United States District Court, N.D. New York
SAMODOVITZ Plaintiff, Pro Se
ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN LOUIS JIM, ESQ. Ass't Attorney
General New York State Attorney General Attorneys for
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
N. HURD, United States District Judge
October 11, 2016, plaintiff Arthur Samodovitz
("Samodovitz" or "plaintiff"), proceeding
pro se, initially filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
against Carol A. Cocchiola, the Binghamton City Court Judge
presiding over a civil case in which plaintiff is a named
defendant. Plaintiff's § 1983 complaint asserted
violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to procedural
due process and to equal protection arising from certain
aspects of Judge Cocchiola's conduct in presiding over
the pending state action.
October 31, 2016, Judge Cocchiola, represented by the
Attorney General of the State of New York, moved to dismiss
Samodovitz's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6) because plaintiff had
failed to state any viable claims. Plaintiff initially
responded in opposition on November 14, 2016.
December 29, 2016, Samodovitz filed a letter motion
requesting leave to amend his complaint, primarily seeking to
add Richard D. Northrup, Jr., a Broome County Court Judge, as
a second defendant in this action. According to plaintiff,
Judge Northrup was responsible for hearing an interlocutory
appeal from his pending state court action. Plaintiff later
filed a letter motion requesting that certain exhibits also
be included with his proposed amended complaint.
February 2, 2017, the Attorney General filed a letter motion
requesting that Samodovitz's exhibits be struck under
Rule 12(f). According to this letter, plaintiff's filing
"casts aspersions on Judge Cocchiola's character and
judicial conduct by implying that donations from the law firm
of Levin, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP to various campaign
committees, including that of Judge Cocchiola's,
influenced Judge Cocchiola's judicial decisions in a
matter pending in Binghamton City Court." At that time,
the Attorney General also pointed out that although plaintiff
is proceeding pro se, he is actually admitted to practice law
in the State of Connecticut, making his behavior
same day, Samodovitz filed a letter motion requesting that
Judge Cocchiola "consent" to the filing of
plaintiff's proposed amended complaint under the liberal
standard established in Rule 15(a)(2). Thereafter, plaintiff
filed an opposition to the Attorney General's letter
motion to strike. All of these pending motions will be
considered on the basis of the submissions and without oral
October 5, 2010, Samodovitz met with a vascular surgeon
employed by United Medical Associates of Johnson City, New
York in an effort to determine the appropriate treatment for
varicose veins in plaintiff's left leg. Am. Compl. ¶
1. The surgeon recommended that plaintiff undergo an
"ambulatory phlebectomy, " a procedure where some
veins are physically removed from the leg, as well as an
"RF ablation, " a procedure where other veins are
sealed internally without being removed. Id. In
preparation for these two surgical procedures, the surgeon
required plaintiff to first have an ultrasonic "vein
mapping" of his left leg. Id. ¶ 2.
According to plaintiff, the surgeon recommended that this
pre-surgical procedure take place at United Health Services
Hospital ("UHS"). Id.
January 11, 2011, Samodovitz underwent an ultrasonic vein
mapping of his left leg at UHS. Am. Compl. ¶ 3. The bill
from UHS for this procedure was "about $2148, and was
excessive." Id. ¶ 4. According to
plaintiff, the procedure was performed by a technician
"and only took about 20 minutes." Id.
Nevertheless, plaintiff and his insurer "paid this bill
in full through error." Id. ¶ 5.
March 16, 2011, Samodovitz underwent the two surgical
procedures described above at the hands of the surgeon at
UHS. Am. Compl. ¶ 6. The bill from UHS this time was
"about $8457, which was excessive." Id.
¶ 7; see also id. ¶¶ 8-13, 18
(setting forth itemized charges on this bill as well as
smaller, related bills invoiced as a result). Plaintiff's
medical insurer paid "about $6, 941" toward these
services. Id. ¶ 19. However, plaintiff did not
pay the balance remaining-"about $1542"-because
"it appeared to plaintiff that UHS overcharged" for
these services. Id. ¶ 20.
these two procedures, Samodovitz's surgeon directed him
"to get an ultrasonic vein scan" of his left leg
"to check for a clot, even though Plaintiff had no
symptoms of a clot." Am. Compl. ¶ 21. Plaintiff
complied even though "[t]his vein scan was
unnecessary." Id. ¶ 22. The bill from UHS
for this vein scan was "about $1100, and was
excessive." Id. ¶ 23. Nevertheless,
plaintiff and his insurer "paid this bill in full,
through error." Id. ¶ 24.
UHS sued Samodovitz in Binghamton City Court for failing to
pay the remainder of his past due balance. Am. Compl. ¶
25. Judge Cocchiola is the presiding judge in that civil
action. Id. ¶ 26. Further, UHS also
"posted a defamatory notice with one or more credit
agencies that Plaintiff failed to pay an allegedly improper
bill." Id. ¶ 27.
the pendency of this civil action, Judge Cocchiola has
"improperly denied" certain of Samodovitz's
motions to compel discovery. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 31-32.
According to plaintiff, Judge Cocchiola has also
"improperly delayed 11 months in deciding"
UHS's request for a protective order, id. ¶