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Opinions

The Middle District of Pennsylvania offers a database of opinions for the years 1999 to present, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Judge John E. Jones III

This matter is before the Court on the petition of Lorenzo Johnson for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Johnson seeks relief from the life sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania for his convictions of first degree murder and criminal conspiracy. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the petition.

Pending before this Court is an Appeal of United States Magistrate Judge Blewitt’s (“Magistrate Judge Blewitt” or “Magistrate Judge”) August 28, 2007 Order (“the Appeal”) (doc. 354), filed by Thomas Jay Ellis, Esq. (“Mr. Ellis”), and Montgomery County Commissioner James R. Matthews (“Mr. Matthews”) on September 12, 2007.1 (Rec. Doc. 356). For the reasons that follow, the Appeal shall be granted. We will reverse the learned Magistrate Judge’s Order (doc. 354) denying of the Motion to Disqualify Plaintiff’s Counsel from Conducting the Depositions of Mr. Ellis and Mr. Matthews (doc. 336), and we will grant the Motion.

Before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Farmers New Century Insurance Company (“Farmers”) and Defendant J.V. Defendants John Angerson and C.L.A. also filed a motion for summary judgment, joining J.V.’s motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Farmers’ motion (Doc. 30) and grant the Defendants’ motions. (Docs. 23, 32.)

Before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Westport Insurance Corporation (“Plaintiff” or “Westport”) and Defendants Raymond A. Diehl and Genevieve A. Diehl (“Defendants” or “the Diehls”). These motions have been fully briefed, and the Court has heard oral argument on the issues raised therein. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Westport’s motion (Doc. 50) and deny the Diehls’ motion (Doc. 55).

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

This matter arises out of the formation and operation of the Kilimanjaro Steak House Bar & Grill, a Pennsylvania General Partnership between the plaintiff, Alnoor Rahemtulla – a resident of New Jersey, and the defendant, Nazim Hassam – a resident of Pennsylvania. More specifically, the case involves allegations that Mr. Hassam fraudulently induced Mr. Rahemtulla into entering a partnership, which through a calculated plan of making empty promises and withholding crucial information, caused Mr. Rahemtulla to invest $340,000 towards what he believed to be his contribution to the partnership, when such funds were instead misappropriated and commingled with the other defendants for other purposes. On March 31, 2004, the plaintiffs commenced this action in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, claiming, inter alia, fraud, misappropriation, conversion, breach of fiduciary duties, and unjust enrichment, and seeking an invalidation of the partnership documents, a disgorgement and return of the monies which they invested in the partnership, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. (Doc. No. 1). Id. The defendants having filed a motion to dismiss and/or change venue, by order dated January 10, 2005, the District of New Jersey directed that the matter be transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Upon transfer, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned on March 29, 2005.

Felipe Cordova-Lopez is a foreign national subject to deportation to Mexico. On August 8, 2007, this court ordered Felipe Cordova-Lopez to be detained for twenty days as a material witness for the United States. The United States sought Mr. Cordova-Lopez’s testimony in the prosecution against a defendant who was charged with immigration offenses. However, on August 28, 2007, this court dismissed the material witness warrant against Mr. Cordova-Lopez because the defendant entered a guilty plea. As a result, there was no trial and Mr. Cordova-Lopez was never called to testify as a material witness.

On August 20, 2007, Mr. Cordova-Lopez filed the instant motion for material witness fees, arguing that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1821(b) he should be compensated $40 for each day he was detained. (Doc. No. 39). The United States filed its opposition brief on August 30, 2007. (Doc. No. 52). Mr. Cordova-Lopez then filed a brief in support of his motion on August 31, 2007. (Doc. No. 53).

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

Presently before the court is the motion (Doc. 12) of defendant National RV (“National”)1 for summary judgment on the claims of plaintiff Daniel Woolums (“Woolums”) for alleged violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty–Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 2301–2312; the warranty provisions of Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code, 13 PA. CONS. STAT. §§ 2313-2316; and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 PA. STAT. ANN. §§ 201-1 to 201-9.3. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

This is a civil rights suit brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by plaintiff Keon Brice (“Brice”) against defendants City of York and five of its police officers. Brice alleges that the actions of the officers while arresting him violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from excessive force and state-created danger. Presently before the court is the defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment. The motion seeks summary judgment on Brice’s municipal liability claims and on the state-created danger claim against the individual officers. One of the officers has also moved for summary judgment on the excessive force claim based upon his participation in the arrest. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted with respect to all of these claims.

Presently before the court is the motion (Doc. 18) of defendant Rashi Abdul Ushery to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of the vehicle he was operating on June 24, 2007. The court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant’s motion on November 29, 2007, after which the parties filed supplemental briefs in support of their respective positions. (See Doc. 28 at 1; see also Docs. 30, 31.) The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

Judge Yvette Kane

On December 8, 2005, Defendants Terrance Williams and Eric Hayes and fourteen other individuals were named in a thirty-two count indictment alleging a multi-year, nationwide conspiracy to engage in the interstate sex trafficking of women, including juveniles. The indictment also separately charged Defendants with other related crimes.1 As part of its case-in-chief, the Government proposes to call Dr. Sharon W. Cooper as an expert witness to offer opinion testimony in three general areas: (1) the societal and criminal justice implications of prostitution and the sexual exploitation of women; (2) the medical and mental-health aspects of prostitution, including general testimony on victim risk and vulnerability factors and on common methods of grooming and deterrents to escape; (3) and the medical and mental-health impact that life as a prostitute had on certain women involved in this case. (Doc. No. 983; see also Doc. Nos. 949, 949-3.)

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