The six former Queens Library trustees who took Borough President Melinda Katz and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to federal court in a bid to retain their volunteer positions on the board suffered a major setback Tuesday.
Brooklyn Magistrate Judge James Ornstein recommended that their requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would nullify their July 23 dismissal by Katz be denied. Ornstein made the decision in a verbal ruling from the bench, which a source familiar with the case said is rare and demonstrates the ease with which he made his determination.
"I think it's worth noting that it's rare for a magistrate judge to dictate a report and recommendation from the bench," the source said. "The judge felt strongly enough about what he had heard in arguments to render the decision then, and it was unequivocal."
In federal court, magistrate judges often hear motions and make recommendations to the judge actually assigned to the case, so the recommendation is not final. The source said the assigned jurist, U.S. District Judge Margo Brody, could make the ruling official within a few days.
The plaintiffs have until Aug. 29 to file objections to Ornstein's decision or they lose the right to appeal.
A spokesman for their attorney, Douglas Grover of the firm Schlam, Stone & Dolan, said they are weighing their legal options.
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