutional right to due process and equal protection under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with various custody proceedings involving Plaintiff Loriann's minor child, BMD. (Dkt. No. 1 at 4.)

More specifically, construed with the utmost of special liberality, Plaintiffs' Complaint asserts the following six claims against Defendants: (1) Defendants New York State Unified Court System and Cholakis violated, and/or conspired to violate, Plaintiffs' due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by, inter alia, improperly (a) exercising jurisdiction over Plaintiffs during various custody proceedings from 2002 to 2004, where no such jurisdiction existed, (b) failing to notify her of various of those court proceedings, (c) holding various of those proceedings in her absence, and (d) awarding Defendant Dalton custody of BMD, even though Defendant Dalton had not established paternity; (2) Defendants New York State Unified Court System and Cholakis violated, and/or conspired to violate, Plaintiffs' equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by denying Plaintiffs their parental and familial rights; (3) Defendants New York State Unified Court System, Cholakis and Danaher committed, and/or conspired to commit, fraud against Plaintiffs; (4) Defendants New York State Unified Court System, Cholakis and Danaher suborned, and/or conspired to suborn, perjury by Defendant Dalton; (5) Defendant Cholakis, New York State Family Court Judge committed judicial misconduct against Plaintiffs; and (6) Defendant Danaher committed professional misconduct against Plaintiffs. (Dkt. No. 1 at 30-34.)

For a more detailed recitation of Plaintiffs' claims, and the factual allegations giving rise to those claims, reference is made to Plaintiffs' Complaint and Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation in their entireties. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 4.)

B. Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation

On July 19, 2011, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Plaintiffs' Complaint be dismissed for the following reasons: (1) the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over domestic relations matters, including those related to child custody; (2) Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations; and (3) Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). (See generally Dkt. No. 4.)

C. Plaintiffs' Objections to the Report-Recommendation

On August 1, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 5.) Generally, liberally construed, Plaintiffs' Objections argue that Magistrate Judge Treece made the following errors: (1) the Court does have subject-matter jurisdiction in this case because the relief requested does not require the Court to "become enmeshed in factual disputes" (Dkt. No. 5 at 3); (2) Plaintiffs have stated a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because they have adequately alleged Defendants Dalton and Danaher are state actors (Dkt. No. 5 at 4); and (3) the action is not barred by the applicable statute of limitations because the state court "matter has been ongoing for the past seven years." (Dkt. No. 5 at 4.)

In addition, in their Objections, Plaintiffs seek leave to file an Amended Complaint, which Plaintiffs purport would do the following: (1) remove Defendant Cholakis from this action "pursuant to judicial immunity statutes"; (2) "remove the habeas corpus request"; and (3) include recent civil rights violations in an effort "to clear up misunderstandings regarding jurisdiction, timeliness, and the statement of claims." (Dkt. No. 5 at 6.)

II. RELEVANT LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard of Review Governing a Report-Recommendation

When a specificobjection is made to a portion of a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the Court subjects that portion of the report-recommendation to a de novo review. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). To be "specific," the objection must, with particularity, "identify [1] the portions of the proposed findings, recommendations, or report to which it has an objection and [2] the basis for the objection." N.D.N.Y. L.R. 72.1(c).*fn1 When performing such a de novo review, the Court "may . . . receive further evidence. . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, a district court will ordinarily refuse to consider evidentiary material that could have been, but was not, presented to the magistrate judge in the first instance.*fn2

When only a general objection is made to a portion of a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the Court subjects that portion of the report-recommendation to only a clear error review. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2) and (3); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), Advisory Committee Notes: 1983 Addition.*fn3 Similarly, when an objection merely reiterates the same arguments made by the objecting party in its original papers submitted to the magistrate judge, the Court subjects that portion of the report-recommendation to a clear error review.*fn4 Finally, when a party makes no objection to a ...


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