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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.

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

Presently before the court in this Uniform Commercial Code (“U.C.C.”) case are several dispositive motions in which the parties seek recognition of their respective security interests in certain collateral of a common debtor as superior to others. Plaintiff, InterBusiness Bank, N.A. (“InterBusiness”), contends that defendant, First National Bank of Mifflintown (“First National”), lacked a valid interest in the “inventory” and “accounts receivable” of the debtor and yet collected and liquidated those assets in derogation of plaintiff’s superior interest. Defendant disagrees, asserting that assignments from third-party defendants, Allied Capital Corporation and its subsidiary and successor corporations (collectively “Allied Capital”), were effective to give it a priority interest in the collateral. Defendant further argues that plaintiff does not possess a security interest in the collateral because (1) the documents defining plaintiff’s interest refer only to “goods” and “accounts,” not “inventory” and “accounts receivable,” and (2) any interest that plaintiff had in the collateral was extinguished when plaintiff obtained satisfaction of the underlying debt in state court execution proceedings relating to a separate mortgage agreement between plaintiff and the debtor.
 
The questions presented in the motions are (1) whether parties may obtain priority security interests through assignment, (2) whether generic references in a financing statement to “goods” and “accounts” are effective to cover an interest in “inventory” and “accounts receivable” of the debtor, and (3) whether a security interest in collateral is deemed extinguished by operation of Pennsylvania law when the secured party purchases the real property of the debtor during execution proceedings on the underlying debt. For the reasons that follow, these questions must all be answered in the affirmative. Finding that the complaint states a valid claim for relief and that material questions of fact remain, the court will deny the cross-motions for summary judgment (Docs. 13, 20) and the motion to dismiss.

Petitioner Farouk Abdel-Muhti, a detainee of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), is subject to a final order of removal dated September 25, 1995, to deport him to either Jordan or Israel. (Doc. No. 8, Ex. 1). He filed this habeas corpus petition, brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, in the District Court for the District of New Jersey on November 6, 2002. On June 3, 2003, after Petitioner was moved to the York County Prison, his case was transferred to this Court. An Amended Verified Petition was filed on September 11, 2003. (Doc. No. 8). A hearing on the petition was conducted on March 30, 2004.1 Petitioner alleges, inter alia, that his continued detention while awaiting removal, now approaching two years, is in violation of §241(a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001). For the reasons explained below, this Court must agree. Accordingly, his release will be ordered under conditions of supervision set forth in 8 U.S.C. §1231(a)(3) and implementing regulations.

Judge A. Richard Caputo

Presently before the Court are two motions to treat counterclaims as affirmative defenses, one filed by Stephen Flood and The Luzerne County Retirement Board (hereinafter the Board) (Doc. 256.1) and the other filed by the Luzerne County Retirement Fund1 (hereinafter the Fund) (Doc. 259.1). I will grant the portion of the motion requesting dismissal of the counterclaim against Stephen Flood for intentional interference with contract2 because all of the alleged actions by Mr. Flood were while he was acting as an agent of a party to the contract. I will deny the remainder of the motions--because indemnity and contribution are properly classified as counterclaims.

Presently before the Court are two partial motions dismiss the third-party complaints against Michael Morreale. (Docs. 257.1 and 258.1.) I will grant the motion to dismiss the indemnity claim brought by Defendants Makowski, Pizano, Crossin, and Jones (hereinafter Makowski et al.) because, as voting members of the Luzerne County Retirement Board, no trustee can be more responsible than any other trustee. I will dismiss the claim of intentional interference with contractual relations1 raised by ASCO Financial Group, Donald Williamson, Maria Williamson, Joseph Perfilio, and Michael Joyce (hereinafter ASCO et al.) because Michael Morreale was acting as an agent of the Luzerne County retirement plan. The accompanying request for punitive damages is therefore also dismissed, thus, Mr. Morreale’s motion to dismiss punitive damages is moot.

Presently before the Court is Petitioner Nickenson Louis-Martin’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief with Temporary Restraining Order. (Doc. 1.) I find that the Court has jurisdiction to hear this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. I further find that because the Immigration Judge abused his discretion in ruling Petitioner’s Convention Against Torture claim was abandoned, Petitioner cannot be removed from the United States. I will vacate the Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals and remand the matter to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further proceedings to determine whether Mr. Louis-Martin is eligible for relief under the Convention Against Torture.

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.

Judge James M. Munley

Plaintiff Jean Whitson was employed as a registered nurse at Hanover General Hospital in Hanover, Pennsylvania, from April 21, 1990 to June 25, 1997. As a nurse, she used and was exposed to natural rubber latex gloves. As a consequence of her exposure to latex gloves, Ms. Whitson has suffered a permanent hypersensitivity to products containing the natural latex protein. Ms. Whitson alleges that she was exposed and sensitized to natural rubber latex in gloves that were predominantly manufactured and/or distributed by Safeskin Corporation, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Medical (“defendants”).

Plaintiffs commenced this action on December 29, 1997, by filing a complaint that asserts counts in Negligence, Strict Products Liability, Failure to Warn, Breach of Express and Implied Warranties, Fraudulent Concealment, and Loss of Consortium. On March 9, 2001, the Honorable Edmund V. Ludwig of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered an Order granting in part Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that plaintiffs’ tort claims were time-barred under Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations, and that plaintiffs’ express and implied warranty claims were similarly time-barred with respect to glove sales prior to December 27, 1993, based on Pennsylvania’s four-year statute of limitations governing warranty actions. Upon plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration, the Eastern District Court vacated its March 9, 2001 Order with respect to plaintiffs’ loss of consortium claim only.

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.
 

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

Pending before the court is “Defendants, Craig R. Bardell, M.D., Susan Day, P.A., and Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Motion for More Definitive Statement and Motion to Strike.” (Doc. No. 3).

On June 13, 2003, the plaintiffs, Christine Thomas, individually and as co-administratrix of the estate of Erin Finley, and Mark Thomas, as coadministrator of the estate of Erin Finley, filed this action against the abovenamed defendants alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition, the plaintiffs set forth pendent state law claims for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death and survival.

Judge Richard P. Conaboy

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

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