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Langmead v. Monroe County Office of Sheriff

United States District Court, W.D. New York

June 6, 2017

JAMES R. LANGMEAD, Plaintiff,
v.
MONROE COUNTY OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF, SHERIFF PATRICK M. O'FLYNN, CHIEF DEPUTY GARY CAIOLA, CHIEF DEPUTY STEVEN SCOTT, OTHER KNOWN OR UNKNOWN EMPLOYEES OF THE MONROE COUNTY OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF, Defendants[1].

          For Plaintiff: Charles Steinman, Esq., Jeffrey Wicks, PLLC.

          For Defendants: Adam M. Clark, Esq., Deputy County Attorney Monroe County Department of Law.

          DECISION & ORDER

          CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA United States District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         This is a civil rights case brought by a former sheriffs deputy against the Monroe County Sheriff ("Sheriff') and his Office and other employees of the Sheriffs Office. Plaintiff James R. Langmead ("Langmead") alleges that the Sheriff is incorrectly interpreting New York State Public Officers Law Section 3(2)(b), by requiring that his deputies reside within Monroe County, despite an exception in the law for police officers. The Court previously denied Plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction and declaratory judgment. Langmead v. Monroe Cty. Office of Sheriff, No. 11-CV-6003-CJS, 2013 WL 3759958, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. July 15, 2013). Now before the Court is the Sheriffs motion, ECF No. 37, seeking summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Langmead challenged the Sheriff's interpretation of New York Public Officers Law Section 3(2)(b) in a 2006 action filed in New York State Supreme Court. The Honorable Harold L. Galloway, Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Seventh Judicial District, issued a decision and order on May 4, 2007, in which he determined that Langmead's challenge was precluded by the four-month statute of limitations applicable to actions brought under New York Civil Procedure Law and Rule, Article 78. Justice Galloway dismissed Langmead's action without the need to reach the merits.[2] Langmead v. O'Flynn, No. 06/13336 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. May 24, 2007). Langmead filed a Notice of Appeal on June 11, 2007, but there is no evidence in the record that the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, considered the matter.[3]

         In his pleading, Langmead sets forth three causes of action as follows: first, a claim pursuant to the Due Process clause of the United States Constitution alleging selective enforcement of the residency requirement within the Office of the Sheriff, Compl. at 9 (First Cause of Action), Jan. 4, 2011, ECF No. 1; a second Due Process claim based on his allegation that no rational basis exists for treating deputies in a police bureau differently from police officers under New York Public Officers Law section 3(2)(b), Compl. at 10 (Second Cause of Action); and a claim under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging that Defendants acted under color of law in enforcing a residency policy that deprived Langmead of his property interest as an employee in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the common law of the United States, and the common law and constitution of New York State, Compl. at 13 (Third Cause of Action).

         This case was referred to mediation on September 26, 2012. Mediation took place on February 14, 2013, but was not successful in resolving the case. See Mediation Certificate, Feb. 14, 2013, ECF No. 22.

         The parties filed statements of fact pursuant to Western District of New York Local Rule 56. The following is taken from Defendants' Statement, ECF No. 37-3. The only objection lodged by Plaintiff was to paragraph 21, which the Court will address. Otherwise, Plaintiff admitted each of the statements listed below.[4]

1. Plaintiff began his employment with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office on September 30, 1991.
2. From his hire date until he resigned from employment on April 29, 2010, Plaintiff served as a Police Bureau Deputy in the Sheriffs Department.
3. The Plaintiff was aware of Monroe County policy and New York State Law requiring him as an employee of the Sheriff's Office to be a resident of Monroe County.
4. Prior to 2004 Plaintiff resided in Monroe County.
5. In 2004 Plaintiff sold his house in Monroe County and purchased a house in Canandaigua, Ontario County.
6. Since he moved into the house in Canandaigua, the Plaintiff has not had any other residence.
7. In May of 2004, the Plaintiff had a meeting with Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn to discuss the Monroe County residence requirement.
8. At the time of this meeting the Plaintiff had purchased the house in Canandaigua but had not yet moved in, and was residing with his girlfriend in South Bristol in Ontario County.
9. Later in 2004, the Plaintiff was investigated by the Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Department ["IA"] related to his residence being outside the County.
10. As a result of that investigation Plaintiff was served with disciplinary charges due to his residence being outside the County.
11. The Plaintiff attended a plea meeting regarding those charges with Sheriff O'Flynn, several members of the Sheriffs Office Command Staff, and the Plaintiff's Union Attorney, Patrick Naylon.
12. As a result of this plea meeting and the Plaintiff's plea to the charge of living outside Monroe County the Plaintiff received a letter of reprimand dated December 3, 2004.
13. The letter of reprimand ordered the Plaintiff to establish residency within Monroe County within 30 days.
14. The Plaintiff submitted an employee change of data form and a special report to the Undersheriff with the address of Knollwood Manor Apartments at 22 Blackwatch Trail, Apartment 12, Town of Fairport, Monroe County.
15. The special report was filed in direct response to the letter of reprimand's requirement to establish residency within the County.
16. The Plaintiff did not ever pay any rent or deposit for an apartment at Knollwood Manor, he never stayed in any apartment at Knollwood Manor, he never had any of his possessions in any apartment at Knollwood Manor, he did not have a key to an apartment, and he never even entered the apartment that was allegedly his at Knollwood Manor.
17. As a part of training with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the Plaintiff also submitted the Blackwatch Trail address on a registration form to Monroe Community College.
18. In 2007 the Plaintiff sent an email to the Sheriff's Office that again claimed that 22 Blackwatch ...

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