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Wik v. Dollinger

United States District Court, W.D. New York

April 30, 2014

DANIEL J. WIK, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD DOLLINGER, in his individual and official capacity, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss filed by the Honorable Richard Dollinger ("Defendant"), Notice of Motion, Oct. 23, 2012, ECF No. 2, concerning the complaint filed against him by Daniel J. Wik ("Plaintiff"). Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Defendant, a New York State Supreme Court Justice, allegedly rescinded a writ of habeas corpus that had been issued by another judge and thereby caused Plaintiff to be held longer in custody on a traffic arrest.[1] The accusatory instrument on which Plaintiff was being held was later adjudicated as facially deficient and, according to the complaint, dismissed.

Plaintiff contends that by rescinding the writ of habeas corpus, Defendant is personally liable to him for damages. The Court determines that since Defendant acted in his capacity as a judicial officer, he is entitled to absolute immunity. Therefore, the Court grants his motion to dismiss and directs the Clerk to enter judgment for Defendant.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a familiar litigant in this Court and brings his sovereign perspective to every case he has filed.[2] For the purposes of analyzing his motion, the Court presumes the factual allegations in his complaint to be true and recites the pertinent facts from that document. Plaintiff was stopped for the above-described traffic violation in New York State on July 27, 2010, and remanded to jail for a total of approximately five days. Compl. ¶¶ 33, 36. The offense with which he was charged is classified as a misdemeanor. N.Y. Veh. & Traff. L. § 511(2)(b) (McKinney's 2014). On July 29, Plaintiff filed a petition for a common law writ of habeas corpus in a New York State court, and the writ was granted by New York Supreme Court Justice Alex R. Renzi on or about July 30, 2010. Id. ¶¶ 37-38. The writ was addressed to Gary T. Maha and ordered him to produce Plaintiff on the writ. According to the complaint, that did not occur. Instead, on or about July 30, 2011, Defendant "allegedly rescinded the Writ of Habeas Corpus issued by Judge Alex R. Renzi." Compl. ¶ 42. Plaintiff contends that issuing a writ is a ministerial duty, and that Defendant "has no immunity for ministerial acts." Id. ¶¶ 45, 47. He further contends that any New York judge who fails to issue a writ of habeas corpus is personally liable for penalties. Plaintiff further alleges, in conclusory fashion, that Defendant "conspired with others including but not limited to Donald R. Kunego, [and] Robert Noonan to deprive Plaintiff of his Liberty, Happiness, due process, and equal protection of the law." Compl. ¶ 55.

Plaintiff's complaint raises thirteen causes of action under just about every Amendment to the Constitution and seeks a declaratory judgment against Defendant as well as injunctive relief.

STANDARDS OF LAW

Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiff is unrepresented by counsel. Accordingly, this Court must follow the requirements of the Second Circuit, which held:

When considering motions to dismiss a pro se complaint such as this, "courts must construe [the complaint] broadly, and interpret [it] to raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggests." Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). This is especially true when dealing with pro se complaints alleging civil rights violations. See Weinstein v. Albright, 261 F.3d 127, 132 (2d Cir. 2001). Accordingly, the plaintiffs' allegations in this case must be read so as to "raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Weixel v. Bd. of Educ. of N.Y., 287 F.3d 138, 145-146 (2d Cir. 2002).

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), clarified the standard to be applied to a 12(b)(6) motion:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to ...

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