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Gerhart v. Commonwealth

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


August 19, 2009

STANLEY GERHART, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas M. Golden, J.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 13th day of August, 2009, upon consideration of Defendants Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Police, and State Trooper Maurice Minnifield's ("Defendants") Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs' response thereto (Doc. No. 4), Plaintiffs' Response to the Court's Rule to Show Cause (Doc. No. 5), Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Response to the Court's Rule to Show Cause (Doc. No. 6), and Defendants' Notice of Recent Decision (Doc. No. 7), it is ORDERED that Defendants' Motion (Doc. No. 2) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. IT IS ORDERED as follows:

1. Plaintiffs' constitutional claims in Counts Two, Three, and Four against Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their official capacities, actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Plaintiffs' claims in Counts Two, Three, and Four against Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their individual capacities, actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, remain;

2. Plaintiffs' claims in Counts Three and Four against Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their individual capacities for violations of the Fifth Amendment and conspiracy to violate Plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment rights respectively, each actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Plaintiffs' claims in Counts Three and Four against Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their individual capacities for violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and conspiracy to violate Plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights, each actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, remain.

3. Plaintiffs' claim in Count Four that Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their individual capacities conspired, along with Defendant Inez Rogers, to violate the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs, actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Plaintiffs' claim in Count Four that Defendant State Troopers Maurice Minnifield and John Doe in their individual capacities conspired, along with Defendant Inez Rogers, to violate the constitutional rights of Plaintiffs, actionable here under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, remains;

4. Count One, which asserts a private cause of action for monetary damages for alleged violations of Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE;

5. To the extent Defendants seek dismissal of Counts Five, Six, and Seven on the basis of sovereign immunity, Defendants' request is DENIED; and

6. Counts Eight and Nine are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs shall file and serve on all parties an Amended Complaint consistent with this Order and accompanying Memorandum Opinion within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. If Defendant Inez Rogers-who had not been served as of June 11, 2009-is not properly served within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order, all claims against Defendant Rogers may be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m).*fn1 Defendants Maurice Minnifield and John Doe shall file a responsive pleading to Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint within twenty (20) days of being served with the Amended Complaint.


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