Horlback v. Office of Children and Family Services et al
DECISION & ORDER granting # 22 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction as to Defendants' State of New York, New York State Office of Children and Family Services and Tryon Residential Center. Signed by Judge Glenn T. Suddaby on 10/22/13. (lmw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
AYANNA GRIGGS HORLBACK,
STATE OF NEW YORK., et al.,
LAW OFFICE OF TAMARA M. HARRIS
Counsel for Plaintiff
111 Broadway, Suite 706
New York, NY 10006
TAMARA M. HARRIS, ESQ.
HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN
Attorney General for the State of New York
Counsel for Defendants
Albany, NY 12224
GREGORY J. RODRIGUEZ, ESQ.
GLENN T. SUDDABY, United States District Judge
DECISION and ORDER
This is a civil rights action filed by Ayanna Griggs Horlback (“Plaintiff”) against the
State of New York, the State’s Office of Children and Family Services, and the Office’s Tryon
Residential Center (“State Defendants”),1 as well as against thirteen employees of that center
(“Individual Defendants”). (Dkt. No. 1.) Currently before the Court is Defendants’ motion to
dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against the State Defendants for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
Defendants assert that the name of the “Tryon Residential Center” is actually the
“Tryon Girls Reception Center.” (Dkt. No. 22, Attach. 1, at 3-4 & n.1 [attaching pages “1” and
“2” of Defs.’ Memo. of Law].) Plaintiff does not dispute that assertion. (Dkt. No. 29.)
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), on the ground that those claims are barred by the doctrine of
sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. (Dkt. No. 22.) Plaintiff does not oppose
the motion. (Dkt. No. 29.)
In this District, when a non-movant fails to oppose a legal argument asserted by a movant
in support of a motion, the movant's burden with regard to that argument has been lightened such
that, in order to succeed on that argument, the movant need only show that the argument
possesses facial merit, which has appropriately been characterized as a “modest” burden. See
N.D.N.Y. L.R. 7.1(b)(3) (“Where a properly filed motion is unopposed and the Court determines
that the moving party has met its burden to demonstrate entitlement to the relief requested
therein . . . .”); Rusyniak v. Gensini, 07-CV-0279, 2009 WL 3672105, at *1, n.1 (N.D.N.Y.
Oct.30, 2009) (Suddaby, J.) (collecting cases); Este-Green v. Astrue, 09-CV-0722, 2009 WL
2473509, at *2 & n.3 (N.D.N.Y. Aug .7, 2009) (Suddaby, J.) (collecting cases). Here, at the very
least, Defendants have met their lightened burden. For this reason, Defendants’ motion is
ACCORDINGLY, it is
ORDERED that Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
(Dkt. No. 22) is GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims against the State Defendants are DISMISSED, and
the Clerk of Court shall TERMINATE them as Defendants in this action.
Dated: October 22, 2013
Syracuse, New York
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