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Merring v. Bozym

December 22, 2008

BENJAMIN WAYNE MERRING PLAINTIFF
v.
RICHARD BOZYM, INDIVIDUALLY AS WELL AS IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SERGEANT STATE TROOPER, COMMONWEALTH OF PA, ET AL, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Vanaskie

MEMORANDUM

After a traffic stop and ensuing pursuit, Plaintiff Benjamin Wayne Merring was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, fleeing or attempting to elude police, disorderly conduct and traffic citations. (Dkt. Entry 32, at ¶¶ 6, 11.) As a result of this, and a separate similar arrest, Plaintiff brought suit against twenty defendants, alleging violation of numerous state and Constitutional rights. (Dkt. Entry 1.) Currently before this Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment of Trooper Richard Bozym and Sergeant Joseph Farrell (collectively "Defendants"). (Dkt. Entry 29.) For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a resident of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and Defendants are State Troopers with the Pennsylvania State Police. (DSUMF at ¶¶ 1, 2.) On April 30, 2006, at 1:30 p.m., Plaintiff was operating a Dodge Dakota pickup truck on State Route 6 in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, when he was pulled over by Trooper Bozym, who had clocked Plaintiff's vehicle traveling 86 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone. (Id. at ¶¶ 3, 4.)

After being pulled over, Plaintiff informed Trooper Bozym that he did not have a Pennsylvania driver's license. (Id. at ¶ 5.) It was discovered then that Plaintiff's driver's license had been suspended. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Sergeant Farrell soon after arrived at the scene and, as he was talking to Plaintiff, Trooper Bozym completed two traffic citations to be issued to Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Trooper Bozym advised Plaintiff that he was not permitted to drive, and Plaintiff responded that he was going to drive anyway. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Trooper Bozym again advised Plaintiff that he was not permitted to drive, whereupon Plaintiff advised that the was leaving, put the truck in gear, and pulled away. (Id. at ¶ 9.)

Trooper Bozym and Sergeant Farrell pursued Plaintiff's vehicle and were able to stop him by boxing in his truck on the entrance ramp to Route 81. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Plaintiff was arrested and read his Miranda rights. (Id.) He was charged with recklessly endangering, fleeing or attempting to elude police, disorderly conduct, and traffic citations. (Id. at ¶ 11.) He was arraigned before District Justice Pesota, who set bail at $7,500. Plaintiff failed to post bail, and was remanded to the Lackawanna County Prison. (Id.)

On June 21, 2006, a preliminary hearing was held regarding these matters before District Justice Gallagher, and all charges were bound over to the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County for trial. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff failed to appear for his final pre-trial conference in this matter, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on December 7, 2006. (Id. at ¶ 13.)

In addition to being pulled over on April 30, 2006, Plaintiff was also stopped by police shortly after 9:00 a.m. on January 18, 2007. At that time, Trooper Bozym observed Plaintiff operating a motor vehicle on State Route 6 in Lackawanna County and, knowing that his license had been suspended by PennDOT, initiated a traffic stop. (Id. at ¶ 15.) When Trooper Bozym initiated the stop, Plaintiff stopped his vehicle, but failed to turn off the ignition and instead pulled away from Trooper Bozym. (Id.) A short pursuit ensued, after which Plaintiff was "taken into custody, charged, and arraigned on additional fleeing and eluding charges. . . ." (Id. at ¶ 16.) At this time, Plaintiff was also arraigned on the December 2006 outstanding bench warrant, and bail was set at $5,000. (Id.) On September 10, 2007, a preliminary hearing was held on the January 2007 charges against him, and all charges were bound over for trial in the Court of Common Pleas.*fn1 (Id. at ¶ 17.)

On May 9, 2007, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed in this Court a 535 paragraph complaint, alleging twenty-five causes of action against twenty defendants. (Dkt. Entry 1.)

On February 8, 2008, Defendants Bozym and Farrell filed the current Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Entry 29.) Plaintiff failed to file a response, and on March 21, 2008, this Court ordered him to file an opposition brief, responsive statement of material facts as required by Local Rule 56.1, and exhibits. (Dkt. Entry 35, at 2.) Plaintiff was additionally informed that failure to comply with the Order would be deemed a failure to oppose the motion. (Id.) On March 31, 2008, Plaintiff filed an "Objection/Response to the Defendants Bozym and Farrell's Motion/Brief Seeking Summary Judgment." Plaintiff, however, failed to file a responsive statement of material facts as required by Local Rule 56.1.*fn2 (Dkt. Entry 36.)

It is Plaintiff's contention that he is not subject to regulation; is not required to obtain a license before driving; and that since he may not be licensed, PennDot may not suspend his license. Plaintiff asserts that upon stopping, he "informed Bozym that he traversed the common way as a matter of Right and was not subject to regulation." (Id. at ¶ 12.) Moreover, Plaintiff argues: "title 75 which is the Pennsylvania Motor vehicle code does not apply to him.

The plaintiff denies that his automobile is a motor vehicle and the plaintiff denies that he is the person described by the code required to be licensed." (Id. at ¶ 12.)

Since Plaintiff argues that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code does not apply to him, and that he is not subject to regulation, he logically assumes that PennDot erroneously listed his license as being under suspension and accuses PennDot of refusing "to admit that it does not have the power to suspend what does not exist. Benjamin Wayne Merring does not HAVE a driver's license to suspend." (Id. at ¶ 14) (emphasis in original). In short, plaintiff's basic claim is that all Sovereign men and women are endowed by their Creator with an unalienable Right of liberty. This Unalienable right of liberty includes the Plaintiff's right to freely travel[ ] the common way as he attends to his private affaires [sic] owing no duty to anyone, not even the commonwealth so long as the plaintiff's right to travel does not infringe on anyone else[s] right to travel. (Id. at ¶ 36.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment should be granted when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or non-existence might affect the outcome of the suit under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "Facts that could alter the outcome are material facts." Charlton v. Paramus Bd. of Educ., 25 F.3d 194, 197 (3d Cir. 1994). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the ...


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