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Rizvi v. The Town of Wawarsing

United States District Court, N.D. New York

April 23, 2015

SHAHIDA RIZVI, individually and doing business as Colonial Motel, Plaintiff,

MARK D. STERN, ESQ., Office of Mark D. Stern, Goshen, NY, for the Plaintiff.

MICHAEL J. MURPHY, ESQ., WILLIAM C. FIRTH, ESQ., Carter, Conboy Law Firm, Albany, NY, for the Defendant.


GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Shahida Rizvi, individually and doing business as Colonial Motel, brought this action against several defendants alleging six causes of action. ( See generally Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) All claims and defendants were dismissed on motion except for causes of action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Equal Protection and dormant Commerce Clauses against defendant the Town of Wawarsing. (Dkt. No. 35 at 15-16.) Pending is the Town's motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims, (Dkt. No. 47), and Rizvi's cross motion to "amend and reinstate complaint against [former defendants] Scott Carlsen, Dan Johnson and Terry Houck, individually, " (Dkt. No. 54). For the reasons set forth below, the Town's motion is granted, and Rizvi's cross motion is denied.

II. Background

A. Facts[1]

Rizvi, who is a woman of Pakistani origin and Muslim, owns and operates the Colonial Motel. (Pl.'s Statement of Material Facts (SMF) ¶¶ 2, 3, 7, Dkt. No. 53, Attach. 1.) The Colonial Motel, which is located in the Town, has eighteen rooms that are regularly occupied by registered sex offenders referred to it by the Ulster County Department of Social Services. (Def.'s SMF ¶¶ 7-9, Dkt. No. 47, Attach. 2.) In 2011, the Town enacted Local Law No. 2 of 2011 (hereinafter "Local Law"), which became effective January 1, 2012. (Id. ¶ 10; Local Law No. 2 of 2011, Dkt. No. 1 at 21-24.) The Local Law created a new chapter to the Town Code titled "Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses and Bed & Breakfasts." (Dkt. No. 1 at 21.) Saliently, the Local Law regulates the aforementioned types of establishments within the Town's geography by, among other things, restricting occupancy "by the same guest or customer to no more than [thirty] consecutive days or [ninety] days in any individual calendar year" (hereinafter "the 30/90 rule"). (Def.'s SMF ¶ 10); Local Law No. 2 of 2011 § 71-7(B). In addition to Colonial Motel, three hotels/motels are within the ambit of the Local Law: Chelsea House, Continental Motel, and Honors Haven Resort and Spa. (Def.'s SMF ¶ 12.) Prior to the Local Law's effective date, each of the affected hotels/motels-four in number-was notified of the new ordinance. (Id. ¶ 38.)

After the Local Law went into effect, Chief Code Enforcement Officer Bryant Arms and subordinate officer Barron Berg "visited the Colonial Motel and all other motels/hotels within the Town... to help implement the new law and to ensure that [it] was administered properly, including ensuring that the proprietors maintained a register of guests in the lobby with the names of the inhabitants." (Id. ¶¶ 40, 41, 47.) In March 2012, the Colonial Motel failed an inspection for failure to maintain a guest register consistent with the Local Law, and violations of the 30/90 day rule. (Dkt. No. 47, Attach. 14 ¶ 9.) Days later, Arms followed up and found substantial compliance with the guest register requirements but continuing violations of the 30/90 day rule. (Id. ¶ 10.) In April and May, appearance tickets were issued to the Colonial Motel. (Dkt. No. 47, Attach. 3 at 31, 35; Def.'s SMF ¶¶ 56-58.) On April 30, Arms was instructed by Town Supervisor Carlsen to issue appearance tickets to the Colonial Motel for violations of the 30/90 day rule. (Def.'s SMF ¶ 33; Dkt. No. 47, Attach. 11 at 42.) Carlsen also ordered Arms to withdraw an April appearance ticket, which concerned Colonial Motel's failure to apply for a license, and, consistent with Carlsen's directive, it was withdrawn. (Dkt. No. 47, Attach. 11 at 42-43, 45; Def.'s SMF ¶ 56.) On prior occasions, Arms was instructed by Town Counsel to issue tickets; such directives were not unusual and regularly occurred. (Def.'s SMF ¶ 48.)[2]

B. Procedural History

This action was commenced in the Southern District of New York, ( see generally Compl.), but soon thereafter venue was changed to this District by stipulation of the parties, (Dkt. No. 14). Defendants, who, at that time, included Carlsen, Johnson, and Houck, the County of Ulster, and the Town, all filed pre-answer motions to dismiss the complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 18, 20.) Those motions were granted in part and denied in part, (Dkt. No. 35), and, following discovery, (Dkt. No. 46), the pending motions were filed, (Dkt. Nos. 47, 54).

III. Standard of Review

A. Leave to Amend

Rule 15(a) provides that, where a party seeks to amend her pleading before trial, "[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However, "[w]here a scheduling order has been entered, the lenient standard under Rule 15(a)... must be balanced against the requirement under Rule 16(b) that the Court's scheduling order shall not be modified except upon a showing of good cause.'" Laskowski v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., No. 5:11-cv-340, 2013 WL 5127039, at *2 n.3 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 12, 2013) (quoting Grochowski v. Phoenix Constr., 318 F.3d 80, 86 (2d Cir. 2003)). "To satisfy the good cause standard the party must show that, despite its having exercised diligence, the applicable deadline could not have been reasonably met." Id. at *2 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Further, "the good cause standard is not satisfied when the ...

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