Bowles v. State of New York
SUMMARY ORDER: It is ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter's # 5 Report-Recommendation is ADOPTED in its entirety. It is further ORDERED that Bowles' # 1 Complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. It is further ORDERED that the Clerk close this case. Signed by Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 5/22/2014. [Copy served upon pro se plaintiff via regular and certified mail.] (nmk)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
THOMAS E. BOWLES III,
STATE OF NEW YORK,
FOR THE PLAINTIFF:
Thomas E. Bowles, III
309B Old Niskayuna Road
Latham, NY 12110
Gary L. Sharpe
Plaintiff pro se Thomas E. Bowles III commenced this action against
the State of New York1 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. at 1, Dkt.
No 1.) On November 12, 2013, Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter issued
an Order and Report-Recommendation (R&R) recommending that Bowles’
Although the defendant is named as the State of New York, the
“official position” listed in the complaint is the Supreme Court Appellate
Division, Third Department. (Compl. at 1.)
complaint be dismissed sua sponte with prejudice. (Dkt. No. 5 at 7.)
Bowles filed timely objections to the R&R. (Dkt. No. 7.) For the following
reasons, the R&R is adopted in its entirety.
Bowles’ complaint alleges his constitutional rights were violated when
his home was foreclosed upon without providing him a “defense of
extraordinary circumstances.” (Compl. at 2.) He asserts that he should
have been allowed to file for bankruptcy and obtain a loan from the
“veterans loan administration.” (Id.) Bowles’ “causes of action” are (1) that
his home should be returned to him and he should receive treble damages
for “unconstitutional act[s] against [him] and [his] family,” and (2) that his
constitutional rights have been violated due to discrimination based on his
minority status and ethnic hatred. 2 (Id.)
In the R&R, Judge Baxter recommended dismissing Bowles’
complaint on three separate grounds. 3 First, the Eleventh Amendment
In his objections, Bowles further explained that his Armenian
heritage made him a “disadvantaged minority that faced persecution [his]
entire life.” (Dkt. No. 7 at 2.)
The three recommended grounds for dismissal are based on the
interpretation of Bowles’ claim as a civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Dkt. No. 5 at 2.) To the extent that the complaint asserts a
disagreement with the decision of the state court foreclosure, it must be
dismissed because, under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, “federal district
provides that states and state officers acting on behalf of the state have
immunity against suits in federal court. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp.
v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 106 (1984). Bowles’ complaint identifies New
York State as a defendant and Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third
Department as the “official position.” (Compl. at 1.) Judge Baxter
recommended dismissal, because neither the state nor the Supreme Court,
Appellate Division, is a proper defendant in an action for damages. (Dkt.
No. 5 at 3-4.)
Second, judicial actors have absolute immunity for their judicial acts
performed in their judicial capacities. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11
(1991). To the extent that Bowles attempts to sue judicial actors who
participated in the previous decision, Judge Baxter recommended that the
complaint be dismissed. (Dkt. No. 5 at 4-5.)
Third, Judge Baxter concluded that, to the extent that Bowles could
assert a § 1983 claim against a defendant not immune from suit, his claims
courts lack jurisdiction over suits that are, in substance, appeals from
state-court judgments.” Hoblock v. Albany Cnty. Bd. of Elections, 422
F.3d 77, 84 (2d Cir. 2005).
would be barred by the applicable statute of limitations. 4 (Dkt. No. 5 at 56); see Pinaud v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 52 F.3d 1139, 1156 (2d Cir. 1995) (“The
applicable statute of limitations for § 1983 actions arising in New York
requires claims to be brought within three years.”).
Finally, Judge Baxter recommended dismissing Bowles’ complaint
with prejudice because any attempt to amend would be futile as Bowles
would still be unable to state a federal claim. (Dkt. No. 5 at 6-7.)
Bowles subsequently filed a timely objection in which he generally
objects to Judge Baxter’s recommendations. 5 (Dkt. No. 7.) Thus, Bowles’
objections merit only clear error review. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of
Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *4-5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan.
18, 2006). Having reviewed Judge Baxter’s recommendations for clear
error, and finding none, the R&R is adopted in its entirety.
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby
Liberally construed, any other § 1983 claim in Bowles’ complaint
would be based on the county’s allegedly discriminatory actions with
respect to the underlying tax foreclosure which occurred in or around
October 2008. (Dkt. No. 7 at 3-4.)
Bowles’ objections detail the history of the circumstances that he
alleges caused him to lose his home and explain his status as a
“sovereign entity,” but fail to specifically object to any particular element of
the R&R. (Dkt. No. 7.)
ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter’s November 12,
2013 Order and Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 5) is ADOPTED in its
entirety; and it is further
ORDERED that Bowles’ complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk close this case; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk provide a copy of this Summary Order to
IT IS SO ORDERED.
May 22, 2014
Albany, New York
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?