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Topolski v. Wrobleski

United States District Court, Second Circuit

October 16, 2013

SUSAN WROBLESKI; et al., Defendants.


LAWRENCE E. KAHN, District Judge.


In this civil rights action, Plaintiff Paul Topolski ("Plaintiff") alleges that his former in-laws, Defendants Susan Wrobleski ("Ms. Wrobleski") and Michael Wrobleski ("Mr. Wrobleski") (collectively, "the Wrobleskis"), along with other individuals and entities, have deprived him of his parental and other constitutional rights. See generally Dkt No. 1 ("Complaint") at 3-4. Presently before the Court are: (1) Plaintiff's Motion for a preliminary injunction preventing the Wrobleskis from dissipating assets Plaintiff alleges will be needed to satisfy a judgment in this case and restraining the Wrobleskis and Defendant Aliza Steemrod ("Steemrod") from falsely reporting that Plaintiff is mistreating his children or driving while intoxicated; and (2) a Report-Recommendation issued by the Honorable David E. Peebles, U.S. Magistrate Judge, recommending that Plaintiff's claims against the State of New York be dismissed on sovereign immunity grounds. Dkt. Nos. 2 ("PI Motion"); 5 ("Report-Recommendation). For the following reasons, the PI Motion is denied and the Report-Recommendation is adopted in full.


On July 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed the PI Motion and the Complaint, which brings claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. See generally Compl. He alleges that the Wrobleskis have engaged in a "continuous conspiracy for the purpose of depriving [P]laintiff of his parental rights and his right to life and liberty." Id. at 3. According to Plaintiff, the Wrobleskis began plotting in 2000 to have his children taken from his custody. Id. at 4. The Wrobleskis proceeded to lodge a number of putatively baseless complaints with Defendant Onondaga County Child Protective Services ("CPS") regarding Plaintiff's treatment of his children. Id . In 2000, Mr. Wrobleski allegedly followed Plaintiff around "in disguise" and made false reports to the Cicero Police Department that led to Plaintiff's arrest for driving while intoxicated ("DWI") and endangering his children's welfare, although the charges were later dismissed for "legal insufficiency." Id.

In 2003, Plaintiff's children were placed in the Wrobleskis' care after the Wrobleskis reported that Plaintiff had left the children alone; Plaintiff claims that his babysitter was late and his girlfriend's daughter watched the children until the babysitter arrived. Id . In 2008, following Plaintiff's release from prison on DWI charges, the Onondaga Family Court issued an order giving Plaintiff certain visitation rights with his children. Id. at 4-5.

In August 2009, Ms. Wrobleski, even though she knew that Plaintiff had been in regular contact with his children, reported otherwise to the Orchard Park Police Department ("Orchard Park") and requested that Orchard Park perform multiple "welfare checks" on Plaintiff. Id. at 5. The following month, Plaintiff was arrested for DWI, which he claims was the result of four calls from the Wrobleskis to Defendant Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications ("Emergency Communications") operators: one by Mr. Wrobleski, who "stalked" Plaintiff in disguise on the highway, and three by Ms. Wrobleski from her home phone. Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff alleges that he was then assaulted by the Cicero police officers who responded to the Wrobleskis' calls. Id. at 5-6.

In September 2012, a custody hearing regarding Plaintiff's daughter was held at the Onondaga County Courthouse. Id. at 9. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Zachary L. Karmen, the law guardian appointed to represent Plaintiff's daughter, failed to contact Plaintiff prior to the hearing and that the referee, Salvatore Pavone, excluded Plaintiff from this hearing. Id . Plaintiff further alleges that the Wrobleskis and Steemrod negotiated an illegal custody agreement at this hearing that "deprive[d] Plaintiff of his parental rights." Id. at 10. Pursuant to this agreement, Steemrod was given custody of Plaintiff's daughter. Id . Steemrod subsequently kicked Plaintiff's daughter and another of his children out of their "court ordered primary residence." Id.

Plaintiff has recently been paroled from imprisonment for a DWI offense. See Mot. at 3; Dkt. No. 10.


A. Legal Standard

A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy that should not be granted as a routine matter." Patton v. Dole , 806 F.2d 24, 28 (2d Cir. 1986). "The purpose of issuing a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until the court has an opportunity to rule on the... merits.'" Candelaria v. Baker, No. 00-CV-0912 , 2006 WL 618576, at *3 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 10, 2006) (quoting Devose v. Herrington , 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir. 1994)). To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, a movant must show: (1) irreparable harm; and (2) either (a) a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, or (b) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits of the case to make it a fair ground for litigation, and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in favor of the moving party. D.D. ex rel. V.D. v. N.Y.C. Bd. of Educ. , 465 F.3d 503, 510 (2d Cir. 2006). A preliminary injunction "should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Moore v. Consol. Edison Co. , 409 F.3d 506, 510 (2d Cir. 2005).

B. Discussion

1. False Complaints

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