You are here


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 Malachy E. Mannion

On May 17, 2000, defendants Horn and Chesney authorized thirty (30) CERT officers to conduct “a live exhibition/exercise3” at SCI Frackville within the Restricted Housing Unit, (“RHU”). With “invited civilians” looking on, the CERT officers forcefully extracted him from his cell and “carried/dragged” him to the RHU exercise area, where he was placed in a “cage” and left there with his hands cuffed behind his back. Approximately twenty (20) CERT officers, fully equipped with assorted weapons, were lined up against the wall in the exercise area, causing him to become fearful and emotionally distressed.

Judge James M. Munley

Before the court for disposition is a case where we must determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to $1,000,000.00 or $600,000.00 in underinsured motorist coverage. The plaintiffs are Frank and Dawn Cebula, (hereinafter “plaintiffs”), and the defendant is Royal & SunAlliance Insurance Co. (hereinafter “defendant”). The parties agreed that both the defendant’s summary judgment motion and the merits of the plaintiff’s complaint would be addressed at a non-jury trial. A trial was held on November 22, 2000, addressing the plaintiffs’ declaratory judgment complaint and the motion for summary judgment.2 At that time, the parties formally presented their recommended stipulated facts and their respective legal theories.

As alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint, the facts are as follows: In 1994, the two dominant hospital systems in Northcentral Pennsylvania region (Providence Health System and North Central Pennsylvania Health System) merged to create Defendant Susquehanna Health System (hereinafter “SHS”). The result of the merger was a single entity with overwhelming market power in the markets for inpatient and outpatient hospital services.

Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Techneglas, Inc. from approximately 1986 until she was discharged on January 4, 1996 . During her tenure at Techneglas, plaintiff held various positions and was a member of Glass Molders, Pottery and Allied Worker’s International Union, Local 243. Plaintiff assumed the position of shipping coordinator in the defendant’s warehouse in February of 1994. As a shipping coordinator, plaintiff worked on third shift with a fork-lift driver, Robert Serovinski. The bulk of plaintiff’s complaint involves alleged harassing behavior by Serovinski.

Defendant Penn State University is an institution of higher learning with twenty-four campuses. Plaintiff commenced employment with the defendant in 1972 as an engineering instructor at its Hazleton campus and has worked there since. Plaintiff’s initial annual salary was $9,288.00. Plaintiff has received annual salary increases every year of his employment with the defendant. However, he claims that his salary has always been less than the average salary of his peers, and the salary increments did not always reflect actual contributions he has made to the university for a given year.

In this habeas corpus action, we are asked to determine the constitutionality of Petitioner Daniel Jacobs’ conviction of first degree murder and his sentence of death. The respondents are Martin Horn, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Conner Blaine, Jr., Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution, Greene County; and Joseph P. Mazurkiewicz , Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview. The petitioner raises a multitude of issues involving alleged errors of the trial court and ineffectiveness of counsel. With one exception, we find all of petitioner’s arguments to be either without merit or moot. However, because we find, for the reasons which follow, that the petitioner’s death sentence violates the Constitution of the United States, we will condition ally grant the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Judge Sylvia H. Rambo

The instant action seeks a declaratory judgment that certain provisions of Pennsylvania’s Milk Marketing Law, 31 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 700j-101, et seq. (“PMML”), and certain provisions of Official General Orders A-890A and A-900, (i) violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, and (ii) deprive Plaintiff of rights guaranteed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Additionally Plaintiff seeks to enjoin Defendants from enforcing the minimum milk prices fixed pursuant to Orders A-890A and A-900.

The following facts are undisputed except where noted. Defendant, P.H. Glatfelter Company (“Glatfelter” or “Defendant”), owns and operates a pulp and paper mill in Spring Grove, York County, Pennsylvania (the “Mill”). The Mill is situated along the Codorus Creek which flows into the Susquehanna River approximately 15 miles downstream from the Mill. Defendant manufactures paper using a bleached kraft process in order to remove the brown color from the wood fiber contained in the paper.

Defendant discharges approximately 14 million gallons of wastewater into the west branch of Codorus Creek daily. The bleaching agents used by Defendant cause a chemical reaction that moves the color molecules from the paper into the wastewater. Plaintiffs contend that there is a discoloration of the Codorus beginning at the mill that is visible all the way downstream through the City of York, located approximately ten miles from the Mill. Plaintiffs claim that this discoloration results from the wastewater discharged by Defendant. (Pl. Statement Undisputed Facts, hereinafter “Pl. Facts,” at ¶¶ 3, 6, 7.) Defendant disputes that any discoloration of the Codorus is caused by the color of the wastewater, that the discoloration begins at the Mill, and that Plaintiffs have established what the “true” color of the stream is. (Def. Resp. to Pl. Facts, hereinafter “Def. Resp. Facts”, at ¶¶ 3, 6, 7.)


Judge Richard P. Conaboy

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion for summary judgment filed on January 2, 2001. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff filed the above-captioned matter asserting in his complaint filed March 31, 2000 that he was unjustly denied pension and severance benefits and was induced to resign by his long-time employer, Osram Sylvania and its agents. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges these claims under Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq. (“ERISA”) as well as under Pennsylvania common law regarding breach of contract, detrimental reliance, promissory and equitable estoppel, and fraud.

Pending before the Court is a motion for habeas corpus relief filed on June 5, 2000 by Petitioner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 along with a “Memorandum of Law” in support of his motion to vacate his sentence.1 (Doc. 114). The Petitioner claims ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and sentencing errors based on misinterpretations of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The Government failed to file a response. In addition, the Petitioner filed an “Amended (informal) Brief” on December 29, 2000 (Doc. 116) in which he claims that Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L.Ed.2d 435, makes his sentence improper. For the reasons set forth infra, we shall deny the petitioner’s habeas corpus motion.