United States District Court, N.D. New York
LAWRENCE E. KAHN, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court following a
Report-Recommendation filed on April 26, 2017, by the
Honorable Christian F. Hummel, U.S. Magistrate Judge,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 72.3. Dkt.
No. 8 (“Report-Recommendation”).
fourteen days after a party has been served with a copy of a
magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the party
“may serve and file specific, written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b); L.R. 72.1(c). If no objections are made, or if an
objection is general, conclusory, perfunctory, or a mere
reiteration of an argument made to the magistrate judge, a
district court need review that aspect of a
report-recommendation only for clear error. Barnes v.
Prack, No. 11-CV-857, 2013 WL 1121353, at *1 (N.D.N.Y.
Mar. 18, 2013); Farid v. Bouey, 554 F.Supp.2d 301,
306-07, 306 n.2 (N.D.N.Y. 2008), overruled on other grounds
by Widomski v. State Univ. of N.Y. (SUNY) at Orange,
748 F.3d 471 (2d Cir. 2014); see also Machicote v.
Ercole, No. 06-CV-13320, 2011 WL 3809920, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. Aug. 25, 2011) (“[E]ven a pro se
party's objections to a Report and Recommendation must be
specific and clearly aimed at particular findings in the
magistrate's proposal, such that no party be allowed a
second bite at the apple by simply relitigating a prior
argument.” (quoting Howell v. Port Chester Police
Station, No. 09-CV-1651, 2010 WL 930981, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar.
15, 2010))). “A [district] judge . . . 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).
objections were filed in the allotted time period. Docket.
The Court has therefore reviewed the Report-Recommendation
for clear error. While the outcome of the
Report-Recommendation, namely the dismissal of
Plaintiff's complaint, Dkt. No. 1
(“Complaint”), is surely right, the Court must
correct one issue with the dismissal of the individual
defendants in their official capacities. While it is true
that the Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages
against state officers in their official capacities,
e.g., Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 165-67
(1985), and against states themselves and their agencies in
all cases, e.g., Hamzik v. Office for People
with Developmental Disabilities, 859 F.Supp.2d 265, 275
(N.D.N.Y. 2012) (citing Cory v. White, 457 U.S. 85,
90-91 (1982)), it does not bar suits against state officials
in their official capacities when plaintiffs seek prospective
injunctive relief, e.g., Hutto v. Finney,
437 U.S. 678, 690 (1978) (citing Ex parte Young, 209
U.S. 123 (1908)).
Plaintiff's Complaint, he seeks relief by stating that
“Plaintiff needs the [state court] case to proceed
under court rules of practice.” Compl. at 4. Construed
liberally, this request states a demand for prospective
injunctive relief. As noted above, such a request-when sought
as a remedy for a violation of federal law-may be directed
against state officials, even in their official capacities.
reasons stated in the Report-Recommendation, Plaintiff has
still failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Given that he is proceeding pro se, however, the
Court will allow him to amend his Complaint in an attempt to
state claims against the individual defendants, both for
money damages in their personal capacities and for injunctive
relief in their official capacities.
it is hereby:
that the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 8) is APPROVED and
ADOPTED AS MODIFIED by this Memorandum-Decision and Order;
and it is further
that Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED; and
it is further
that Plaintiff's claims against the State of New York
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, and any claims for money
damages against Erica Putnam Little and Kimberly E. Burns in
their official capacities are DISMISSED without leave to
amend; and it is further
that the Clerk of the Court is directed to terminate the
State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, as a
defendant in this action; and it is further
that Plaintiff's claims against Little and Burns in their
personal capacities and his claims for prospective injunctive
relief against Little and Burns in their official capacities
are DISMISSED with leave to amend; and it is further
that if Plaintiff wishes to proceed with this case, he must
submit an amended complaint within thirty days of the filing
date of this Order; and it is further
that if Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint by the
above deadline, the Clerk of the Court shall close this case