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McCarthy v. Eastburn & Gray

June 24, 2009

ALBERT MCCARTHY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EASTBURN & GRAY, P.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joyner, J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted as to its 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims. Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

As the facts leading up to this case are substantially similar to those leading up to the related case McCarthy v. Darman, No. 07-cv-3958, we will not repeat them here. This case, however, has been brought against the law firm of Eastburn & Gray, P.C. Plaintiff alleges violations of his substantive and procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and seeks redress pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983. Plaintiff also alleges various state law claims. Defendants have moved for summary judgment.

Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in this case. However, Plaintiff's Motion, exact copies of which were filed in this case and in McCarthy v. Darman, did not move for summary judgment against Eastburn & Gray, LLC, which is the only defendant in this case, but rather moved for summary judgment only against the defendants in McCarthy v. Darman.

Thus, as an initial matter, Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in this case is denied.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if "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). Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the suit. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

If the moving party establishes the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to "do more than simply show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). If the non-moving party bears the burden of persuasion at trial, "the moving party may meet its burden on summary judgment by showing that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to carry that burden." Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 456 F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting Wetzel v. Tucker, 139 F.3d 380, 383 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1998)).

In conducting our review, we view the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Nicini v. Morra, 212 F.3d 798, 806 (3d Cir. 2000). However, there must be more than a "mere scintilla" of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position to survive the summary judgment stage. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. "'[A]n inference based on speculation or conjecture does not create a material factual dispute sufficient to defeat entry of summary judgment.'" Koltonuk v. Borough of Laureldale, 443 F. Supp. 2d 685, 691 (E.D. Pa. 2006) (quoting Robertson v. Allied Signal, Inc., 914 F.2d 360, 382 n.12 (3d Cir. 1990)).

DISCUSSION

A. Section 1983 Claims for Deprivation of Procedural and Substantive Due Process

Pursuant to § 1983,

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the ...


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