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Daniel J. Wik v. Robert G. Swapceinski

March 1, 2012

DANIEL J. WIK, PLAINTIFF
v.
ROBERT G. SWAPCEINSKI, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This is an action in which the pro se Plaintiff is suing Defendant, who is a Town Justice in the Town of Bergen, New York, because Defendant allegedly failed to provide Plaintiff with certain documents pertaining to a prosecution against Plaintiff. Now before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Docket No. [#21]). The application is granted and this action is dismissed.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the Complaint and from Defendant's summary judgment motion. Defendant is one of two town justices in the Town of Bergen. The other town justice is the Hon. Ronald Kunego ("Kunego"), against whom Plaintiff has filed a separate lawsuit in this Court. See, Wik v. Kunego, 11-CV-6205 (CJS). Plaintiff alleges that neither Defendant nor Kunego are "judicial officers." Plaintiff contends that Kunego is not a judicial officer because he does not have "certificates from the Genesee County Clerk" attesting to that fact, because the Town of Bergen has "never authorized the use of a blanket bond," and because Kunego has "refused to present his pocket commission."*fn1 Wik v. Kunego, 11-CV-6205 [#1] at ¶ ¶ 40-46. As for Defendant, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is "a person . . . without bond" who is "not titled to possess the office or perform the duties of the office," and who "has refused to present his pocket commission. Complaint [#1] at ¶ ¶ 18, 46.

In or about July 2010, Plaintiff was prosecuted in Bergen Town Court in a case assigned to Kunego. The prosecution involved a number of traffic violations and a misdemeanor charge of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Second Degree ("AUO2nd"). Plaintiff pleaded guilty to AUO2nd. Nevertheless, Plaintiff has various complaints about the manner in which Kunego handled his case. See, Wik v. Kunego, 11-CV-6205 CJS. For example, Plaintiff maintains that Kunego violated his rights by referring to him, in a document, as "DANIEL J WIK" rather than "Daniel J. Wik." On this point, Plaintiff states:

'Daniel J. Wik' is both Plaintiff's name and Plainitiff's complete address. Plaintiff's name was given to Plaintiff by Plaintiff's Father in a solemn religious ceremony and when Plaintiff came of competent age Plaintiff convenanted with God to keep Plaintiff's name sacred and free from perversions. Thus violating Plaintiff's name violates Plaintiff's rights to religious freedom. Plaintiff's name is an English language proper noun. Therefore, according to the rules of the English language, said name must at all times be spelled with capital and lower case letters. . . . According to English language rules Proper nouns not properly capitalized are misspelled; and, Implications at law indicate spellings in the nature of all capital letters can only indicate dead persons or some fictitious business name or corporate capacity; and, Plaintiff is neither dead nor in corporate capacity.

Wik v. Kunego, 11-CV-6205 CJS, Complaint [#1] at ¶ ¶ 10-12. The foregoing excerpt is fairly representative of the nature and quality of the grievances that Plaintiff has directed at Kunego.

In connection with the aforementioned prosecution in Bergen Town Court, over which Kunego was presiding, "Plaintiff made a request to Swapceinski pursuant to New York Judiciary Law § 255 and Uniform Justice Court Act § 2019-a for certified copies of the summons issued by the court, proof of service that was filed with the court, and a copy of the alleged suspension." Complaint [#1] ¶ 24. Defendant reportedly told Plaintiff that he did not have to comply with Plaintiff's request "since the records did not exist," and that he did not want to be involved "with the issues between Plaintiff and Kunego." Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff maintains that Defendant violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, but does not explain how. At most, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated New York Judiciary Law § 255 and the Uniform Justice Court Act § 2019-a by failing to provide him with documents, which resulted in Plaintiff being denied due process. Id. at ¶ ¶ 31-34. The Court observes that New York Judiciary Law § 255 pertains to the duties of a "clerk of a court," while New York's UCJA § 2019-a states, in pertinent part, that the records and docket of the court must be open for inspection by the public.

On November 22, 2011, Defendant filed the subject motion for summary judgment.*fn2 Defendant contends that this action is barred by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity. In response, Plaintiff indicates that he needs discovery to respond to the motion. Specifically, Plaintiff indicates only that he wants discovery to determine whether Defendant is in fact a Town Justice, but offers no basis for him to question whether Defendant is a validly elected Town Justice. See, Affirmation in Support of Motion for Subpoenas [#26] at ¶ 15, 18. Otherwise, Plaintiff's papers filed in opposition to Defendant's motion for summary judgment do not dispute the general factual allegations contained in Defendant's motion,*fn3 which the Court therefore accepts as being true. See, Local Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)(2).

DISCUSSION

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Summary judgment may not be granted unless "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FRCP 56(a). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See, Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). "[T]he movant must make a prima facie showing that the standard for obtaining summary judgment has been satisfied." 11 MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE, § 56.11[1][a] (Matthew Bender 3d ed.). "In moving for summary judgment against a party who will bear the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the movant may satisfy this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim." Gummo v. Village of Depew, 75 F.3d 98, 107 (2d Cir. 1996) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)), cert denied, 517 U.S. 1190 (1996).

The underlying facts contained in affidavits, attached exhibits, and depositions, must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. U.S. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). Summary judgment is appropriate only where, "after drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought, no reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of the non-moving party." Leon v. Murphy, 988 F.2d 303, 308 (2d Cir.1993). Moreover, since Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court is required to ...


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