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Aron v. Becker

United States District Court, N.D. New York

September 22, 2014

MARIA ARON, Plaintiff,
v.
CARL F. BECKER, in his official capacity as the pistol licensing officer of Delaware County, New York, in his official administrative capacity as the County Judge of Delaware County, and in his individual capacity; CHRISTA SCHAFER, Clerk, Delaware County Board of Supervisors, New York, in her official and individual capacities; JOSEPH EISEL, Chairman, Delaware County Board of Supervisors, New York, in his official and individual capacities; SHARON O'DELL, County Clerk, Delaware County, New York, in her official and individual capacities; MARILYN L. OLSEN, Pistol Clerk, Delaware County, New York, in her official and individual capacities; RICHARD NORTHRUP, in his official capacity as Delaware County District Attorney; STATE OF NEW YORK; ANDREW CUOMO, in his official capacity as Governor and Chief Executive Officer of the State of New York, Defendants

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For Maria Aron, Plaintiff: Tatiana Neroni, LEAD ATTORNEY, Neroni Law Office, Delhi, NY.

For Carl F. Becker, in his official capacity as the pistol licensing officer of Delaware County, New York, in his official administrative capacity as the County Judge of Delaware County and in his individual capacity, State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, in his official capacity as Governor and Chief Executive Officer of the State of New York, Defendants: James B. McGowan, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York State Department of Law - Albany Office, Albany, NY.

For Christa Schafer, Clerk Delaware County Board of Supervisors, New York, in her official and individual capacities, Joseph Eisel, Chairman, Delaware County Board of Supervisors, New York, in his official and individual capacities, Sharon O'Dell, County Clerk, Delaware County, New York, in her official and individual capacities, Marilyn L. Olsen, Pistol Clerk, Delaware County, New York, in her official and individual capacities, Richard Northrup, in his official capacity as Delaware County District Attorney, Defendants: Frank W. Miller, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bryan N. Georgiady, Office of Frank W. Miller, East Syracuse, NY.

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DECISION & ORDER

THOMAS J. McAVOY, Senior United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Maria Aron (" Plaintiff" ) commenced this action against the Hon. Carl F. Becker, County Judge of Delaware County, New York (" Judge Becker" ), the State of New York (" New York" ), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (" Governor Cuomo" ) (collectively " the State Defendants" ); Christa Schafer, Clerk, Delaware County Board of Supervisors (" Schafer" ), Joseph Eisel, Chairman, Delaware County Board of Supervisors (" Eisel" ), Sharon O'Dell, County Clerk, Delaware County (" O'Dell" ), Marilyn L. Olsen, Pistol Clerk, Delaware County (" Olsen" ), and Richard Northrup, Delaware County District Attorney (" Northrup" ) (collectively " the County Defendants" ).[1]

In a convoluted Complaint, Plaintiff brings what she identifies as eight individual Causes of Action in connection with the events surrounding the denial of her pistol permit application. Currently pending are separate motions by the State Defendants and County Defendants to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety, see dkt. # 13; dkt. # 17, and a motion by Plaintiff to supplement the Complaint. See dkt. # 23. For the reasons that follow the State Defendants' motion (dkt. # 13) is GRANTED, the County Defendants' motion (dkt. # 17) is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's motion to supplement the complaint (dkt. # 23) is DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND[2]

On June 28, 2012, Plaintiff had foot surgery which resulted in a period of disability requiring in-home care from April through September, and caused her to require a walker or crutches during movement. Compl. at ¶ 19. Also, Plaintiff's home is located in a remote region of Delaware County and is frequented by black bears, coyotes and coy dogs. Id. at ¶ ¶ 18, 20. In addition, burglaries had taken place in the area near Plaintiff's home, which caused Plaintiff to become concerned for her safety. Id. at ¶ ¶ 21-22. In July 2012 Plaintiff applied for a pistol permit.

Plaintiff was provided " a stack of papers to fill out including a questionnaire that indicated that Plaintiff had to provide four affidavits from people who knew Plaintiff for a number of years," which she completed and filed with the Delaware County Pistol Clerk. Id. at ¶ ¶ 23-24. Plaintiff also had to be fingerprinted. Id. at ¶ ¶ 24-25.

After setting up an appointment to have her fingerprints taken, Plaintiff went to

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the Pistol Clerk's office located in the Delaware County Courthouse (" Courthouse" ). She was told that the fingerprinting was done in the Delhi Village Police Department, located in a building behind the Courthouse " on the second floor, assessable through a non-descript door and not the main entrance to the Police Department or to the Village Hall." Id. at ¶ 29. Once at the Police Department, Plaintiff was told that the person " who was supposed to conduct the fingerprinting did not show up." Id. 31. Plaintiff felt " frustrated with the discourtesy and lack of accommodation in the pistol clerk's office as to appointments and notification of cancellations of fingerprinting." Id. ¶ 32. " During the second fingerprinting appointment individual [sic] responsible for fingerprinting simply did not show up." Id. ¶ 34. On Plaintiff's third attempt, the fingerprinting was accomplished and Plaintiff paid the filing and fingerprinting fees " but received an extremely substandard service by the Pistol Clerk's office and its subcontractors in charge of fingerprinting and the money was never refunded." Id. ¶ 36.

On June 18, 2013, Plaintiff received an " insultingly short 'letter' decision" from Judge Becker denying her pistol permit application. Id. at ¶ 39. The letter states:

Today I am denying your Pistol Permit Application. I have received a number of complaints about your behavior in and around the Delaware County Clerk's Office in connection with your efforts to gain access to the building and your argumentative nature when dealing with the County Clerk's staff.
Your aggressive and argumentative nature as revealed by these complaints indicates to me that you do not have the good judgment necessary to hold a Pistol Permit.
Accordingly, your Application has been denied.

Compl. Ex. 1.

Plaintiff contends that she " never engaged in any aggressive discussions with personnel of the County Court building." Compl. ¶ 43. She does assert, however:

On one of the three occasions when Plaintiff arrived for fingerprinting and could not find the location of the fingerprinting, and when Plaintiff crossed the road back from the Delhi Village Police building to the courthouse ... where the pistol clerk's office is located, she approached the courthouse from the back and attempted to enter through the back door. The door was locked, but through the glass door Plaintiff could see two females up at a desk and thought they were local employees. Plaintiff waived her hands to them and with her lips articulated as distinctly as she could " where do I need to go?" The two females motioned Plaintiff away back towards the police building. Plaintiff does not know the personnel of the County Office or of the courthouse generally, and cannot tell whether these two females even work in the courthouse, because, on her later inquiry and excursion around the courthouse with her attorney, she learnt [sic] that the access point where she was trying to access the building led up to the archive of the County Clerk's office which is open to the public, and a desk that she saw through the glass door was also a desk where member [sic] of the public could use to review the ...

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