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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 James M. Munley

Plaintiff filed applications for DIB on April 12, 1996, and protectively filed her application for SSI on October 29, 1996. Record (hereinafter “R.”) 66-69, 228-31. In those applications the plaintiff alleged an inability to work since April 3, 1995 due to seizures, depression, and pain and swelling in her right leg.1 Initially and upon a motion for reconsideration, the claim was denied and eventually came before an administrative law judge (hereinafter “ALJ”) on May 22, 1997. R. 45, 46-49, 52-54 Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing.

Before the court for disposition is an appeal from the Bankruptcy Court which calls upon us to determine the correct valuation method for a piece of real estate located in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. The appellant is the United States of America, and the appellees/debtors of the bankruptcy are Joseph A. and Phyliss G. Donato.

This case arises out of plaintiff’s termination from her position as Code Enforcement Administrator of Pittston City on April 14, 1998. Plaintiff claims that she was terminated without benefit of notice, hearing, or court adjudication.

In April of 1997, Defendants Michael Lombardo, Thom as McFadden, and Philip Campenni ran in the democratic primary for positions of Mayor and Councilmen, respectively, and were elected to those positions in November of 1997. Ms. Bradbury’s political affiliation was different from the defendants’ and she participated in the campaigns of their opponents. In early 1998, it was determined that, due to budgetary concerns, it would be necessary to eliminate certain positions and redistribute job responsibilities. At that point, the plaintiff’s position was terminated without notice or hearing. It is agreed that the termination did not occur “for cause,” as there were no complaints regarding the job performance of the plaintiff .

 

The instant case involves a breach of contract claim and bad faith claim arising from an automobile accident. The case was removed to this court on December 29, 1998. On September 21, 1999 , Michael J. McDonald was appointed as a Master to resolve certain discovery issues. On May 31, 2000, the Master filed his recommendation with the court. An order was issued by this court on June 2, 2000, informing the parties that they would be allowed ten days in which to file any written objections. On June 20, 2000, the defendant filed its objections to the recommendation. On June 20, 2000, the court also received a letter from the plaintiff’s counsel, stating that he had no objections to the Master’s recommendation and urging the court to adopt the Master’s report.

On December 18, 1996, a Wyoming state trial court entered a judgment against the debtor in the total amount of $1,336,504.85, including $500,000.00 in punitive damages, based upon claims against the debtor for, inter alia, breach of contract, frau d, and negligence. The judgment was entered as a result of the debtor’s failure to comply with discovery requests, including a deposition scheduled for October 1996, and his failure to respond to plaintiffs’ motion for a default judgment, issued November 4, 1996 and granted November 15, 1996. After a hearing at which the deb tor did not participate, the Wyoming court assessed damages in the above amount on December 18, 1996. The debtor had been ordered, on July 14, 1996, to provide the court with updated addresses for purpose of service. Despite this admonition, the debtor failed to apprise the court of his move to Pennsylvania on September 12, 1996. Nevertheless, debtor reported his change of address to the post office. The debtor contends that the motion for default, as well as the October notice of deposition, reached him after the default had been entered as a result of the faulty address. He avers he had no knowledge that he could move for reconsideration of the default or that he could contest the matter at the damages phase of the proceeding. The debtor filed for bankruptcy on July 30, 1997. On November 4, 1997, the plaintiffs initiated an adversary proceeding by filing a complaint in the bankruptcy court, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523 (a)(2), (4) and (6), objecting to the dischargeability of the debt incurred pursuant to the Wyoming court judgment.

Judge William W. Caldwell

Arthur Snead has filed a counseled petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He challenges the 1990 sentence imposed on him in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for conspiracy to commit bank robbery, the substantive offense of bank robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The petitioner received a life sentence on the last conviction.

Pending is a second motion for summary judgment in this action arising from Defendants’ alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-54. On May 24, 2000, we granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claim that her employer, Vanguard Cellular Systems, retaliated against her for asserting her FMLA rights.

Hilario Gerardo Cuesta Martinez, a deportable alien, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The petitioner contends that his prolonged detention in INS custody awaiting deportation while the INS finds a country that will accept him violates his right to procedural and substantive due process under the fifth amendment.

Judge A. Richard Caputo

This matter is before me on plaintiff’s Amended Motion for Remand (doc. 11). The motion is accompanied by a document entitled “Affidavit” in which the plaintiff declares that “the amount in controversy does not exceed Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00).” (Aff. of Doris M. Wilbur, doc. 11). The document does not contain an indication of oath administered by a notary public or otherwise, nor does it state that it is made under the recognition that if false, it would be considered perjury or false swearing. 18 U.S.C. §1621, 18 Pa. C.S.A. §4904.
 
There is no dispute that there is diversity of citizenship between the plaintiff and defendant. The only issue for resolution is whether the amount in controversy component of federal diversity jurisdiction has been satisfied. See 28 U.S.C. §1332(a).

This is an insurance coverage dispute. Jurisdiction is founded upon diversity of citizenship. Presently before the Court are plaintiff’s and defendant’s cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, defendant’s motion will be granted and plaintiff’s motion will be denied.

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