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.

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.
  • 3:00cv1941 KINBACK CORPORATION v. QUAKER CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, INC.
    File:

    According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the facts are as follows: The Tamaqua Area School District invited sealed bids for the construction of a middle school in March 1999. On May 6, 1999, Quaker and Kinback were awarded the general trades contract and the electrical contract respectively.

    Kinback could perform a substantial portion of its electrical work only after other trades had completed certain portions of their work. The construction project began to experience delays as a result of Quaker being unable to meet any of its construction deadlines. The project began to operate out of sequence. Electrical work could not be installed in a productive manner until the building structure was reasonably complete; therefore, the other contractors had to substantially complete their work before Kinback could begin its primary work. Because of the delays caused by Quaker, Kinback had to accelerate staffing levels and work overtime in order to complete designated areas for the owner’s occupancy. As a result of the delays caused by Quaker, Kinback incurred substantial additional costs by not being able to complete the project by its final completion date. These additional costs include labor and material surcharges in excess of $250,000.00.

10/09/2001

  • 3:99-CV-0716 WALKER-SERRANO v. LEONARD, et al.
    File:

    Plaintiff, Amanda Walker-Serrano, filed this civil rights action on May 4, 1999 against Donald Leonard, Dr. Clyde Ellsworth, Nancy Simon, and Pat Carpenter, individually and in their official capacities at Lackawanna Trail Schools, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violation of her First Amendment rights, emotional distress, and various state law claims. (Doc. 1.) Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on May 30, 2000. (Doc. 13.) Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt has recommended that the Court grant Defendants qualified immunity in their individual capacities, grant Defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to all Plaintiff’s federal claims, and that the state claims be dismissed without prejudice. (Report and Recommendation, Doc. 24.) Plaintiff filed a timely objection to the Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation. (Doc. 27.) After making a de novo determination of the case, I adopt that recommendation. Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on all claims, as Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were not clearly established. Defendants‘ conduct did not violate any of Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights. I further find that the School District cannot be held liable under Monell liability for First Amendment violation. Accordingly, as Plaintiff’s federal law claims are dismissed, I agree with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff’s state law claims are dismissed without prejudice.

10/03/2001

  • 3:00cv461 KONDRAT v. ASHCROFT, et al.
    File:

    Defendant Federal Bureau of Prisons hired the plaintiff, John Kondrat, as a physician assistant on May 11, 1997. Physician assistants work under the license of a physician, who grants them privileges to perform certain medical tasks. Plaintiff worked under the medical license of Dr. Niianjana Shah, the Clinical Director of the Federal Correctional Institution Schuylkill, (hereinafter “FCI-Schuylkill”). Plaintiff is a white Caucasian male of United States origin. Shah is a female of Indian national origin. She supervised the medical performance of the physician assistants employed at the institution.

    Plaintiff has brought a “reverse discrimination” suit against the defendants and alleges as follows in his complaint: During plaintiff’s employment at FCI-Schuylkill, Shah was heard to say in the presence of others that “this is a white man’s world” and that “she is sick of it.” Compl. ¶ 14. While he was employed there, Shah informed plaintiff that she intended to “get him” and that he was the only one she could “get.” Id. at ¶ 15. Other employees have heard Shah make racially inappropriate and derogatory remarks and have made complaints to Defendant Federal Bureau of Prisons management and personnel. Id. at 16 - 17.
  • 3:01-CV-798 SCHACH v. FORD MOTOR CO. and BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLP.
    File:

    This action arises from an auto accident involving the Plaintiff. Defendant Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC (“Bridgestone/Firestone”) now moves to dismiss Plaintiff Shirley Schach’s product liability action as time-barred. (Doc. 22.) Because Plaintiff failed to file her amended complaint in a timely manner as prescribed by Pennsylvania law, and because neither the relation-back doctrine nor the discovery rule excuses her lateness, I will grant Bridgestone/Firestone’s motion to dismiss.

09/18/2001

  • 1:CV-01-1015 JAMES v. YORK COUNTY POLICE DEPT., et al.
    File:

    On June 8, 2001, Plaintiff filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against the York County Police alleging that they deprived him of certain constitutional rights during his arrest, detention, interrogation and prosecution for unspecified state criminal charges. Plaintiff’s complaint, construed liberally, alleges the following: 1) excessive force used by the police during his arrest; 2) unlawful search and seizure of his person and property during the arrest and investigation; 3) failure to advise Plaintiff of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona and coercion and entrapment of him during questioning; 4) denial of Plaintiff’s request to speak to an attorney before and during questioning; 5) unlawful detention; 6) excessive bond set for Plaintiff’s release; and 7) police harassment of Plaintiff’s wife and her sister.

  • 3:99-1986 EVAN v. ESTELL
    File:

    Before the court is the plaintiff Mary Lou Evan’s motion to preclude the defendant’s introduction at trial of surveillance videotape evidence. (Doc. No. 24). This matter has come before the court as a result of an automobile accident that occurred on September 12, 1997. Following that accident, a civil action was filed by the plaintiff in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County but later removed by the defendant to this federal court. (Doc. No. 1). In June of 2000, a case management order was entered by the Honorable Raymond J. Durkin in which he set forth dates to control the orderly pretrial progression of this matter. (Doc. No. 9). Included in that order was a discovery deadline of June 1, 2000. By order of the court, and agreement of counsel, that discovery deadline was later extended until September 30, 2000.

Pages