Morales v. New York, 13-cv-2586 (NSR)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtNELSON S. POMÁN
PartiesEDWARD MORALES, Plaintiff, v. STATE OF NEW YORK, et al. Defendants.
Docket Number13-cv-2586 (NSR)
Decision Date22 May 2014


13-cv-2586 (NSR)


Dated: May 22, 2014


NELSON S. ROMÁN, United States District Judge:

Plaintiff Edward Morales ("Plaintiff" or "Morales"), pro se, commenced the instant action against Defendants State of New York; State University of New York ("SUNY"); State University of New York, Binghamton College ("SUNY Binghamton"); State University of New York, Purchase College ("SUNY Purchase"); Thomas Schwarz, President of SUNY Purchase; Melissa Jones, SUNY Purchase Director of Community Standards; Ernie Palmieri, SUNY Purchase Vice President of Community Standards; "Purchase College University Police"; William Howard, Senior Vice Chancellor, General Counsel, and Secretary of the University; Wendy Kowalczyk (now Ravitz); SUNY Associate Counsel; Danielle DaGosto, SUNY Purchase Executive Director of Academic Programs; Qui-Qui Balascio, SUNY Purchase Associate Dean of Student Affairs; Richard Nassisi, SUNY Purchase Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts; Ricardo Espinales, SUNY Purchase Assistant Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer; Marc Burdzinski, SUNY Purchase Associate Professor; Lois Wald, SUNY Purchase Associate Counselor; Sandra Starki, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at SUNY Binghamton; Kyle Saud, SUNY Purchase Housing Coordinator; Daniel Pearson; Bill

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(William) Baskin, SUNY Purchase Associate Provost of Student Affairs; Louise Yelin, SUNY Purchase Associate Dean; Walter Butler, Acting Chief of University Police at SUNY Purchase; and Sheryl Secor (collectively, "State Defendants"); the Law School Admission Council; the Town of Harrison; and unidentified "John Doe" defendants.

Plaintiff asserts violations of Titles III and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181 and 12203; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. § 6101 et. seq.; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq.; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et. seq.; and plaintiff's constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff brings other miscellaneous claims as well.

State Defendants now move, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 12(b)(6), to dismiss the amended complaint in its entirety. For the following reasons, State Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.


Plaintiff alleges that he is "a qualified 'partially-permanent disabled" person, under the Social Security Disability Administration or SSDA, as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 12131 (2), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701-796. (Am. Compl. at 11.) Plaintiff alleges "a disabling and unpredictable spinal injury" (Am. Compl. at 94) and "neck injuries [that] prevent him from using his hands and arms normally." (Am. Compl. at 30.) Plaintiff states that he returned to college in 2011 to complete his higher education degree; he alleges that he had 15 credits at the time of his return. Plaintiff's goal was to pursue law school within two years. (Am. Compl. at 93.)

Plaintiff alleges in his second cause of action that he was wrongfully tricked into taking a

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psychological evaluation. (Am. Compl. at 22-23.) Plaintiff alleges that upon his attempt to return to Purchase College in 2011, he spoke with an employee in the admissions office who told him that she "could not enroll him (Plaintiff) back into the school because there was a flag (a problem or impediment) that needed to be cleared by the health clinic of the school, before I (Plaintiff) could be readmitted into the school." (Am. Compl. at 22.) Plaintiff claims that he went to the College's health clinic and was told by the head nurse that, "although the flag was originated at [the Student Health] department (the health clinic)", Plaintiff would need to have the counseling center remove the flag. (Am. Compl. at 22.) Plaintiff claims that the flag was related to old records, perhaps 14 years old, but the nurse could not see the reason for the flag "because the record (Plaintiff's medical record) had been destroyed due to the provision by Federal law that all records must be destroyed after seven years, and she would not remove the flag." (Am. Compl. at 22-23.) Plaintiff claims that the counseling center would not remove the 14-year-old flag unless Plaintiff underwent a psychological evaluation and that he would not agree to an evaluation but only to a conversation with a psychologist, State Defendant Lois Wald, but that the interview was actually an "unconsented evaluation." (Am. Compl. at 23.) Plaintiff believed that discrimination was taking place and decided not to cooperate fully. He claims that a report was generated, but the College refused to give him a copy. (Am. Compl. at 23.) In any event, Plaintiff was allowed to register as a student.

Plaintiff alleges in his third cause of action that he and other students who "did not fit the student profile" were asked for driver's licenses when he felt his student identification should have been sufficient. (Am. Compl. at 25-26.)

Plaintiff alleges in his fourth cause of action that a professor, State Defendant Mark Burdzinski, would not let Plaintiff or other unnamed "elder" students speak in class if they were

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not registered students, were late or had missed previous classes. (Am. Compl. at 27-33.) He alleges that Professor Burdzinski, who he claims has a "recognized . . . personality disorder," wrongfully accused Plaintiff of plagiarism when Plaintiff copy and pasted a required translation of a Spanish-language poem from another source without citation. Plaintiff claims that the professor should have recognized that copying and pasting is an "implied accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff claims that he was denied due process during his administrative hearing and appeals in regard to the disciplinary charges brought against him for plagiarism. (Am. Compl. at 29-33.)

Plaintiff claims that in the investigation of his plagiarism charges, SUNY Purchase wrongfully accessed his SUNY email account. (Am. Compl. at 33.) Plaintiff's appeals were denied by State Defendant William Baskin, the SUNY Purchase Associate Provost for Student Affairs. Plaintiff claims that a meeting in regard to his appeal was attended by State Defendant Ricardo Espinales, SUNY Purchase Assistant Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer, who Plaintiff believes may have "hacked" into his email account.

Plaintiff alleges in his sixth cause of action that he was wrongfully denied usage of a phone in a campus office and that, as a result, he wrongfully faced disciplinary charges. He claims that the charges were "retaliatory" for his complaints about not being permitted to use a phone. (Am. Compl. at 37-39.) Plaintiff claims he faced disciplinary charges as a result of this incident and attended a hearing on the charges but left or abandoned the hearing out of frustration. (Am. Compl. at 39.)

Plaintiff alleges in his seventh cause of action that Ms. Tori Galatro, a woman who he does not know, wrongfully accused him of vandalizing the student garden, but that he did not do so, although his mother may have pulled weeds from the garden. (Am. Compl. at 40-43.) He

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admits that a "no contact" order was issued directing him to avoid all contact with Ms. Galatro, but that, knowing about the order, he "decided to communicate via email to Ms. Galatro, an intention to pursue legal action against her for age and sex discrimination, and issuing false and defamatory statements against Plaintiff," in violation of the order. (Am. Compl. at 42.)

Plaintiff alleges in his ninth cause of action that in October 2012, while the fall semester was already underway, he was offered an opportunity to apply for on campus housing when it becomes available. (Am. Compl. at 42.) He alleges that Ms. Seng told him that an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant unit would become available on December 22, 2012. However, Plaintiff alleges that a few days before December 22, he was told that the housing was no longer available because new students were given priority. This was apparently later clarified to mean that students requesting Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant housing were not given preference over other students waiting for housing. (Am. Compl. at 48.) He claims that he was given an "improper" emergency housing accommodation on December 23, 2012 that was too expensive for him and that the College promised to seek a better accommodation for him prior to the beginning of the spring semester. (Am. Compl. at 47.) Plaintiff alleges that he was permitted to swap housing in February 2013 but that in the new housing, his new roommate, whom he describes as a homosexual drug user, had problems with him.

Plaintiff was ultimately brought up on disciplinary charges related to incidents that occurred in his new housing, which Plaintiff alleges include the following: that on February 7, 2013, he had damaged, defaced, destroyed, or tampered with property owned by the college or in the possession of another person; failed to respect the ongoing legitimate functions of classes, meetings, office procedures, study, sleep, or any authorized College activity; that on February 9, 2013, in an incident he alleges involved some bread he had burned, he threatened,...

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