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COHEN v. OASIN

September 7, 1994

ROBERT N. COHEN, Plaintiff,
v.
MANUEL B. OASIN, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. CURTIS JOYNER

 Joyner, J.

 This civil matter has been brought before the Court by motion of the defendant, Manuel B. Oasin, who seeks dismissal of the action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In addition, Mr. Oasin has moved to recover costs and attorneys' fees from both the plaintiff and his attorney pursuant to the Court's inherent power and the federal cost statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1927 (1994). For the reasons that follow, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted, while the defendant's motion for costs and attorneys' fees is denied.

 I. HISTORY OF THE CASE

 Throughout the course of the MSPB proceedings, GSA was represented by the defendant, Mr. Oasin, who served as regional counsel for GSA in the mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Cohen has alleged that Mr. Oasin made intentional misrepresentations to the administrative tribunal regarding Mr. Cohen's professional fitness. Furthermore, Mr. Cohen has asserted that Mr. Oasin willfully withheld and destroyed evidence that would have shown Mr. Cohen to be the object of disparate treatment and the victim of religious discrimination. The gravamen of Mr. Cohen's complaint is that the MSPB ruled against Mr. Cohen on the issues of religious discrimination and disparate treatment as a result of Mr. Oasin's alleged misdeeds.

 Mr. Oasin has moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that he is absolutely immune from this lawsuit. Mr. Cohen counters that Mr. Oasin enjoys, at most, only a qualified immunity, and is therefore not immune from the lawsuit.

 Mr. Oasin has also moved to recover costs and attorneys' fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927 and the inherent powers of the Court. Mr. Cohen's response to Mr. Oasin's motion to dismiss included a cross-motion to show cause why Mr. Cohen should not be disciplined under Local Rule of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 14 (hereinafter "Local Rule 14"). Local Rule 14 provides a set of disciplinary rules under which a court may "supervise the conduct of attorneys who are admitted to practice before it, or admitted for the purpose of a particular proceeding (pro hac vice)." Local Rule 14. But since Mr. Oasin was neither admitted to practice law before this Court nor admitted pro hac vice, he was not subject to the disciplinary rules promulgated under Local Rule 14. Mr. Cohen has since withdrawn his motion to show cause.

 Mr. Oasin has now brought this motion for costs and attorneys' fees, arguing that both Mr. Cohen and his lawyer, Mr. Friedman, acted in bad faith in filing the motion to show cause. Mr. Oasin further contends that Messrs. Cohen and Friedman have engaged in abusive behavior throughout the course of the litigation. Mr. Cohen responds by stating that he reasonably believed that Mr. Oasin was subject to Local Rule 14. Moreover, Mr. Cohen argues that his general conduct has not been oppressive.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. MOTION TO DISMISS

 
1. Standards Applicable to a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

 In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6), the complaint's allegations must be construed favorably to the pleader. The court must accept as true all of the plaintiff's factual allegations and draw from them all reasonable inferences. Schrob v. Catterson, 948 F.2d 1402, 1405 (3d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted). Thus, the court will grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion only if there are no set of facts under which the non-moving party can prevail. Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). Further, a complaint may be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) where the defendant contends that under the facts alleged he is entitled to ...


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