United States District Court, N.D. New York
LEON R. KOZIOL, individually and as natural parent of Child A and Child B, Plaintiff,
DANIEL KING et al., Defendants.
Leon R. Koziol, Pro Se, New Hartford, NY, for the Plaintiff.
JUSTIN L. ENGEL, Assistant Attorney General, Daniel King; James Gorman; James Tormey; Robert Rose; John Lahtinen; Edward Spain; Leslie Stein; Monica Duffy; Steven Zayas; John Centra, HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, New York State Attorney General, Albany, NY, WILLIAM P. SCHMITT, ESQ., Nicole Christensen, Schmitt & Lascurettes, LLC, Utica, NY, for the Defendants.
Kelly Hawse-Koziol, Pro Se, New Hartford, NY. PAUL G. FERRARA, ESQ., William Koslosky, Costello, Cooney Law Firm>, Syracuse, NY.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.
Plaintiff pro se Leon R. Koziol commenced this action against defendants Daniel King, James Gorman, James Tormey, Robert Rose, John Lahtinen, Edward Spain, Leslie Stein, Monica Duffy, Steven Zayas, John Centra, (collectively, "State Defendants"), Nicole Christensen, defendant pro se Kelly Hawse-Koziol, and William Koslosky, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and also asserting a claim of prima facie tort under New York common law. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Pending are State Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), (Dkt. No. 23), Koslosky's motions for summary judgment, (Dkt. No. 25), and for sanctions pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, (Dkt. No. 27), Christensen's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), (Dkt. No. 36), Hawse-Koziol's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), (Dkt. No. 39), and Koziol's cross motion for disqualification of the court and a preliminary injunction, (Dkt. No. 41). For the reasons that follow, each of defendants' motions are granted, Koziol's cross motion is denied, and his complaint is dismissed.
Koziol is a suspended attorney and "parental advocate... seeking to reform th[e] child rearing system." (Compl. ¶¶ 6, 58, 60, 66.) Endeavoring to comprehend his verbose, disjointed, and vitriolic complaint has been, to use Koziol's own words, "a chaotic ordeal." (Dkt. No. 45, Attach. 1 ¶ 14.) Nonetheless, the court has waded through all 179 paragraphs, and, after a painstaking review, has gleaned that Koziol's gripes derive from two general sources: (1) divorce, child custody, and chid support proceedings in New York Family Court, throughout which various judges have continuously and systematically violated myriad constitutional rights; and (2) state court decisions suspending him from the practice of law in New York, and the various investigations prior and subsequent to those decisions. ( See generally Compl.)
Thus, in this case-his fourth filed in the Northern District of New York-Koziol names as defendants eight New York state judges, two former members of New York's Committee on Professional Standards (COPS), a court-appointed Attorney for the Child, a supervisor for the Oneida County Support Collection Unit, and his ex-wife. ( Id. ) Against each of these defendants, he asserts a veritable potpourri of constitutional and state law infractions: violations of his Fourteenth Amendment substantive and procedural due process and equal protection rights, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendment "parental privacy" rights, First Amendment "free speech, free press, free religion, free association and judicial access" rights, and state tort law. ( Id. ¶¶ 154-68, 174-75.) He also seeks declaratory and injunctive relief in the form of the following: (1) "[a] permanent inunction... upon interacting processes challenged by this action and on custody/support orders and license suspensions issued"; (2) "[a] judgment declaring unconstitutional Section 240(1) of the New York Domestic Relations Law, the parental classifications enforced in New York, and a practice of censoring out-of-court criticisms"; (3) "[a] judgment declaring unconstitutional Section 8.4(d) and (h) of the New York Attorney Rules of Conduct and the terms of suspension upon [him] which prohibit opinions and employment related to the law in undefined and wide ranging contexts"; and (4) "[o]rders restoring [his] law license in this [c]ourt,  sealing the records and parenting time sufficient to overcome child alienations." ( Id. at 30.)
Below, to the extent possible, the court attempts to set forth the relevant facts pertaining to each defendant.
A. State Defendants
1. Judge King
Judge King is a County Court judge in Lewis County, New York, and, beginning in 2013, presided over Koziol's Family Court matters. ( Id. ¶¶ 19, 108.) Specifically, Koziol alleges that, in July 2013, his ex-wife, Hawse-Koziol, filed "specious petitions, " and, subsequently, Judge King issued several "bad faith orders, " that, among other things, restricted Koziol's alcohol consumption during visits with his children and limited the geographic area in which he could travel with them. ( Id. ¶¶ 108-12, 115.)
Koziol further alleges that Judge King imposed additional restrictions on him when he sought to take his children to an out-of-town wedding. ( Id. ¶¶ 119-20.) These restrictions included requiring separate lodging for Koziol's children and fiancee and prohibiting alcohol consumption. ( Id. ) After the wedding, Judge King "ordered [Koziol] to answer violation charges, " apparently because Hawse-Koziol alleged that Koziol had violated the visitation conditions established by Judge King. ( Id. ¶¶ 121-26.) Thereafter, Koziol claims that Judge King suspended his parenting time, but that decision was later reversed by the Appellate Division. ( Id. ¶¶ 126-28.) Later, "in a decision received on Christmas Eve, " Judge King "defied the higher court order" and issued "more punitive orders... solely to discredit [Koziol]'s public criticisms monitored outside of court, " presumably on his website. ( Id. ¶¶ 127-28.) Finally, Koziol alleges that, in January 2014, Judge King conducted a hearing in "contempt of a higher court order, " during which he "falsely accus[ed Koziol] of objecting to entire testimony, " "directed [Koziol] to be quiet' or be removed' from the court, " "facilitated false testimony, " and generally converted the proceedings "to a father-bashing session infected by rumor and innuendo." ( Id. ¶¶ 130-37.)
2. Magistrate Gorman
Magistrate Gorman is a Support Magistrate for Onondaga County, and, in 2012, was assigned to Koziol's "child rearing matters." ( Id. ¶¶ 20, 95-96.) Koziol alleges that, after he "secured a position projected to satisfy accumulating support arrears, " Hawse-Koziol "refused [to] cooperat[e], " which "forc[ed Koziol] to file for [a] downward adjustment." ( Id. ¶ 95.) Thereafter, Magistrate Gorman "issued a later conceded unlawful order with minor temporary relief that failed to advance [Koziol]'s long term goals." ( Id. ¶ 96.) Magistrate Gorman also appointed Koslosky to represent Koziol's children in support proceedings. ( Id. ¶¶ 101, 105.) Additionally, in April 2013, Koziol published a twenty-five page complaint on his website, which was critical of the "inordinate delays and employment injury caused by Magistrate Gorman, " and, ten days later, Magistrate Gorman "issued a four month late decision which reversed his unlawful order, imposed lawyer fees contrary to record commitments, imputed income based on a fabricated PhD, and hiked support obligations to unmanageable levels." ( Id. ¶¶ 103-04.)
2. Judge Tormey
Judge Tormey is the Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District. ( Id. ¶ 21.) In this role, Judge Tormey assigned certain judges to Koziol's various family law matters, who then often issued decisions and orders unfavorable to Koziol. ( Id. ¶¶ 82, 138.)
3. Justices Rose, Lahtinen, Spain, and Stein
At the time Koziol filed his complaint, Justices Rose, Lahtinen, Spain, and Stein were Justices of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. ( Id. ¶ 22.) These defendants are each named only once in Koziol's complaint. ( Id. ) Koziol has completely failed to provide any factual background elucidating why he has named these individuals as defendants.
4. Justice Centra
Justice Centra is a Justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department. ( Id. ¶ 26.) Koziol alleges that, in January 2008, Justice Centra presided over his application for a stay of his divorce and child custody and support proceedings. ( Id. ¶¶ 1-5, 31-38.) Koziol further alleges that, around the same time, an "ethics prosecution" was commenced against him, and Justice Centra "directed" the prosecution "using means outside of established channels and judicial scope." ( Id. ¶¶ 40-41.) According to Koziol, Justice Centra "was offended by [Koziol]'s criticisms, " and the purpose of the prosecution "was not designed to further any legitimate ethics objective but to make an example of [Koziol] by suppressing his accurate criticisms of Family Court and discouraging long overdue reform." ( Id. ¶¶ 41-44.)
5. Zayas and Duffy
Zayas is a former member of COPS, and Duffy is the former chairperson and current chief counsel. ( Id. ¶¶ 23-24.) Koziol claims that Zayas and Duffy authorized and led "inquiries" of him and submitted a "secret' report" opposing his reinstatement to the bar. ( Id. ¶¶ 69, 143-44, 146, 150.)
Christensen is a supervisor for the Oneida County Support Collection Unit and is assigned to Koziol's income and asset executions. ( Id. ¶ 25.) Although far from clear, Koziol appears to allege that Christensen aided Hawse-Koziol in "impair[ing] driving and employment liberties, " "pursuant to an unlawful [support] intercept to enforce private debts." ( Id. ¶¶ 98, 100.)
Koslosky was appointed Attorney for the Child for Koziol's two children, and, in that role, he "harmed the long term interests of [the children]." ( Id. ¶ 28.) Koziol further claims that Koslosky fabricated and submitted a sworn statement "claiming that [Koziol] had sought reinstatement of his law license in Onondaga Family Court in a scam to fabricate lawyer incompetence" and, together with Hawse-Koziol, "lodged false claims... that [Koziol] had arranged a kidnapping plot in Rio de Janeiro." ( Id. ¶¶ 71-72, ...