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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 Yvette Kane

On April 14, 2011, Ralph E. Hauck, Jr. was charged in a four count indictment for three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and one count of trespassing at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1793. (Doc. No. 1; see Doc. No. 42.) Defendant entered into a plea agreement on January 5, 2012. (Doc. No. 48.) On January 31, 2012, Defendant entered a plea of guilty to one count in the indictment – possession of a firearm by a convicted felon – before Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle, III (Doc. Nos. 53, 56). This Court accepted Defendant’s guilty plea on February 23, 2012 (Doc. No. 58), and sentenced Defendant on July 24, 2012 (Doc. No. 66).

Following receipt and consideration of Defendant Ralph E. Hauck, Jr.’s requests to modify the conditions of his supervised release and correct the record (Doc. No. 119; see Doc. Nos. 117-18, 120-23), this Court appointed Edward J. Rymsza to represent Defendant in this matter on September 28, 2016 (Doc. No. 124). Defendant, through his counsel, filed an unopposed motion to correct the record on November 21, 2016. (Doc. No. 127.)

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner

Presently before the court is a motion (Doc. 28) to suppress evidence filed by defendant Ronny Getgen (“Getgen”). Getgen contends that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the improper issuance and execution of two search warrants. Getgen requests that the court suppress all physical evidence recovered pursuant to the search warrants and a statement allegedly made by Getgen during the execution of the first warrant. For the following reasons, the court will deny the motion.

One of the benefits of the myriad challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereinafter “Health Care Act” or the “Act”), Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010), as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 1029, is the distillation of relevant issues. As a threshold matter, I emphasize, as Judge Vinson emphasized in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, --- F. Supp. 2d ---, 2011 WL 285683 (N.D. Fla. 2011), that this case is not about whether the Health Care Act merely treats the symptoms or cures the disease which has so clearly afflicted our health care system. Nor is it about the exhaustive efforts of Congress to document and to project the increasing costs of health care services or to pinpoint discriminatory practices associated with pre-existing conditions.
Rather, this case concerns the precise parameters of Congress’s enumerated authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Specifically, the issue is whether Congress can invoke its Commerce Clause power to compel individuals to buy insurance as a condition of lawful citizenship or residency. The court concludes that it cannot. The power to regulate interstate commerce does not subsume the power to dictate a lifetime financial commitment to health insurance coverage. Without judicially enforceable limits, the constitutional blessing of the minimum coverage provision, codified at 26 U.S.C. § 5000A, would effectively sanction Congress’s exercise of police power under the auspices of the Commerce Clause, jeopardizing the integrity of our dual sovereignty structure.

Judge John E. Jones III

Before the Court in this declaratory judgment action are the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss and, alternatively, Rule 14(a)(4) Motion to Strike, (Doc. 40), of Third-Party Defendant Miller, Kistler, Campbell, Miller, Williams, and Benson, Inc. (“Miller Kistler”) and the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss and, alternatively, Rule 14(a)(4) Motion to Strike, (Doc. 41), of Third-Party Defendant Rhoads and
Sinon, LLP (“Rhoads”). Both Motions have been fully briefed and are therefore ripe for disposition. For the reasons articulated herein, the Court will grant Third-Party Defendant Miller Kistler’s Motion to Dismiss and deny Third-Party Defendant Rhoads’ Motion to Dismiss.

Pending before the Court is Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff ACF Industries, LLC’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Claims for Lack Subject Matter Jurisdiction (Federal Preemption). (Doc. 127). For the following reasons, we shall deny the pending motion.

Plaintiffs, a class of individuals with intellectual disabilities (formerly known as mental retardation) who are institutionalized in state intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation (“ICF/MRs”) initiated this litigation in June 2009. Plaintiffs alleged that they were appropriate for, and not opposed to, community-based services, and that Department of Public Welfare and the Secretary of Public Welfare (collectively, “Defendants” or “DPW”) violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12131-12134, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. § 794, by failing to provide those services to institutionalized individuals. Plaintiffs sought both declaratory and injunctive relief. On January 27, 2011, the Court resolved cross Motions for Summary Judgment in Plaintiffs’ favor, finding that Defendants were violating the integration mandates of the ADA and RA by relegating institutionalized individuals to a class of persons who receive community placements only after another class, those who are not institutionalized, was fully served. (See Doc. 88.) Because of the exhaustive detail that would be required in any resulting injunctive relief ruling, and mindful that the parties were in a better position to come to closure on an acceptable policy, we encouraged the parties to mediate in aid of seeking a final resolution. The parties thereafter reached a settlement with the commendable assistance of U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson, and, thus, before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of the Proposed Class Action Settlement Agreement (Doc. 260) and Plaintiffs’ Unopposed Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, Litigation Expenses, and Costs (Doc. 262). For the reasons that follow, the Court will approve the proposed settlement and award the requested fees.

Before the Court is the Motion to Compel the Production of Government Interview Notes (“the Motion”)(Doc. 67) filed by Defendants John J. Rigas and Timothy Rigas (collectively “the Defendants”) on April 15, 2008. This matter had previously been stayed pending an interlocutory appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Following the Third Circuit’s decision in that appeal, the Court received a supplemental brief on the Motion from the Defendants. (Doc. 125). Accordingly, the matter is fully ripe for our review.

Judge Malachy E. Mannion

On November 20, 2007, plaintiff Longview Fund loaned the sum of $800,000 (the “Loan”) to third party defendant All Staffing, Inc. (“All Staffing”) as evidenced by a promissory note dated November 20, 2011 (the “Note”). Defendant Stanley J. Costello (“S. Costello”), who was Chief Executive Officer of All Staffing, executed the Note on All Staffing’s behalf.

Pending before the court is the Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions for Failing to Preserve Electronic Stored Information and Provide Such Information in Discovery. (Doc. No. 50). Based upon a review of the motion and related materials, the motion will be denied.

By way of relevant procedural background 2, the plaintiff filed the instant action, (Doc. No. 1), on February 17, 2009, which he later amended on April 5, 2009, to include claims of age discrimination and retaliation (Count I), First Amendment violations (Count II), and a hostile work environment (Count III), in relation to his employment as an orthotist3 at the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Veterans Affairs, (“VA”), Medical Center, (Doc. No. 3).