United States District Court, W.D. New York
GEORGE L. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
JANE C. CAMERON, TERESA J. MUCHA, JOE MARTENS, LANGDON MARSH, THOMAS C. JORLING, and HENRY G. WILLIAMS, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge
se plaintiff George L. Anderson
(“plaintiff”) commenced the instant action on
June 3, 2013, alleging that defendants unlawfully prevented
him from operating a “grandfathered” gravel
mining operation on his property in Chautauqua County, New
York. On August 21, 2013, the Court entered a Decision and
Order in which it granted plaintiff permission to proceed
in forma pauperis and instructed him to file an
amended complaint no later than September 23, 2013. Docket
No. 4. Plaintiff was informed that if he failed to file an
amended complaint, the Court would “proceed to further
review fully the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), against only those defendants named in the
Caption and Parties to Action . . . [s]ection[s] of the
complaint.” Id. at 8. Plaintiff failed to file
an amended complaint, and the Court subsequently ordered that
the complaint be served. Docket No. 8. Defendants Jane C.
Cameron (“Cameron”), Joe Martens
(“Martens”), and Teresa J. Mucha
(“Mucha”) (collectively the “moving
defendants”) filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim on March 27, 2014. Docket No. 10. The docket
indicates that defendants Thomas C. Jorling, Langdon Marsh,
and Henry G. Williams (collectively the “non-moving
defendants”) were never served with the with the
summons and complaint. Docket No. 9.
January 4, 2017, United States Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth
Schroeder issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) (Docket No. 27) recommending that the
moving defendants' motion to dismiss be granted. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court adopts the findings set
forth in the R&R and grants the motion to dismiss. In
addition, the Court finds sua sponte pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915 that plaintiff has failed to state a claim
as to Thomas C. Jorling, Langdon Marsh, and Henry G.
Williams. As a result, the complaint is dismissed in its
Standard of Review
specific objections are made to a magistrate judge's
report and recommendation, the district judge makes a
“de novo determination of those portions of
the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C). When only general objections are made to a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the
district judge reviews it for clear error or manifest
injustice. E.g., Brown v. Peters, 1997 WL 599355, at
*2-3 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 1997), aff'd, 175 F.3d
1007 (2d Cir. 1999). After conducting the appropriate review,
the district court may “accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Sua Sponte Dismissal of Plaintiff's Claims
Against the Non-Moving Defendants
threshold matter, the Court notes that Judge Schroeder
limited his consideration to whether plaintiff had stated a
claim as to the moving defendants. Judge Schroeder apparently
mistakenly read the Court's August 21, 2013 Decision and
Order as dismissing plaintiff's claims against the
non-moving defendants. See Docket No. 27 at 4.
However, review of the August 21, 2013 Decision and Order
shows that the Court reserved decision on the adequacy of the
claims against all the defendants listed in the caption,
which includes non-moving defendants Langdon Marsh, Thomas C.
Jorling, and Henry G. Williams. See Docket No. 4 at
7. The Court has reviewed those claims and determines that
sua sponte dismissal is appropriate as to the
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court shall dismiss a
case in which in forma pauperis status has been
granted if, at any time, the Court determines that the action
(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
Section 1915 “provide[s] an efficient means by which a
court can screen for and dismiss legally insufficient
claims.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d
Cir. 2007). “[S]ua sponte § 1915 . . .
dismissal may occur and is in some cases preferable after
service of process and expansion of the record.”
Anderson v. Coughlin, 700 F.2d 37, 41 (2d Cir.
evaluating the complaint, the Court must accept as true all
of the factual allegations and must draw all inferences in
plaintiff's favor. See Larkin v. Savage, 318
F.3d 138, 139 (2d Cir. 2003). Moreover, “a court is
obliged to construe [pro se] pleadings liberally,
particularly when they allege civil rights violations.”
McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir.
2004). Nevertheless, even pleadings submitted pro se
must meet the notice requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Wynder v. McMahon, 360
F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2004).
the complaint contains no factual allegations whatsoever
against non-moving defendants Langdon Marsh, Thomas C.
Jorling, and Henry G. Williams. Indeed, the only times the
non-moving defendants' names appear are in the case
caption and list of parties. Moreover, plaintiff was given an
opportunity to amend his complaint pursuant to the
Court's August 21, 2013 Decision and Order and failed to
do so. Under these circumstances, the Court finds that
sua sponte dismissal of the claims against
non-moving defendants Langdon Marsh, Thomas C. Jorling, and
Henry G. Williams is appropriate.
Plaintiff's Objections to the R&R
to plaintiff's claims against the moving defendants,
plaintiff's objections to the R&R are nothing more
than a reiteration of the arguments considered by Judge
Schroeder. As a result, the ...