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Dona J. Jackson v. New York State

March 6, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge



Plaintiff Dona J. Jackson ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se,*fn1 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and New York state law alleging various deprivations of her constitutional rights and state law, relating to her allegedly antagonistic relationship with the New York State Police and various other law enforcement agencies, judges, and district attorneys since 1993. In this lawsuit, Plaintiff formally names as defendants, New York State, the New York State Police ("NYSP"), former NYSP Superintendent, James W. McMahon, NYSP Troop E officers, troopers and employees, sixteen individual NYSP officers and investigators and 65 unnamed Jane and John Does (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiff alleges that these defendants as well as many other "co-conspirators" and "terrorists" have engaged in a pattern of unlawful and unconstitutional conduct since early 1993 including, inter alia, at least eleven false arrests, several malicious prosecutions, assault and battery, fraud, perjury and First Amendment retaliation. The Court now considers Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint.


This case has a long and tortured history and, despite being filed in the Northern District of New York on May 9, 2003, it has failed to progress past the pleading stage for the last nine years. (NDNY Docket Sheet, Civil Docket No. 129, Attachment 2). In addition to her original complaint, Plaintiff filed three amended complaints in the Northern District of New York. The Defendants moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint on February 2, 2005, and Plaintiff cross-moved for the immediate production of documents and to enjoin the New York State Attorney General from representing the Defendants. Defendants motion was granted-in-part and denied-in-part, and Plaintiff's motion was denied in all respects on August 16, 2005 by Senior District Judge Howard G. Munson.

Specifically, Judge Munson dismissed Plaintiff's claims arising under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") and her claims for conspiracy, but he found that she could proceed with the remaining claims, even those that were seemingly time-barred, as she had alleged a "continuing violation." See Jackson v. New York State, 381 F.Supp.2d 80 (N.D.N.Y. 2005).

Following Judge Munson's decision, the Defendants answered the Second Amended Complaint. However, Defendants then learned that Plaintiff had served a different complaint on the Defendants than that which was filed with the Court. (NDNY Docket, 10/28/2005.) Plaintiff then filed a motion to file a Third Amended Complaint. The Defendants' initially opposed the motion, but later stipulated to the filing of the Third Amended Complaint. The Defendants also notified the Court on February 27, 2006 that Plaintiff had filed a related case in the Western District of New York almost two years prior on August 8, 2001 (Jackson v. Axsmith, Civil No. 01-CV-6382 ("Axsmith"), in which she alleged many of the same claims and named several of the same defendants. Axsmith was dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to prosecute. (NDNY Docket 2/27/2006.)

In the meantime, in addition to her motion to amend, Plaintiff filed several other motions requesting that the Court (1) compel discovery, (2) disqualify the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the case from representing the Defendants, and (3) appoint a special prosecutor and/or convene a grand jury to investigate her allegations. The Defendants cross-moved to transfer the case to the Western District of New York. On June 30, 2006, Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles issued an order denying all of Plaintiff's requests and transferring this case to this District. Judge Peebles noted that this District would be better equipped to resolve the impact of the dismissal of the Axsmith case on Plaintiff's claims in this case, as the Axsmith case "involv[ed] many of the same claims and operative facts, as well as some of the same defendants." (Docket No. 129-2 at 18.) Accordingly, on July 21, 2006 the case was transferred to this Court.

This case has had a similarly circuitous history in this District. Upon transfer, Plaintiff filed a "combined motion" in which she requested, inter alia, that this Court (1) reconsider and/or vacate Judge Peebles transfer order, (2) enjoin the NYS Attorney General and the assigned Assistant Attorney General from representing the Defendants, (3) order a default against the Defendants for failing to answer the Third Amended Complaint, (4) empanel a grand jury and/or a special prosecutor to investigate her case, and (5) disqualify Judge Peebles from presiding over this case. On February 6, 2007, this Court denied Plaintiff's motion in its entirety. The Court specifically noted that several of Plaintiff's requests were improper and/or had already been denied in the Northern District, and that Plaintiff's request for a default was premature, as it appeared that the Third Amended Complaint had never actually been served on the Defendants.*fn2 The Court also dismissed Plaintiff's claims for conspiracy and RICO violations, which had previously been dismissed in the Northern District. Plaintiff filed an interlocutory appeal of this order, which was partially dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and otherwise dismissed for lack of merit. (Docket No. 143.)

Having not heard from the Plaintiff since she filed her "combined motion" in 2006, on April 18, 2011, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b)("Rule 41(b)"), why this case should not be dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to prosecute. Plaintiff responded by filing a response and two additional lengthy and argumentative motions, which sought much of the same relief that had already been denied by this Court and by Judge Munson and Judge Peebles in the Northern District on multiple occasions. Plaintiff was warned that continuing to file repetitive and frivolous motions may result in sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 ("Rule 11"). (Docket No. 154.)

This Court then referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson to hold a status conference to facilitate moving the case forward and to determine whether counsel should be appointed for the Plaintiff. As discussed in footnote 1, Plaintiff refused the appointment of counsel, but she continued to file numerous frivolous motions with the Court. (Docket No. 163, 166, 176.) She has been repeatedly warned by the Court that the filing of such motions may result in sanctions under Rule 11, including the dismissal of her case for her failure to follow the orders of this Court.

Then, on November 16, 2011, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint.*fn3 (Docket No. 167.) Plaintiff did not respond to the instant motion, but instead filed another duplicative, lengthy (approximately 300 pages) and combative motion for miscellaneous relief on December 27, 2011. This Court denied the motion for Plaintiff's failure to follow the orders of this Court regarding the filing of motions. (Docket No. 177.)

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss raises, for the first time, the issue of res judicata, and it also raises several issues that were previously decided by Judge Munson in his Order denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. The Court will address the issue of res judicata and, as discussed in more detail below, the Court will also re-examine the statute of limitations issues previously raised by the Defendants.


This case involves the conflicting claims of two actions filed by the Plaintiff in this Court. Accordingly, the Court must examine the facts of both cases to determine whether Plaintiff may proceed with any of the claims alleged in this case.

Plaintiff's complaints are lengthy and, at times, incomprehensible. While Plaintiff sets forth some factual allegations, they are interlaced with repeated conclusory statements regarding the defendants conduct; which, according to the Plaintiff, involved, inter alia, "domestic terrorist" activity, "prisoner of war tactics" and "kangaroo trials." She also repeatedly compares the defendants in both cases to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. The Court has thoroughly reviewed both of the Complaints in an attempt to compare the actual factual allegations. But, considering the nature of the submissions, a side-by-side comparison of the complaints is futile.*fn4 The Court has, however, gleaned the following factual allegations from the complaints:

Plaintiff's Axsmith Complaint

(A) Axsmith Defendants

Plaintiff filed the Axsmith complaint in this Court on August 8, 2001. In that action, she and her husband, Peter D. Jackson*fn5 , alleged claims against many state and local law enforcement officials and judicial officers, including district attorneys and judges. She specifically named as defendants the following individuals who are also named as defendants in this case: NYSP Superintendent James W. McMahon, NYSP officers Weston, Cerretto, and Coots, NYSP Troop E Commander, Major Mark Fischer, and many unknown Jane and John Doe NYSP troopers. Whether named or unnamed, both complaints relate events in which many of the same individuals are alleged participants.

(B) Axsmith Allegations

Under a heading entitled "Nature of Suit," Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants have engaged in a "scorched earth" campaign against her, which has resulted in the denial of her constitutional rights and has caused her emotional and physical injury, and by which she has been denied medical treatment and "non-biased/non-prejudicial access enforcement [and the] legal [and] judicial system." She states that she was the victim of false arrests and malicious prosecutions and that the Defendants were "criminally targeting, victimizing and harassing" her and her husband. She also states that the Defendants violated RICO. At various locations in the complaint she states that she is seeking an "Order of Protection" preventing the Defendants from "any further felonious [and] unconstitutional reprisals, crimes, false arrests, unlawful incarcerations, State Police/Sheriff Deputies' violent brutality, battering, bruising, dragging, etc." While not cogently or chronologically describing the facts, the Axsmith complaint relates the following events*fn6

(1) an arrest and prosecution for Aggravated Unlicenced Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the third Degree ("AUO 3rd") on or around November 30, 1998. Prior to her arrest, Plaintiff was parked in front of the NYSP Troop E barracks (apparently carrying a tape recorder to record any conduct of the law enforcement agents). After this arrest, Plaintiff states that she was "not handcuffed [and] her Miranda Rights were not read to her," but she was arraigned before Farmington Town Justice Charles R. Cooksey, who set bail at $500. Plaintiff could not afford bail and remained in Ontario County Jail for approximately three days. Plaintiff states that the district attorney and Judge Cooksey recommended a reduction in the charge, but she refused to accept the offer. She objected to the fact that a jury trial did not occur by refusing to attend the bench trial held on this charge, and she states that she "continues to strongly believe that if she appears at these bench trials Justice Cooksey, D.A. Tantillo [and] his A.D.A.s would railroad her into a guilty conviction." Plaintiff's driver's licence was suspended in September 2000, apparently based on her failure to appear in court. From the Complaint in this action, it also appears that Justice Cooksey charged Plaintiff with Criminal Contempt for failing to appear in court, and sentenced her to 30 days in Ontario County Jail.

(2) an arrest for 4th degree criminal possession of a weapon in October 1999 while Plaintiff was at the Ontario County Courthouse. Plaintiff states that this was a "setup" and that the arresting officers lied during the trial for this offense, which apparently occurred in July 2000 before Canandaigua City Court Judge Stephen D. Aronson.

(3) an incident in May 2000 in which a Village of Wolcott police officer and NYSP officer Weston "trespassed on Plaintiffs' property" and "forcibly [and] violently conducted an [u]nconstitutional non-warranted armed home invasion/break in of ...

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