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Opinions

The Middle District of Pennsylvania offers a database of opinions for the years 1999 to 2012, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Judge Richard P. Conaboy

Prisoner seeks "Immediate Half-way House designation and Home Detention at his ten (10%) date."

Judge James M. Munley

Jonathan T. (“Jonathan”) was born on July 16 , 1981 and is now twenty-two years old. He attended the Lackawanna Trail School District (“school district”) from 1986 through November 1999. Jonathan has been diagnosed with a specific learning disability, emotional disturbance and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Jonathan asserts that his disabilities were not appropriately identified or remediated by the school district. Jonathan withdrew from school on November 22, 1999, at the age of eighteen.

On May 2, 2002, at the age of twenty, Jonathan filed a request for an administrative special education due process hearing. On January 10, 2003, the Due Process Hearing Officer issued her Decision and Order dismissing the plaintiff’s case as untimely filed outside the statute of limitations. A Special Education Appeals Panel also concluded that Jonathan’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations.
 

Before the court for disposition is plaintiff’s motion to compel the production of witnesses John Retinger, David Farquharson, Bob Zagaski and William Geary at trial on February 10, 2004.

According to a policy of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”), prison visitor vehicles parked on facility grounds are subject to random searches after the owner or operator consents in writing. If a prison visitor refuses to provide written consent permitting SCIH corrections officers to search his or her vehicle, then the visitor will not be allowed to enter the prison to visit any prisoner on that day.

On various dates, the plaintiffs visited Teresa Neumeyer’s father, Preston Pfeifly, at the SCIH. On May 28, 2001, and May 27, 2002, the plaintiffs’ vehicle was searched by SCIH corrections officers after it was parked on institutional property. Prior to the searches, Plaintiff Teresa Neumeyer had signed a “Consent To Search Vehicle” form, which gave her consent to havin g the ve hicle sea rched.

 

Plaintiffs contend that having their vehicle subjected to search under these circumstances violates the Fourth Amendment. They have brought suit under 42 U.S. §1983 seeking declaratory injunctive relief but not damages. Defendants have moved for summary judgment arguing that as there is no dispute that the plaintiffs consented to both searches, the proper analysis must be made under the First Amendment’s right of association and that conditioning visiting prisoners on the visitor agreeing to permit searching their vehicle when parked on state correctional institution property is constitutional. Plaintiffs have also filed a motion for summary judgment.

 

Lehigh was in the anthracite coal business located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. It ceased doing business in January 2001. The company was a contributing employer to the Fund, a multiemployer plan providing retirement benefits to employees of the anthracite coal industry under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (hereinafter “ERISA”), as amended 28 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq. The contributions to the Fund were in the form of royalties for each ton of anthracite coal produced for use or sale.
In the instant case, subsequent to Lehigh ceasing its business operation in January 2001, the Fund assigned it a withdrawal liability in the amount of $1,875,264, which was due in monthly installments for approximately 38 months. Lehigh has challenged this assignment of withdrawal liability through arbitration. Plaintiffs now seek to have the court order the defendant to make payments on the withdrawal liability until arbitration is completed.

Judge A. Richard Caputo

Presently before the Court is Defendant Henry Hart, Wesley Rish, Albert Masland, James Sheehan, and Daniel Sattele’s (hereinafter Defendants) Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 35.) Plaintiffs Dwight McKee and Allen Jones allege First Amendment retaliation in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1983. Based upon a lack of specific facts showing that he spoke on a matter of public concern, I will grant Defendants’ motion with respect to Mr. McKee’s claim. As for Mr. Jones’ claim, I will grant the motion as it related to the claim against Henry Hart, but I will deny the motion in all other respects. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 4) for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted filed by Defendant Jeffrey Sodl and Defendant Stroudsburg Area School District (hereinafter School District). Because the Plaintiffs have failed to allege that the School District or Sodl created a danger which caused the injuries to Catherine R. Giovinco, I will grant Defendants’ motion. Since granting the motion to dismiss will dispose of all the federal claims, I will remand the remaining claims to state court. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 for the claims against Sodl and the School District and 28 U.S.C. § 1367 for the state law claims against Defendants Danielle Foster and Patricia Foster.

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) in which petitioner, Darrell Wayne Breighner (“Breighner”), asserts that the Superior Court of Pennsylvania acted unreasonably in finding sufficient evidence to support his conviction for arson. Resolution of this issue requires the court to determine whether recent amendments to the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, mandate that federal courts accord a “presumption of correctness” to factual findings of a state court when the state court has previously considered and rejected the petitioner’s claims for relief. For the reasons that follow, the court holds that the presumption of correctness does not apply in such cases.

With respect to the merits, petitioner’s assertions of constitutional error by the state court are unavailing. Consequently, the court will deny petitioner his requested relief.

Presently before the court in this interpleader action are cross-motions for summary judgment by defendants, Patrick Kelley and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), seeking disbursement of payments owed under a pension benefit plan administered by plaintiff, Asbestos Workers Local No. 23 Pension Fund (“Fund”), and governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1401. Patrick Kelley, named as designated beneficiary under the plan, became entitled to a guaranteed amount of benefits following the death of his father, Richard Kelley, the participant in the plan. The IRS contends that tax liens against Richard Kelley’s property attached to the term benefits payable to Patrick Kelley. The Fund filed this interpleader action to resolve the rights of the IRS and Patrick Kelley to the benefit payments.

Judge William W. Caldwell

Slobodan Milosevic, a citizen of Serbia subject to a final order of removal that would return him to his native country, has filed a counseled, amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking an order requiring the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) to reopen his appeal of the removal order so that he can adjust his status on the basis of his marriage to an American citizen, the marriage occurring after the Board had denied his appeal.

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