You are here

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.

Judge Yvette Kane

On April 14, 2011, Ralph E. Hauck, Jr. was charged in a four count indictment for three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and one count of trespassing at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1793. (Doc. No. 1; see Doc. No. 42.) Defendant entered into a plea agreement on January 5, 2012. (Doc. No. 48.) On January 31, 2012, Defendant entered a plea of guilty to one count in the indictment – possession of a firearm by a convicted felon – before Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle, III (Doc. Nos. 53, 56). This Court accepted Defendant’s guilty plea on February 23, 2012 (Doc. No. 58), and sentenced Defendant on July 24, 2012 (Doc. No. 66).

Following receipt and consideration of Defendant Ralph E. Hauck, Jr.’s requests to modify the conditions of his supervised release and correct the record (Doc. No. 119; see Doc. Nos. 117-18, 120-23), this Court appointed Edward J. Rymsza to represent Defendant in this matter on September 28, 2016 (Doc. No. 124). Defendant, through his counsel, filed an unopposed motion to correct the record on November 21, 2016. (Doc. No. 127.)

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

Malibu Media, LLC, commenced the above-captioned action against John Doe, asserting one count of copyright infringement pursuant to the United States Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. John Doe rejoins with counterclaims and third-party claims for common law fraud as well as violation of Pennsylvania‟s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 PA. STAT. AND CONS. ANN. § 201-1 to -9.3, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1963 et seq. Before the court are motions to dismiss by counterclaim defendant Malibu Media, LLC, and third-party defendants Christopher Fiore, Esquire, and Colette Pelissier-Field.

Sentencing issues that were routine a mere three months ago now merit a full opinion. Defendant in this case pled guilty to a federal offense, use of a communication facility in drug trafficking, on March 25, 2004. Thereafter, the United States Probation Office prepared a pre-sentence report. Defense counsel lodged several objections to the report in early June 2004. On June 24, 2004, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004), holding that all facts relevant to the “statutory maximum” sentence must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Understandably, defense counsel levied additional objections to the report based on the Blakely decision.

Defendant Helene Mitchell (“Mitchell”) pled guilty in December of 2006 to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(e). Because Mitchell had three or more qualifying prior convictions under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA” or “the Act”), she received a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years‟ imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Mitchell presently moves the court for vacatur of her fifteen-year sentence in light of the United States Supreme Court‟s decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), which invalidated the ACCA‟s residual clause as unconstitutionally vague. Id. at 2557. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant Mitchell‟s motion (Doc. 83) and schedule resentencing forthwith.

Plaintiff Arthur Johnson ("Johnson" or ―Mr. Johnson‖) is a convicted murderer. He has been in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("the Department") since 1973, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. For the past thirty-six years, the Department has held Mr. Johnson in solitary confinement—his entire existence restricted, for at least twenty-three hours per day, to an area smaller than the average horse stall. Astoundingly, Mr. Johnson continues to endure this compounding punishment, despite the complete absence of major disciplinary infractions for more than a quarter century.

Mr. Johnson initiated this cause to challenge his institutional exile as violative of the United States Constitution. Presently, Mr. Johnson moves the court to compel the Department to: (1) stop his interminable isolation and (2) release him to general population.

Judge John E. Jones III

Presently pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss (the “Motion”) filed by Defendants Medtronic, Inc, Medtronic Puerto Rico Operations, Co, and Medtronic Logistics, LLC. (collectively “Medtronic”) (Doc. 9). Plaintiff Jason Silver brings seven counts against Medtronic arising out of the alleged malfunction of a Medtronic device, the SynchroMed II. (Doc. 1). The Motion has been fully briefed (Docs. 11, 14, 15) and is therefore ripe for our review. For the reasons that follow, the Motion shall be granted in part and denied in part.

The Motion asks the Court to amend or alter our Order of November 9, 2015, where we granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss and found that Plaintiff Keyes was barred from raising his Second Amendment as-applied challenge by issue preclusion. In accordance with the standard of review applicable to a motion to dismiss, the following facts are derived from the Plaintiffs’ Complaint and are viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs.
 
Plaintiff Michael Keyes is a Master Trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”). (Doc. 1, ¶ 7). Plaintiff Jonathan Yox is a State Correctional Officer at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. (Id., ¶ 8).
 
Both Keyes and Yox were each once involuntarily committed for mental health concerns. Keyes was involuntarily committed as an adult at Holy Spirit Hospital in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, on August 25, 2006, as a result of “imbibing in alcoholic beverages and making suicidal statements” as he was struggling through an “emotionally devastating” divorce. (Id., ¶¶ 7, 21). He was initially involuntarily committed pursuant to 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7302, allegedly in the absence of any due process, and then later, pursuant to 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7303. (Id.). He was released by September 8, 2006. (Id.). Keyes never threatened to use a firearm against himself or others. (Id., ¶ 22).
 
Yox was involuntarily committed as a juvenile at York Hospital, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, on March 30, 2006. (Id., ¶ 50). He had been emotionally devastated by his parents’ divorce and had begun cutting himself under the influence of an older girl. They also had made a suicide pact together. (Id., ¶¶ 48-50). He was also initially involuntarily committed pursuant to 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7302, allegedly in the absence of due process, and then later, pursuant to 50 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 7303. (Id., ¶ 50). Yox was released by April 6, 2006. (Id.). In 2008, when he was 17, Yox enlisted in the U.S. Army. He honorably served until 2012, when he received an honorable discharge. (Id., ¶¶ 52-53). During his time in the military, Yox spent six and a half months in a combat zone in Afghanistan. (Id., ¶ 54). During his military service, Yox was trained to use, and did use, various kinds of firearms, including fully automatic rifles, machine guns, explosives, and grenade launchers. (Id., ¶ 55). Upon his return from Afghanistan, Yox was not recommended for further psychological evaluation after his deployment briefing. (Id., ¶ 56).

 

Presently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10) filed by Defendants Pedro A. Cortes and Jonathan Marks (collectively, “Defendants”). The Motion is filed in response to Plaintiff Roque de la Fuente’s Amended Complaint for Emergency Mandamus, Injunctive and Declaratory Relief (Doc. 4), filed on August 18, 2016. Due to the expedited nature of this proceeding and the close relation of the issues raised with matters of Pennsylvania election law, the Court requested that the parties brief the threshold issue of abstention on an accelerated schedule. We have now received a full complement of briefings (Docs. 11, 12, and 13) in response to the Motion and the Motion is accordingly ripe for the Court’s review. For the following reasons, the Court shall abstain and shall not proceed to the merits of Plaintiff’s claims.

On June 29, 2012, Lang filed a Complaint (Doc. 1), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, against PHEAA. In his Complaint, Lang alleged that he and other PHEAA employees were required to arrive at work early to log in to various computer applications and perform other tasks so that they would be ready to handle calls at the beginning of their shifts. Lang alleged that he, and others similarly situated, were not paid for this time. PHEAA’s alleged failure to pay Lang and other employees for this time formed the factual basis for the two counts presented in Lang’s Complaint. In Count I, Lang alleged a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Count II of the Complaint alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, 43 P.S. § 260.1, et seq., and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, 43 P.S. § 333.101, et seq.

Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C.’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Count II (Doc. 23) filed on April 29, 2016. For the reasons that follow, the Court shall grant the Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and declare that the subject lease between Plaintiff and Defendants does not permit class arbitration.

Pages