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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.

Judge John E. Jones III

Pending before the Court are cross-motions for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff Nationwide Insurance Company (“Nationwide” or “Plaintiff”) and by Defendants Sharon and Charles P. Chiao (“Defendants”). (Rec. Docs. 10 and 13). Following briefing by the parties, we held oral argument on the Motions on May 13, 2005. The Motions are now ripe for our review. Diversity jurisdiction in this Court is proper pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1332.
 
For the following reasons, we will grant the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and deny Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 19) filed by Plaintiff Jeanette Ott (“Plaintiff”) on March 1, 2005. We also have before us a Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 20) filed by Defendants Litton Industries, Inc. Employees’ Health/Long Term Disability Plan and Unum Life Insurance Company of American (collectively “Defendants”) on March 1, 2005. For the reasons that follow, we will grant Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and deny Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

Pending before the Court are a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 30) filed by the Plaintiffs Michael Walker, Ernie Heffner, Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, and Betty Frey (“Plaintiffs”), which seeks a declaratory judgment against the Defendants, Jodi Flitton, Joseph A. Fluehr, III, Michael J. Yeosock, Janice Mannal, Anthony Scarantino, Michael D. Morrison, Donald J. Murphy, James O. Pinkerton, (“Defendants” or “Board members”) and a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 34) filed by the Defendants seeking dismissal of Plaintiffs’ action.1 The aforementioned Defendants are all members of the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors and are named parties in their official capacities as members of that Board. Plaintiff Ernie Heffner is a licensed funeral director at Plaintiff Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home, which employs Plaintiffs Betty Frey and Michael Walker, the former through a subsidiary, Preneed Associates, Inc.2 Both Frey and Walker are licensed insurance salespersons but are not licensed funeral directors.
 
This Court has jurisdiction over the individual Board members based on federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as this action for declaratory relief is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgment Act codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2201.

Judge A. Richard Caputo

Motion of Third-Party Merrill Lynch Defendants to Dismiss Counts IV, V, and VI of Third-Party Complaint.

Presently before the Court is Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 17.) I will deny Defendant’s motion because the hills and ridges doctrine does not apply and there are genuine issues of material fact whether Defendant was negligent in its maintenance of the loading dock area. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

“Racial profiling” has become a familiar phrase in the last decade. Debate has swirled over the existence and persistence of the practice, in which law enforcement officials target individuals for investigation or detention based on race.1 The issue also pervades this case. Raphael Christopher asserts that members of a county sheriff’s department stopped his vehicle and issued him a traffic citation because he was an African-American driving an expensive car in the wrong neighborhood. The officers, as might be expected, dispute these charges.
 
Presently before the court are cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff argues that the officers acted outside of their jurisdictional authority under state law, rendering their conduct presumptively unconstitutional. Defendants counter that their actions represented a good-faith fulfillment of law enforcement duties, entitling them to immunity from liability. After reviewing the summary judgment record in light of governing federal law, the court finds that it cannot agree with either position.

There are few circumstances in which a district court may continue to exercise authority over a case after the filing of a notice of appeal, an “event of jurisdictional significance [that] confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over . . . the case.”1 The district court may proceed if the appeal is patently frivolous.2 It may proceed if the notice relates to a non-appealable order or judgment.3 It may also proceed if the appeal is taken in bad faith and would result in unwarranted delay.4 The notice of appeal filed by defendant in this case represents a convergence of all of these circumstances. Despite the notice, this court retains jurisdiction over these proceedings.

Presently before the court is a motion by defendant, The Bearington Collection, Inc. (“Bearington”), for partial reconsideration of a memorandum and order denying summary judgment in its favor on the copyright infringement claims of plaintiff, The Boyds Collection, Ltd. (“Boyds”). The court concluded that several of the copyrights at issue, for plush bears differing only with respect to their clothing, are potentially valid because such clothing does not necessarily constitute a “useful article.”1 Bearington argues that this holding improperly contravenes rulings of the United States Copyright Office, the federal agency responsible for administration of copyright law. The court previously rejected this argument, and will reject it again for similar reasons.

Judge Richard P. Conaboy

Here we consider Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion’s Report and Recommendation in which he recommends we deny Plaintiff’s appeal of Defendant’s denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). (Doc. 13.) Plaintiff has filed objections to the Report and Recommendation, (Doc. 14), and , Defendant responded to Plaintiff’s objections, (Doc. 15).
 
Therefore, this matter is ripe for disposition. Because Plaintiff filed objections, we will make a de novo determination regarding the matters to which Plaintiff has objected. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). After a thorough examination of the record, we conclude that this matter must be remanded to the Commissioner for further consideration.

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

On April 25, 2003, the plaintiffs initiated the instant action in which they seek a declaratory judgment to order the defendant to: (1) allow them to backfill mine pits on a certain tract of land known as the “Bliss tract” located in Cherry Township, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, with fly-ash material; and (2) grant its consent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, (“DEP”), Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, for this procedure.

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