United States District Court, E.D. New York
THOMAS FEDELE, MATTHEW ANDERSON, GREGORY AURIGEMMA, ARTURO F. RAMIREZ-CALLE, and ALEC ZEF, Plaintiffs,
MARIANNE HARRIS, KIARAN JOHNSON-LEW, MARY STARR, RICHARD ERNST, JAMIE WOODWARD, HONORA " NONIE" MANION, NANCY WILLIAMS, EDWARD CHASZCZEWSKI, RICHARD ARNOLD, ARGIROULA " ARGI" O'LEARY, VICTOR VASTA, JR., TODD WYNNE, and DAVID SAVOIE, Defendants
For the Plaintiff: Howard R. Birnbach, Esq., Great Neck, NY.
For the Defendants: Marsha W. Yee, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York, Mineola, NY.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.
On November 18, 2013, the Plaintiffs Thomas Fedele, Matthew Anderson, Gregory Aurigemma, Arturo F. Ramirez-Calle and Alec Zef (collectively the " Plaintiffs" ) commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and certain tax secrecy statutes against the Defendants Marianne Harris, Kiaran Johnson-Lew, Mary Starr, Richard Ernst, Jamie Woodward, Honora " Nonie" Manion, Nancy Williams, Edward Chaszczewski, Richard Arnold, Argiroula " Argi" O'Leary, Victor Vasta, Jr., Todd Wynne, and David Savoie (collectively the " Defendants" ). The Plaintiffs are, except for Anderson, members of the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Office of Tax Enforcement (the " DTF" or the " Department" ). Anderson is a former member of the Criminal Investigations Division. The Defendants are high-level officials within the Department.
In particular, the Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants, under color of state law, unlawfully initiated and conducted audits and tax investigations of the Plaintiffs as a pretext for terminating their civil service employment in retaliation for their exercise of certain constitutionally protected civil rights. The Plaintiffs further allege that the Defendants disclosed the Plaintiffs' confidential federal and New York State tax returns in violation of federal and state tax secrecy laws.
On January 24, 2014, the Defendants moved for (i) an order pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) and 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) granting their motion to dismiss or transfer this case for improper venue or, in the alternative, an order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) granting their motion to transfer this case to the Northern District of New York; (ii) an order pursuant to Rules 50.1(d)(3) and 50.2(f)(2) of this district's Guidelines for the Division of Business Among District Judges granting their motion to cancel the designation of this case as a Long Island case; (iii) an order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 12(b)(1) granting their motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because this case is not ripe and the Plaintiffs lack standing; (iv) an order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) granting their motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Plaintiffs oppose the Defendants' motion in its entirety.
For the following reasons, the motion is denied in part and granted in part.
Unless stated otherwise, the following facts are drawn from the complaint and construed in a light most favorable to the non-moving parties, the Plaintiffs.
A. The Parties
The Plaintiff Thomas Fedele is domiciled in Bronx County of New York State.
The Plaintiff Matthew Anderson is domiciled in Nassau County of New York State.
The Plaintiff Gregory Aurigemma is domiciled in Nassau County of New York State.
The Plaintiff Arturo F. Ramirez-Calle is domiciled in Queens County in New York State.
The Plaintiff, Alec Zef, is domiciled in Nassau County in New York State.
The Defendant Marianne Harris was, at all relevant times, the Deputy Inspector General and later the Director of Internal Affairs of the DTF.
The Defendant Kiaran-Johnson-Lew was, at all relevant times, the Director of Human Resources of the DTF.
The Defendant Mary Starr was, at all relevant times, the Director of Personnel for the DTF.
The Defendant Richard Ernst was, at all relevant times, the Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement of the DTF.
The Defendant Jamie Woodward was, at all relevant times, the Acting Commissioner and later Executive Deputy Commissioner of the DTF.
The Defendant Honora " Nonie" Manion was, at all relevant times, the Director and Head of Audit for the DTF.
The Defendant Nancy Williams was, at all relevant times, the Head of Income/Franchise Tax ...