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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 James M. Munley

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.

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.

Plaintiff was hired by Defendant Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as a psychologist in November 1993. He originally worked at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield. Approximately fifteen months after being hired, he was transferred to SCIMahanoy.

During the Spring of 1996, he publicly opposed religious/racial discrimination perpetrated against another psychologist by Defendant Youron. In the same year, he opposed racial discrimination against an inmate. He claims that he was the subject of harassment due to these actions and brought a six count discrimination action.

 

In his complaint, the plaintiff asserts the following causes of action: Count I, violation of First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; Count II, violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1988; Count III, Conspiracy; Count IV, violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Count V, violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act; Count VI, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Defendants have moved for summary judgment averring that: 1) the Eleventh Amendment bars all claims against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections except for the Title VII claim and the damages claims against the three officials of the Commonwealth in their official capacities; 2) individual employees cannot be held liable under the Title VII claim; 3) plaintiff has failed to allege violations of rights secured under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment (Count I); 4) the plaintiff did not adequately plead his conspiracy claims; and 5) the officials are immune from liability as to the pendent state law tort claims.

 

As alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint, the facts are as follows: Plaintiff was an employee of Defendant Marsch-Kellogg American Legion Post. On or about March 12, 1997, a representative of the American Legion contacted Defendant Trooper Mark H. Murray and requested that an investigation into financial shortages of the American Legion Post be conducted. The A merican Legion had retained Defendant Harriet L. Earnest, CPA to examine its financial records. She determined that the money was missing from the American Legion’s “ticket” money, that is ticket money earned by the American Legion from the sale of raffle tickets from ticket machines. On or about June 24, 1998, Defendant Mark H. Murray filed a criminal complaint against plaintiff contending that she was responsible for keeping the ledger on the ticket money during the period in question. Plaintiff w as arrested and requ ired to post bond.

The instant non-jury trial requires us to determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to $75,000.00 o r $500,000.00 in underinsured motorist insurance coverage (hereinafter “UIM coverage”). The plaintiffs are Joseph Clifford and Joseph Clifford, Administrator of the Estate of Christopher Clifford (hereinafter “plaintiff”), and the defendant is Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Royal & SunAlliance Insurance Co. (hereinafter “defendant” or “Prudential”). This case was removed from the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas on October 12, 1999. The plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to have the court reform the plaintiff’s insurance policy to provide UIM limits equal to the limits of the liability coverage. The parties agreed that the merits of the plaintiff’s complaint would be addressed at a nonjury trial. A trial was held on October 20, 2000, addressing the plaintiff’s declaratory judgment complaint. At that time, the parties formally presented their recommended stipulated facts and their respective legal theories.

The plaintiff in the instant case was employed by Miners from July 1994 until she was laid off in May 1998. Defendant Miners, a hospital, entered into a collective bargaining agreement (hereinafter “CBA”) with Defendant District Council, a labor union. While employed by Miners, plaintiff was a member of District Council.

On October 31, 1996, Miners posted a vacancy for a registration clerk/switchboard operator position. Plaintiff Seritti bid on that position, but it was awarded to another employee. Plaintiff filed a grievance on November 13, 1996 alleging that Miners breached the CBA by appointing another employee to the open position. On November 20, 1996, Miners denied the grievance at Step 1 of the grievance/arbitration procedure set forth in the CBA. On December 3, 1996, Miners denied the grievance at Step 2 of the grievance procedure. On March 12, 1997, Miners denied the grievance at Step 3 of the grievance procedure. District Council informed Miners, by a letter dated April 23, 1997, that the union would proceed to arbitration on plaintiff’s grievance. District Council failed to process the grievance to an arbitrator.

Judge Yvette Kane

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.

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.

Before the Court is the Defendant’s “Pretrial Motion to Suppress Evidence” filed with the Court on May 7, 2001. Defendant seeks the suppression of evidence seized in connection with his January 7, 2001 arrest as violative of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Defendant’s motion has been briefed and an evidentiary hearing on the motion was held on July 19, 2001.

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

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.

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