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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 A. Richard Caputo

Plaintiff filed the present civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of her First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The defendants are: the County of Lackawanna (“Lackawanna”); Lackawanna County district attorney Michael J. Barrasse, Esq. (“Barrasse”); assistant district attorney Eugene M. Talerico, Jr., Esq. (“Talerico”); assistant district attorney Amy Shwed, Esq. (“Shwed”); detective John Fox (“Fox”); detective Joseph Jordan (“Jordan”); and detective James M. Reilly (“Reilly”). Plaintiff’s complaint alleges the following: I) Unlawful seizure of photographs during search on May 9, 1996 by defendants Fox, Jordan, and Reilly in violation of plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights; II) Unlawful seizure of plaintiff’s computer and computer software during search on May 10, 1996 by defendants Fox, Jordan, and Reilly in violation of plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights; III) Failure to grant a pre- or post-seizure hearing by defendants Barrasse, Talerico, and Shwed in violation of plaintiff’s First Amendment rights; IV) Failure to provide plaintiff with timely notice of the procedures necessary to reacquire the photographs seized during the search of plaintiff’s residence by defendants Barrasse, Talerico, and Shwed in violation plaintiff’s Fifth Amendment rights; V) Engagement in continued “investigation, oppression, and harassment” of plaintiff by defendants County of Lackawanna and defendants Barrasse and Talerico in violation of plaintiff’s First Amendment rights, and; VI) Negligent failure to train and supervise detectives and employees of the District Attorney’s Office by defendants County of Lackawanna and Barrasse. (Complaint, Doc. 1 at 13-18.)

Plaintiff, Lynn Cortes, commenced this action with the filing of a complaint alleging sexual harassment, on July 28, 1999. The complaint asserts claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (the “PHRA”), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951, et seq.

This case is before the Court on remand from the Court of Appeals. In relevant synopsis, the procedural history of the case is as follows. On January 14, 1997, plaintiff, Jane T. Popko, filed a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation action under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 (Law. Co-op. Supp. 1997) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 951- 963 (1991 & Supp. 1997 ). On November 24, 1997, defendants Pennsylvania State University, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, James Adams, Tasna Kitch, and Suzanne Schick moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. On February 27, 1998, this Court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On March 12, 1998, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s February 27, 1998 Order. The motion alleged that the Court had erred in holding that plaintiff was not disabled and in not reaching the issue of retaliation. In a Memorandum and Order, filed June 16, 1998, the Court reaffirmed its determination that the plaintiff was not disabled and also reversed its prior decision not to reach the retaliation issue. In considering the merits, however, the Court granted defendants summary judgment on the retaliation issue as well. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on July 9, 1998. On October 4, 1999 the Court of Appeals issued an Order, remanding the case to this Court “for further consideration of the claim based on epilepsy in light of Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., 119 S. Ct. 2139 (June 22, 1999), Albertsons Inc. v. Kirkingburg, 119 S. Ct. 2162 (June 22, 1999), Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 119 S. Ct. 2133 (June 22, 1999), and Taylor v. Phoenexville School Dist., 1999 WL 649376 (3d Cir. Aug. 18, 1999). The court does not express any opinion as to the proper resolution of the issue. The district court may determine what procedures are appropriate for its consideration, and the decision should be returned to this panel for final determination of the appeal.” Popko v. Pennsylvania State Univ., No. 98-7403, slip op. at 2 (3d Cir. Oct. 4, 1999).

Judge Sylvia H. Rambo

Petitioner was born in Cambodia on March 3, 1974 and “escaped from Cambodia” with his mother and three siblings in 1979. Petitioner and his family then spent a number of years in the refugee camps on the border of Thailand. On March 14, 1985 Petitioner and his family were legally admitted to the United States as refugees and resettled in Manchester, New Hampshire. On November 13, 1989 Petitioner adjusted his status to that of lawful permanent resident, and this status was instated retroactively to his date of admission, March 14, 1985.

On March 14, 1995 Petitioner was served with an order to show cause by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”), and an INS detainer was lodged against him. On September 9, 1996 an immigration judge ordered Petitioner deported to Cambodia, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) § 241(a)(2)(A)(iii), 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(A)(iii),2 for commission of an aggravated felony. On September 13, 1996 Petitioner filed a notice of appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”); and on December 3, 1997 Petitioner was taken into INS custody upon his release from state incarceration.

The instant case is an employment discrimination action. Plaintiff John A. Rowles instituted this action by filing a three-count complaint alleging that Defendants Automated Production Systems, Inc. (“APS”) and William Donohue terminated his employment in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. (Count I) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 951-963 (Count II), and tortiously invaded his privacy (Count III). Plaintiff’s PHRA claim was dismissed by the court on August 13, 1998, pursuant to Defendants’ Rule 12(b) motion.

Judge Yvette Kane

This sexual discrimination suit is unique both in its facts and in its progress through the courts. Over seven years ago, in January 1993, ten women employed in the chambers of District Justice Horace A. Lowery, seven of whom are Plaintiffs in this action, complained to the Dauphin County Court Administrator that they were being sexually harassed by the district justice himself. With a caveat from the Honorable Warren G. Morgan, President Judge of the Dauphin County Court, that the County was powerless to discipline Lowery, a committee was assembled to investigate the allegations. Their findings were provided to the President Judge and to the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board.

Thereafter, on March 30, 1993, Lowery notified two of the complaining clerks, Marca Graves and Sherry Reiff, that they were fired. The County Commissioners, however, refused to remove these women from the county payroll and instead transferred them to the County Personal Property Tax Department where they worked until after District Justice Lowery left office in December 1993. Thereafter, Graves and Reiff were transferred back to the office of the District Justice where the other five plaintiffs had continued in their assignments.


Before the Court is a consolidated appeal docketed in this Court on December 18, 1997. Appellants are Patricia A. Staiano, United States Trustee (“U. S. Trustee”), and Sears, Roebuck & Co. (“Sears”). Pursuant to a briefing schedule set by the Court, Appellant U. S. Trustee filed a supporting brief on August 14, 1998, and an amended supporting brief on August 20, 1998. Appellant Sears filed its supporting brief on August 14, 1998. Appellee William G. Schwab, Trustee in Bankruptcy For John C. Maloney and Christine Maloney, filed no brief in opposition. On October 28, 1998, Judge McClure transferred the above-captioned matter to the undersigned.

This appeal seeks reversal of the Bankruptcy Court’s May 12, 1997 Opinion and Order denying the motion of Sears to compel the Chapter 7 Trustee to reconvene the Section 341(a) meeting of creditors to permit the examination of the debtors by Sears’ non-attorney representative. Because this Court finds that the court below erred in its legal conclusion that the examination of a debtor at a Section 341(a) meeting of creditors by a non-attorney representative of a creditor constitutes the unauthorized practice of law in Pennsylvania, the decision below will be reversed.

Judge William W. Caldwell

The plaintiff, Two Rivers Terminal, L.P., and the defendant, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. (CUSA), are litigating the responsibility for the cleanup of environmental contamination at a gasoline and fuel oil terminal near Duncannon, Pennsylvania.

Two Rivers Terminal, L.P., has set forth claims under federal and state environmental statutes. The suit arises from petroleum contamination at a gasoline and fuel oil terminal formerly owned and operated by the defendant, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. (CUSA), and now owned by the plaintiff.