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Carey v. Ripp

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 28, 2018

STANLEY J. CAREY, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROBERT RIPP, Defendants.

          Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, P.C. Attorneys for the Plaintiff, By: E. Christopher Murray, Esq., Joseph R. Harbeson, Esq., Melissa Sanderleaf, Esq., Of Counsel.

          John W. Palmer Attorney for the Defendant, By: John W. Palmer, Esq., Of Counsel.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION & ORDER

          ARTHUR D. SPATT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Plaintiff Stanley J. Carey (the “Plaintiff”) commenced this defamation action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County against the Defendant Robert Ripp (the “Defendant”). The Defendant subsequently removed the action to federal court.

         Presently before the Court is a motion by Plaintiff to remand the case back to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County. For the following reasons, the Plaintiff's motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Relevant Facts

         The Plaintiff and the Defendant are residents of New York State. The Plaintiff is the superintendent of the Massapequa Water District (the “MWD”).

         On June 2, 2017, the Defendant visited the MWD to review documents. The Plaintiff assisted the Defendant during his visit, and the Defendant videotaped certain portions of the visit.

         That same day, the Defendant posted the video of his visit on Facebook. On the video, the Defendant stated, inter alia, “[in my opinion] [the Plaintiff] is implicated in some seriously questionable, possibly criminal behavior.” (Compl. ¶ 14). The Defendant accused the Plaintiff of corruption. As of the filing of the complaint, the video had received over 1, 400 views.

         On July 22, 2017, the Plaintiff was quoted in a Newsday article. That same day, the Defendant commented on the article on Newsday's website. He again accused the Plaintiff of corruption. The Defendant said that the Plaintiff “is responsible for approving decades of no show no bid contracts for corrupt [Town of Oyster Bay] [o]fficials and contractors. . . . [The Plaintiff] will do and say whatever he's told.” (Id. ¶ 18). The Defendant posted these comments on his Facebook page after they were removed from Newsday's website.

         B. The Relevant Procedural History

         On August 1, 2017, the Plaintiff commenced the action in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County. The complaint includes two purported causes of action, but because an injunction is a remedy and not a cause of action, Chiste v. Hotels.com L.P., 756 F.Supp.2d 382, 406 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (“[I]njunctions are remedies, not causes of action.”) (collecting cases), his sole cause of action is defamation.

         On August 21, 2017, the Defendant removed the action to federal court. The Defendant based his removal on the fact that “a [f]ederal [q]uestion arises out of a violation of the First Amendment [to] the Constitution of the Unite[d] States of America. The complaint seeks ‘prior ...


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