Griffin v. DiNapoli
SUMMARY ORDER - That the 6 Report-Recommendation and Order is ADOPTED in its entirety. That Griffin's complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED. That the clerk close this case. Signed by Senior Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 11/18/2021. (Copy served via regular mail)(jel, )
Case 8:21-cv-00282-GLS-DJS Document 8 Filed 11/18/21 Page 1 of 5
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI,
Plaintiff pro se Kevin Griffin commenced this civil rights action
against defendant Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Griffin’s allegations
relate to the denial of his request for certain disability benefits in 2004 by
the State Comptroller’s Office. (Id. ¶¶ 29-30; Dkt. No. 1, Attach. 2 at 1011.) Since the denial in 2004, Griffin has commenced multiple state and
federal proceedings seeking to overturn the denial, including an action in
this District, filed in 2016, which was dismissed by Chief Judge Glenn T.
Suddaby. (Dkt. No. 1, Attach. 2 at 13-21; see Dkt. No. 30, 8:16-cv-914.)
Griffin has been unsuccessful in all of his attempts to overturn the denial of
his application for disability benefits. Griffin commenced this action in
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March 2021, alleging that the denial of benefits violated his right to due
process. (Compl. ¶¶ 36-37.)
On March 31, 2021, Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart issued a
Report-Recommendation and Order (R&R), which recommends dismissal
of Griffin’s complaint with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) &
1915A. (Dkt. No. 6 at 7.) For the reasons that follow, the R&R is adopted
in its entirety, and the complaint is dismissed.
Before entering final judgment, this court routinely reviews all report
and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge.
If a party has objected to specific elements of the magistrate judge’s
findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and
recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No.
Civ. 904CV484, 2006 WL 149049, at *3 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In
cases where no party has filed an objection, or only vague or general
objections have been filed, this court reviews the findings and
recommendations of the magistrate judge for clear error. See id. at *5.
“[W]hen an objection merely reiterates the same arguments made by the
objecting party in its original papers submitted to the magistrate judge, the
Court subjects that portion of the report-recommendation challenged by
Case 8:21-cv-00282-GLS-DJS Document 8 Filed 11/18/21 Page 3 of 5
those arguments to only a clear error review.” Smurphat v. Hobb, No.
8:19-CV-0804, 2021 WL 129055, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2021) (citations
Griffin raises numerous arguments against adopting the R&R, many
of which are reiterations of the allegations and information provided in the
complaint, (see generally Dkt. No. 7), which triggers review for clear error.
Griffin, however, has objected to one specific element of the R&R — the
application of res judicata, (id. ¶¶ 11-15) — which necessitates de novo
review of that objection.
Under de novo review the court “give[s] fresh consideration to those
issues to which specific objections have been made. It will examine the
entire record, and make an independent assessment of the magistrate
judge's factual and legal conclusions.” Almonte, 2006 WL 149049, at *5.
Griffin objects to the application of res judicata on two grounds. (Dkt. No.
7. ¶¶ 11-15.) First, Griffin asserts that the 2016 complaint dismissed by
Chief Judge Suddaby and the present complaint filed on March 11, 2021
concern different issues. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) Second, Griffin asserts that “new
evidence” bars the application of res judicata. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.)
Griffin’s assertion that res judicata should not apply because the
Case 8:21-cv-00282-GLS-DJS Document 8 Filed 11/18/21 Page 4 of 5
present claim and the 2016 claim contain different legal theories is without
merit. The doctrine of res judicata bars a plaintiff from litigating claims that
were already raised or could have been raised in a prior action against the
same defendant. See L-Tec Elecs. Corp. v. Cougar Elec. Org., Inc., 198
F.3d 85, 87-88 (2d Cir.1999) (internal citation omitted). “Even claims
based upon different legal theories are barred provided they arise from the
same transaction or occurrence.” Id. at 88 (internal citation omitted). Both
the 2016 claim and the present claim arise from the same denial of
disability benefits in 2004. (Compare Compl. ¶¶ 26-30, with Dkt. No. 1,
8:16-cv-914). Moreover, Griffin has failed to present any legal or factual
basis to suggest that the claims are not based on the same “transaction or
occurrence.” L-Tec Elecs. Corp., 198 F.3d at 88 (internal citation omitted).
Griffin’s objection to the application of the res judicata doctrine on the
grounds that there is “new evidence,” is without merit for the same reasons
articulated in the R&R, namely Griffin’s failure to provide an explanation for
why the “new evidence” — the 2003 letter from the State Comptroller’s
Office — would change the outcome of Chief Judge Suddaby’s prior
The court has carefully considered the remainder of the R&R, and
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finds no clear error in Magistrate Judge Stewart’s thorough analysis, which
squarely addresses Griffin’s arguments and provides multiple, appropriate
reasons for dismissing Griffin’s complaint. Accordingly, the R&R is
adopted in its entirety.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that the Report-Recommendation and Order (Dkt. No. 6)
is ADOPTED in its entirety; and it is further
ORDERED that Griffin’s complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED; and it
ORDERED that the Clerk close this case; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk provide a copy of this Summary Order to
Griffin in accordance with the Local Rules of Practice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 18, 2021
Albany, New York
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