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.

02/02/2002

  • 1:CV-01-2439 VIETH, et al. v. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al.
    File:

    Plaintiffs Richard Vieth, Norma Jean Vieth, and Susan Furey brought this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Defendant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Defendant Executive Officers, and Defen dant P residing Officers. Plaintiffs’ claims arise out of the enactment of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1200 (“Act 1”), Pennsylvania’s Congressional redistricting plan, which Governor Schweiker signed into law on January 7, 2002.

01/27/2002

  • 3:99-1234 VALENTI v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO.
    File:

    Judge Raymond J. Durkin on September 21, 1999. (Doc. No. 12) This action arose out of a fire that occurred on January 20, 1999 at 25-26 Pugh Street, Edwardsville, Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs, Anthony and Henrietta Valenti, were the owners of a rental property located at the above mentioned address. They were insured by the Allstate Insurance Company for fire damage under Insurance Policy No. 098095949. The policy was in effect on the date of the fire which destroyed the building. Following the fire, the plaintiffs submitted a claim for property damage to the Allstate Insurance Company. Allstate denied the claim.

    The fire was an arson, a fact not disputed by any of the parties. The defendant, however, claimed that Anthony Valenti was responsible for an intentional act of arson on the property. Therefore, pursuant to an exclusion in the policy, Allstate claimed that plaintiffs were not entitled to any compensation under its policy. Further, the defendant alleged that the plaintiffs made false and fraudulent representations in the presentation of their claim to Allstate.

12/28/2001

  • 3:00-CV-1251 SMITH v. CGU
    File:

    In an independent action in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Thomas Smith, a passenger, received a verdict against Mark Hartung, the driver of an automobile owned by Deborah Palma.

    In this case, a declaratory judgment action, Defendant CGU (the insurer of Deborah Palma) asks the Court to declare it is not responsible to pay the verdict amount to Thomas Smith because Mark Hartung did not have permission to use the automobile of Deborah Palma.

    As discussed fully herein, we find Thomas Smith cannot prove that Mark Hartung had permission to use the automobile. We will, therefore, grant the Defendant, CGU’s request, and declare it is not responsible to pay the verdict amount to the Plaintiff, Thomas Smith.

11/30/2001

  • 3:01-1932 FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORP. v. STEVENS
    File:

    On October 5, 2001, the plaintiff filed an “Action in Mortgage Foreclosure” against the defendant. (Doc. No. 1). Thereafter on November 27, 2001, plaintiff filed a “Motion For Special Service Pursuant To Special Order Of Court.” (Doc. No. 3). The request was made because of plaintiff’s apparent inability to serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint.

11/14/2001

  • 1:CV-01-1226 WILSON v. I.N.S.
    File:

    The petitioner, Gladwin Wilson, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, cognizable under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Wilson, a citizen of Guyana, is challenging a final order of removal based on a finding that he has been convicted of an aggravated felony mandating deportation to Guyana. Wilson argues that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) failed to meet its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that he committed an aggravated felony.

10/31/2001

  • 3:00-CV-1617 BEHM, et al. v. LUZERNE COUNTY CHILDREN & YOUTH POLICY MAKERS, et al.
    File:

    Now before the Court is Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ amended complaint. (Doc. 14.) Plaintiffs’ original complaint was filed on September 11, 2000. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on February 15, 2001. (Doc. 8.) The present motion to dismiss was filed by Defendants Luzerne County Child and Youth Services, Helen Mericle, Jacqui Maddon, Ellis W. Carle, Peggy A. Peterson, David Gryczko, and Anthony Michaels on April 23, 2001. Defendants Pennsylvania Department of Welfare (PDW) and Pennsylvania Division of Children, Youth and Families (PDCYF) filed a separate motion to dismiss on August 10, 2001. (Doc. 18.) I granted Defendants PDW and PDCYF’s motion to dismiss on September 27, 2001. (Doc. 20.)

    In the present case, Defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds of statute of limitations, collateral estoppel and Rooker-Feldman will be denied. Defendants’ motion to dismiss Counts I, II, and V of Plaintiffs’ amended complaint, and Plaintiffs’ claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, will be granted. Defendants’ motion to dismiss Count IV of the amended complaint, as it pertains to Defendant Maddon, will also be granted. Defendants’ motion to dismiss Counts II will be denied, as will Defendants’ motion to dismiss Count IV as it pertains to Defendants Mericle and Caprio. In addition, I do not reach Defendants’ argument that portions of Plaintiffs’ amended complaint should be stricken for scandalous and impertinent material, as Defendants have not filed the appropriate motion under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

10/26/2001

  • 3:CV-01-1990 BOLUS v. DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF LACKAWANNA COUNTY, et al.
    File:

    Presently before me is Petitioner Robert Bolus’ petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and § 2254, filed October 17, 2001. The District Attorney of Lackawanna County and the Attorney General of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are named as respondents. Because I find that Petitioner does not meet the “in custody” requirement, I will dismiss his petition for writ of habeas corpus.

10/22/2001

  • 3:01cv211 KHAZZAKA v. UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON
    Judge:
    File:

    According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the facts of this case are as follows: Plaintiff commenced employment with the defendant as an associate professor in June 1994. On February 7, 1997, plaintiff was approved for tenure. In November of 1996, Dr. Cathleen Jones filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission asserting that she had been discriminated against by the defendant based upon her sex and her ancestry or origin, that being Mexican. In February 1997, after receiving tenure, the plaintiff was asked to make a statement in favor of Jones, and he did so.

    After demonstrating his support of Jones, plaintiff was subjected to a series of harassing memorandums and numerous meetings, resulting in a hostile work environment. Defendant retaliated against the plaintiff by not re-appointing him as director of secondary education. Additional actions occurred that caused plaintiff’s work environment to become extremely hostile. Finally, in February 1999, plaintiff was suspended because the defendant deemed him erratic, unusual and difficult. Plaintiff claims that his suspension was due to discrimination based upon his Lebanese origin and retaliation for backing Jones’ position against the defendant. In September 1999, plaintiff’s employment was terminated. Subsequently, the Plaintiff filed the instant six count complaint alleging as follows: Count I, discrimination in employment; Count II, age discrimination ; Count III, breach of contract; Count IV, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing; Count V, violation of public policy; and Count VI, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation. Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss and/or strike the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6), bringing the action to its present posture.

10/18/2001

  • 1:CV-01-0401 SCHIAZZA, et al. v. ZONING HEARING BOARD OF FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, PA
    File:

    This case involves a decision by Defendant Zoning Hearing Board of Fairview Township (the “Zoning Board”) denying Plaintiffs’ application for approval to erect a wireless communications tower. The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise indicated: Plaintiff Delaware Valley PCS Communications, LLC (“Delaware Valley”) is a Delaware limited liability company registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Delaware Valley is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to provide wireless communications service.

    Plaintiffs Robert and Diane Schiazza (“Schiazzas”) own a 9.4 acre tract of land located at 521 Locust Road in Fairview Township, York County, Pennsylvania. The property in question is located in the Commercial Highway District as designated by the Fairview Township Zoning Ordinance (“Zoning Ordinance”). The Schiazzas entered into a license agreement with Delaware Valley granting the telecommunications company permission to construct a 150 foot tall wireless communication tower on their property. Additionally, Delaware Valley agreed to obtain the necessary zoning approvals. The Schiazzas currently operate a roller skating rink on their property.

10/16/2001

  • 1:00-CV-480 AYERS v. THE MAPLE PRESS COMPANY
    File:

    Plaintiff Margaret Ayers (“Plaintiff”) was an employee of Defendant Maple Press Company and Affiliated Companies (“Defendant”) and covered under Defendant’s Employee Benefit Plan (“the Plan”) when, on December 13, 1997, her truck left the roadway and struck a tree. Plaintiff sustained serious injuries, was in a coma for six weeks and incapacitated for a further period of time thereafter. She is now a quadriplegic and unable to work. Her mother, Jeanne M. Spiker (“Spiker”) obtained power of attorney and commenced these proceedings.

    Tests performed on Plaintiff at the hospital after the crash showed a blood alcohol level of 0.144 and a police report showed a blood alcohol content of 0.13, both of which exceed the level defining “under the influence” in Pennsylvania law. The parties dispute whether Plaintiff was under the influence at the time her injuries were incurred. While the blood test evidence indicate that she was, Plaintiff questions the method and accuracy of testing, the timing of testing after the injuries, and extrapolation of those test results back in time to determine her blood alcohol level at the time the injuries were incurred.

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