You are here

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 is the motion to dismiss (Doc. 16) the complaint of pro se plaintiff John D. Wilson (“Wilson”), who alleges that defendants, who are members of or counsel to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, discriminated against him on the basis of his race and religion. Wilson, an African American and member of the Jewish faith, claims that defendants revoked his parole when he failed to complete a required substance abuse rehabilitation program, which required participants to recite a Christian prayer. Wilson refused to participate in this element of the program. Defendants contend that Wilson’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations and by the favorable termination rule announced in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss (Doc. 16) will be granted.

Presently before the court are motions to dismiss the indictments in two separate criminal actions, namely, United States v. Paul Shenandoah and United States v. Brian Dennis Douglas. (See No. 07-500, Doc. 22; No. 08-196, Doc. 20.) The motions challenge the constitutionality of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) both on its face and as applied. The motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.
 
For purposes of judicial economy, the court will address both motions in a single memorandum. For the reasons that follow, the motions will be denied.

This is an employment discrimination action in which plaintiffs Lisa Terrell (“Terrell”) and Naidea Garwood (“Garwood”), both of whom are African American, contend that defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 PA. STAT. ANN. §§ 951-964. Plaintiffs were formerly employed in the 911 emergency call center of defendant City of Harrisburg Police Department (hereinafter “the police department” or “department”), and they allege that the department discriminatorily discharged them for their handling of two emergency calls. Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that plaintiffs have proffered insufficient evidence to support their claims. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

Presently before the court is the motion to intervene pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) (Doc. 84), filed by Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland (“F&D”). Both plaintiff Westra Construction, Inc. (“Westra”) and defendant United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company (“USF&G”) oppose the motion for intervention. (See Docs. 88, 89.) On April 16, 2008, the court held oral argument on the motion, which has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

Judge Yvette Kane

On April 24, 2003, the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) approved Members First Credit Union’s request to amend its credit-union charter to cover six counties in south-central Pennsylvania. In doing so, the NCUA determined that the six-county area, which covers over 3,000 square miles and has a population of more than 1.2 million people, constitutes a “well-defined local community.” Plaintiffs, led by the American Bankers Association (“Association”),1 maintain that the area does not constitute a well-defined local community. Accordingly, the Association brought suit against the NCUA to challenge the NCUA’s approval  pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq. Members First Credit Union and two other affected credit unions intervened as defendants.

Judge John E. Jones III

This matter is before the Court on the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Indictment on Double Jeopardy and Collateral Estoppel Grounds. (Doc. 57.) Defendants John J. Rigas and Timothy J. Rigas (collectively “the Rigases”), argue that the conspiracy with which they are charged in this action is the same offense as the conspiracy charge prosecuted in a prior action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and therefore, the current prosecution is barred by the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy. The defendants also argue that, in the prior New York action, they were acquitted of the conduct which underlies the tax evasion counts charged in this action, and therefore, that these charges are barred by the principle of collateral estoppel. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants’ motion will be denied.

This matter is before the Court on the motions to dismiss of the State Employees’ Retirement System (“SERS”), the State Employees’ Retirement Board (“SERB”) and related individual defendants (collectively “the SERS defendants”) (Doc. 10) and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (“AOPC”) and David Frankforter (collectively “the AOPC defendants”) (Doc. 11). For the reasons set forth below, the motion of the SERS defendants will be granted in part and denied in part. The motion of the AOPC defendants will be granted, and the claims against these defendants dismissed in their entirety.

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.

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.

Pages