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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

This is a First Amendment challenge to Canon 7B(1)(c) of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct, which regulates the campaign activitiy of candidates for judicial office. Plaintiffs Democracy Rising PA and Tim Potts (collectively “plaintiffs”) seek declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy prospective harms, and compensatory relief to rectify prior constitutional injuries allegedly caused by the canon. Defendants are members of the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board and the Pennsylvania Office of Disciplinary Counsel (collectively “defendants”). Presently before the court is defendants’ motion to dismiss. (Doc. 42.) For the reasons that follow, defendants’ motion will be granted.

This is a multidistrict antitrust matter brought under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and various state antitrust and consumer protection statutes. Plaintiffs allege that defendants conspired to fix the prices of chocolate confectionary products in the United States. Defendants, who control approximately 75% of the American market for chocolate candy, allegedly entered pricing agreements, resulting in coordinated price increases on three distinct occasions between 2002 and 2007. Defendants argue that the amended complaints fail to raise a plausible inference of an agreement to fix prices as required by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Defendants have filed motions to dismiss (Docs. 464, 469, 477) the complaints under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
 
Defendants Cadbury plc, Cadbury Holdings, Mars Canada, Nestlé S.A., and Nestlé Canada have also filed motions to dismiss (Docs. 466, 471, 473, 474) under Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of in personam jurisdiction. These defendants contend that they do not sell chocolate candy in the United States, maintain no facilities inside the U.S., and have no pricing authority in the U.S. chocolate market.
 
For the reasons that follow, the Rule 12(b)(2) motions will be deferred during a period of jurisdictional discovery. The Rule 12(b)(6) motions filed by the remaining defendants will be denied except with respect to certain common law and consumer protection claims. The Rule 12(b)(6) motions filed by Cadbury plc, Cadbury Holdings, Mars Canada, Nestlé S.A. and Nestlé Canada will be deferred until resolution of their jurisdictional challenges.

Presently before the court is plaintiff’s motion (Doc. 86) to exclude portions of the deposition of Dr. Robert Brumback (“Dr. Brumback”) at trial.1 Dr. Brumback is a treating physician of plaintiff Douglas Trout (“Trout”) who assisted Trout with acquisition and fitting of a prosthetic leg following limb amputation. Dr. Brumback began treating Trout approximately two months following the allegedly negligent surgical procedure performed by defendant Dr. Reza Miraliakbari and the allegedly negligent treatment that Trout received at defendant Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (hereinafter “the Medical Center”). Dr. Brumback played no role in Trout’s treatment while he was under the care of defendants.
 
Plaintiffs object to portions of Dr. Brumback’s deposition pertaining to a patient’s treatment and recovery following a limb salvage procedure, to Trout’s ability to remodel his townhouse following injury, to Dr. Brumback’s opinion regarding the medical qualifications of defendants’ expert witness, and to Dr. Brumback’s lack of knowledge regarding medical records maintained by the Medical Center. The court will address these objections seriatim.

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

Pending before the Court is the United States' (the Government's) request for the extradition of Mary Beth Harshbarger, (Doc. No. 2), pursuant to the Treaty on Extradition, Dec. 3, 1971, U.S.-Canada, T.I.A.S. No. 8237 (as amended by protocols of 1988 and 2001)1 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 3184. Having considered the parties' submissions, oral argument, the Treaty, statutory law, and case law, the Court finds that there is sufficient evidence to support Harshbarger's extradition to Canada to face the (single) charge of causing death by criminal negligence which has been brought against her there.

Pending before the Court is a complaint, Doc. No. 1, brought by the United States on behalf of the government of Canada. The Complaint seeks the extradition of Mary Beth Harshbarger from the United States to Canada. However, at this juncture, the complaint specifically seeks interim relief, viz., "a warrant ... pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3184, for the arrest of Mary Beth Harshbarger; that she [may] be brought before this Court and that evidence of [alleged] criminality [be] heard" in order to determine her extraditability. Doc. No. 1 at 2 (quoting prayer for relief). Having examined the government's ex parte complaint and submission, the United States-Canada extradition treaty and subsequent protocols, and statutory authority, the Court has determined that a warrant for arrest is not necessary, and, in lieu thereof, the Court will order a summons to be issued and served by the United States Marshall.

Judge John E. Jones III

This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 39) of defendants Northeast Utilities (“NU”), NU Enterprises, Select Energy (“Select”, and Northeast Generations Services (“NGS”), which seeks dismissal of plaintiff Michael Campion’s claim under the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) on the grounds that it is barred by the statute of limitations and that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Campion’s claim is not time-barred, but that he has indeed failed to state a claim. Therefore, the motion will be granted, and this action will be dismissed.

Pending before this Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (the “Motion”). (Rec. Doc. 11). For the following reasons, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 46) of defendant State Farm Insurance Company (“State Farm”). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

This patent dispute is before the Court on two motions: the Motion to Place the Second Amended Answer and Counterclaims on File (Doc. 91) of the defendant RB Rubber Products, Inc. (“RB Rubber”) and the Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2) (Doc. 85) of the plaintiff Dodge-Regupol, Inc. (“DRI”). For the reasons set forth below, RB Rubber’s motion will be granted, and the second amended answer and counterclaims will be docketed. However, DRI’s motion will also be granted, and this case will be dismissed.1

The above-captioned actions are brought pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68 and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), 73 PA. STAT. ANN. §§ 201-01 to -9.3.  Plaintiffs allege that defendants engaged in a fraudulent real estate scheme to sell homes in excess of market value in the Pocono Mountains region of Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Presently before the court is the motion for reconsideration (Civil Action No. 3:01-CV-1182, Doc. 422; Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-0832, Doc. 285) of the memorandum and order of court (Civil Action No. 3:01-CV-1182, Doc. 420; Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-0832, Doc. 283)2 dated March 21, 2008, which denied the partial motion for summary judgment (Doc. 360) of defendants Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation (“Chase”) and William Spaner (collectively hereinafter “the Chase defendants”). The UTPCPL claims are not subject to the pending motion. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

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