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Clark v. Conahan

August 25, 2010

RAUL CLARK, BRUCE CLARK, AND IRAIDA CLARK, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MICHAEL T. CONAHAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are the Motions to Dismiss of Defendants Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. (Doc. 24), Michael T. Conahan (Doc. 28), Sandra Brulo (Doc. 59), Robert K. Mericle and Mericle Construction, Inc. (Doc. 68), PA Child Care, LLC ("PACC") (Doc. 70), Robert J. Powell and Vision Holdings, LLC (Doc. 72), and Barbara Conahan and Cindy Ciavarella (Doc. 78). For the various reasons discussed more fully below the motions of Mr. Conahan, Mr. Ciavarella, Ms. Brulo, Mr. Mericle, Mericle Construction, PACC, Powell, and Vision will be granted in part and denied in part, and the motion of Mrs. Conahan and Mrs. Ciavarella will be granted.

BACKGROUND

I. GENERAL FACTS

The facts alleged in the Complaint are as follows. Defendants Ciavarella and Conahan both served as judges for the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas for Luzerne County. (Compl. ¶ 42.) Conahan served as president judge from January 2002 to June 2007, and Ciavarella served as president judge from June 2007 to January 2009. (Compl. ¶¶ 43, 46.) Defendant Ciavarella oversaw juvenile matters in his role as judge between 2000 and 2007. (Compl. ¶ 45.)

In approximately June 2000, Ciavarella met with Defendant Powell, a local attorney, regarding Mr. Powell's desire to construct a new privately-owned juvenile detention facility in Luzerne County. (Compl. ¶ 47.) Ciavarella introduced Powell to Defendant Mericle, the owner of a local construction company; Mericle and his company, Mericle Construction, Inc. agreed to build a facility on land that Powell and his partner, Mr. Gregory Zappala, would later acquire. (Compl. ¶¶ 49-50.) Although the pre-existing publicly-owned juvenile detention facility served the needs of Luzerne County, Conahan and Ciavarella, in exchange for kickbacks from Defendants Powell, Powell Law Firm, Mericle, Mericle Construction, Zappala, Vision Holdings, PACC and Western PA Child Care ("WPACC"), set out to demonstrate the need for a new facility by increasing the number of juveniles who were sentenced to custodial detention. (Compl. ¶¶ 54-57.)

In order to assure a sufficiently high number of juveniles were sentenced to custodial detention, Ciavarella and Conahan regularly denied juveniles their constitutional rights by failing to allow them an impartial tribunal because of the judges' conflicts of interest, denying juveniles their right to counsel, and pressuring juveniles to take guilty pleas without advising them of their rights and ensuring a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 59-62.) Conahan and Ciavarella also imposed draconian sentences "for hundreds of first-time offenders of (sic) youthful indiscretions." (Compl. ¶ 64.) These actions rendered the Luzerne County juvenile detention facility overcrowded and inadequate. (Compl. ¶ 68.)

On January 29, 2002, Conahan, as president judge, signed a Placement Guaranty Agreement with PACC that agreed to house juvenile offenders in the PACC facility and provide PACC an annual fee of $1,314,000.00 from Luzerne County. (Compl. ¶¶ 70-71.) By December 2002, Conahan had removed all funding from the publicly-owned facility, functionally closing that facility, and requiring all juveniles to be transferred to other facilities, including PACC. (Compl. ¶ 77.) Due to the success of PACC, Powell and Zappala constructed another juvenile detention center, WPACC, in western Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 80.)

Plaintiffs also allege that Defendant Brulo, who was deputy director of forensic programs at the Luzerne County Juvenile Probation Department ("Juvenile Probation"), and other members of the Juvenile Probation staff actively participated in this scheme by routinely altering their recommendations, at the behest of Conahan and Ciavarella, to state that juvenile offenders should be placed in detention facilities, falsified drug tests, and concocted "bogus" probation violations. (Compl. ¶¶ 83-87.) In return for their cooperation, Brulo and the other members of the Juvenile Probation staff involved in this plan received kickbacks from Conahan and Ciavarella. (Compl. ¶ 86.)

Plaintiffs allege that Powell, Zappala, Mericle, PACC and WPACC paid approximately $2.6 million dollars to Conahan and Ciavarella. (Compl. ¶ 172.) In order to conceal the money received for their participation in this scheme, Conahan and Ciavarella funneled the money, via wire transfer and check, through various shell corporations and bank accounts. (Compl. ¶¶180-211.) One of these corporations, Pinnacle Group of Jupiter, LLC ("Pinnacle"), is alleged to have been owned and operated by Mrs. Conahan and Mrs. Ciavarella, but controlled by Mr. Conahan and Mr. Ciavarella. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-15, 197, 199.) Conahan and Ciavarella also used their positions to assist PACC and WPACC in securing juvenile placement agreements with Luzerne County worth approximately $58 million dollars. (Compl. ¶ 176.) This scheme deprived the citizens of Luzerne County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of their right to the honest services of Conahan and Ciavarella, and constituted wire and wire and mail fraud. (Compl. ¶ 210.)

II. FACTS SPECIFIC TO PLAINTIFFS

In October 2002, Plaintiff Raul Clark was arrested and charged with violation of his town's 10:00 P.M. curfew and possession of drug paraphernalia; at the time of the arrest, Raul was a fourteen-year-old high school freshman. (Compl. ¶¶ 103, 109.) On November 4, 2002, Raul appeared before Ciavarella, at which time Ciavarella falsely stated that Raul was charged with being intoxicated and possession of marijuana. (Compl. ¶¶ 112, 116.) Raul was represented by a public defender at this hearing. (Compl. ¶ 113.) Without providing Raul with an opportunity to enter a plea or explaining that Raul had a right to trial and the consequences of waiving that right, Ciavarella asked Raul if he "did it," before adjudicating Raul delinquent. (Compl. ¶¶ 118-121.) Ciavarella then asked Raul how many birds he saw on the window outside the courtroom; when Raul answered "six," Ciavarella sentenced Raul to six months of custodial detention. (Compl. ¶¶ 122-124.)

Raul spent several weeks in the Luzerne County facility before it closed, at which time Ciavarella transferred Raul to the Lackawanna County juvenile detention facility. (Compl. ¶¶ 131-134.) On December 16, 2002, after spending one week at the Lackawanna County facility, Raul again appeared before then-Judge Ciavarella and was summarily transferred to the Adelphoi Treatment Facility, which was hundreds of miles from Raul's parents' home. (Compl. ¶¶ 137-141.) After six weeks at Adelphoi, Raul was brought before Ciavarella again; Raul was transferred to Clearbrook Lodge, where he spent three (3) months before being released and placed on probation in May 2003. (Compl. ¶¶ 145-157.) Raul was not represented by counsel at any of the hearings regarding his transfer between facilities.

(Compl. ¶¶ 133, 139, 148, 156.)

Thereafter, Raul missed his 8:00 P.M. curfew and was summarily ordered by Ciavarella to spend three (3) days in PACC for violation of his probation. (Compl. ¶¶ 158-159.) In 2004, Raul's probation officer, Officer Bliche, took a urine sample from Raul. (Compl. ¶ 161.) Raul was later advised that he had failed the test and that PCP and methamphetamine had been found in his urine sample; Plaintiffs allege that Raul did not ingest those drugs and that Juvenile Probation switched urine samples and/or falsely reported test findings in order to ensure Raul's detention. (Compl. ¶¶ 163-166.) Defendant Ciavarella sent Raul to PACC for violating his probation by failing the drug test. (Compl. ¶ 165.) Between 2002 and 2005, Plaintiffs Bruce and Iraida Clark, Raul's parents, paid three thousand, eight hundred thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents ($3,837.50) to Luzerne County for Raul's incarceration and probation, including having Mrs. Clark's wages and unemployment benefits garnished. (Compl. ¶¶ 167-168.) Plaintiffs allege that "Raul has suffered great emotional distress and financial harm as a result of the actions of the Defendants." (Compl. ¶ 170.)

On October 27, 2009, Raul's November 4, 2002 disposition was expunged pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9123(a)(3), which provides for expungement of juvenile records if the juvenile has not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or adjudicated delinquent for five (5) years. (Doc. 88, Ex. C.) On October 29, 2009, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted the Third Interim Report and Recommendations of Special Master Judge Arthur E. Grim; the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered that all juvenile adjudications and consent decrees entered by Ciavarella between January 1, 2003 and May 31, 2008 were tainted, and, therefore, would be vacated. (Doc. 88, Ex. D.)

III. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 24, 2009, Plaintiffs filed the instant Complaint. (Doc. 1.) The Complaint asserted causes of action for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating the Plaintiffs' rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution against Mr. Conahan, Mr. Ciavarella, Juvenile Probation, and Ms. Brulo (Count I), violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating the Plaintiffs' rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution against Juvenile Probation (Count II), violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating the Plaintiffs' rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution against Powell, PACC, WPACC, Mericle, Mericle Construction, Inc., Zappala, Pinnacle, Barbara Conahan, Cindy Ciavarella, Beverage Marketing of PA, Inc., Vision Holdings, LLC, Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp. ("MAYS"), and Powell Law Group (Count III), violation of civil RICO provisions against all defendants (Count IV), conspiracy to violate RICO against Conahan, Ciavarella, Powell, Mericle, Mericle Construction, PACC, WPACC, Zappala, Pinnacle, Mrs. Conahan, Mrs. Ciavarella, Beverage, MAYS, Powell Law Group and John Doe Defendants 1-10 (Count V), false imprisonment against all defendants (Count VI), and intentional infliction of emotional distress against all defendants (Count VII).

Defendants Zappala, WPACC, MAYS, and Juvenile Probation were voluntarily dismissed from this action. (Docs. 9, 52.) On May 3, 2010, Pinnacle filed an Answer to Plaintiffs' Complaint. (Doc. 65.) Motions to dismiss were filed by Defendants Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. (Doc. 24), Michael T. Conahan (Doc. 28), Sandra Brulo (Doc. 59), Robert K. Mericle and Mericle Construction, Inc. (Doc. 68), PA Child Care, LLC ("PACC") (Doc. 70), Robert J. Powell and Vision Holdings, LLC (Doc. 72), and Barbara Conahan and Cindy Ciavarella (Doc. 78). These motions have been fully briefed and are currently ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, a plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), meaning enough factual allegations "'to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of'" each necessary element, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring a complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "'give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant [with] the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents when the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached copies of the documents to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. W. Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 & n.13 (3d Cir. 1998), or credit a complaint's "'bald assertions'" or "'legal conclusions,'" Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (quoting In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1429-30 (3d Cir. 1997)). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining if a plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of her claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. A defendant bears the burden of establishing that a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Before delving into the specific motions by various defendants, this Court must first address two jurisdictional concerns that loom over the entirety of this case. Once those issues have been disposed of, the Court will discuss the pending motions.

I. HECK v. HUMPHREY

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a plaintiff cannot bring a cognizable claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if a judgment in favor of the plaintiff "would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence," unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has been invalidated. Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 643 (1997) (quoting Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994)). Thus, this Court must first determine whether Plaintiffs' § 1983 claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of Raul's conviction or sentence, and then determine whether Raul's conviction or sentence has been invalidated.

A. Necessarily Implies Invalidity

As to Plaintiffs' Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, although the precise contours of those claims are unclear at this stage of the proceeding, those claims necessarily will imply the invalidity of the underlying juvenile conviction and sentences. Essentially, Plaintiffs are claiming that Defendants' failure to ensure that Raul was provided with adequate procedural safeguards led to his being wrongfully adjudicated delinquent and then later adjudicated as being in violation of his probation. These procedural defects, if established, would necessarily imply the invalidity of Ciavarella's adjudication of delinquency. See, e.g., Edwards, 520 U.S. at 646-48.

To the extent that Plaintiffs are challenging the conditions of Raul's confinement pursuant to the Eighth Amendment, such as being put in a six-by-six cell or being confined to his cell for twenty-three hours per day (Compl. ¶¶ 130, 136), these claims do not call into question the validity of the underlying juvenile proceedings. Therefore, they do not require a favorable termination to proceed. See Torres v. Fauver, 292 F.3d 141, 149-50 (3d Cir. 2002) (holding that favorable termination rule does not apply where plaintiff challenges conditions, rather than fact or duration, of confinement).

B. Favorable Termination

In this case, there are several instances where Raul was adjudicated delinquent and/or sentenced for violation of probation. First, there was the original hearing in which Raul was adjudicated delinquent on November 4, 2002. This adjudication was ultimately expunged on October 27, 2009, because Raul had gone five (5) years with being convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or adjudication of delinquency, as per Pennsylvania statute. Next, there were the two probation violations that occurred some time after 2003 that resulted in Ciavarella ordering Raul to be detained at PACC. These decisions regarding probation violations were later vacated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court when, on October 29, 2009, it ordered that all juvenile adjudications made by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008 were tainted and should be vacated. As will be discussed below, these different dispositions lead this Court to come to different conclusions regarding favorable termination.

1. October 27, 2009 Expungement

In Gilles v. Davis, 427 F.3d 197, 202 (3d Cir. 2005), the plaintiff, while videotaping his partner's inflammatory preaching on a university campus, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and failure of disorderly persons to disperse; he then entered the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") program, which permits expungement of the criminal record after successful completion of a probationary term. After completing this probationary period and having his record expunged, Plaintiff brought a § 1983 action claiming that the arresting officers and various university administrators had violated his First Amendment rights. Gilles, 427 F.3d at 208-09.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that completion of the ARD program was not a favorable termination under Heck, reasoning that the ARD program is a court-supervised compromise that "imposes several burdens upon the criminal defendant not consistent with innocence," including a probationary period during which a violation of the program's terms may result in prosecution. Id. at 211-212. Therefore, participation in the ARD program barred plaintiff's claim. Id. at 212.

Similarly, expungement of a juvenile's record pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9123(a)(3), is a statutorily created compromise where a juvenile will not be hounded by youthful indiscretions if he or she does not commit any crimes or delinquent acts for five years following final discharge. This is a burden that is not consistent with innocence of the underlying crimes, but rather a "period of observation" to ensure that the juvenile is not a repeat offender and, therefore, should not be eternally haunted by his or her juvenile record. See Gilles, 427 F.3d at 211 (quoting Singleton v. City of New York, 632 F.2d 185, 194 (2d Cir. 1980)). In fact, such expungement does not indicate anything regarding the juvenile's culpability vis a vis the underlying delinquent acts. Therefore, expungement pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9123(a)(3) is not a favorable termination for purposes of Heck. As such, the expungement of the acts relating to Raul's November, 4, 2002 adjudication have not been favorably terminated, and he cannot recover any claims relating to actions taken arising from that hearing.

2. October 29, 2009 Expungement

Defendants argue that Kossler v. Crisanti, 564 F.3d 181 (3d Cir. 2009), stands for the proposition that a favorable termination must be indicative of actual innocence. While it is true that Kossler does stand for this proposition, it is unclear whether Kossler, which very explicitly limited its holding to the facts of that case, applies with equal force to § 1983 claims that are brought under a claim other than malicious prosecution. See Kossler, 564 F.3d at 187, 192. Assuming without deciding that Kossler does require an indication of actual innocence, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals went on to list six (6) ways in which a plaintiff may indicate his innocence: 1) discharge by a magistrate at a preliminary hearing, 2) the refusal of a grand jury to indict, 3) the formal abandonment of the proceedings by the prosecutor, 4) the quashing of an indictment or information, 5) acquittal, or 6) a final order in favor of the accused by a trial or appellate court. Id. at 187-88 (citing Donahue v. Gavin, 280 F.3d 371, 383 (3d Cir. 2002)).

In the instant case, the adjudications of probation violations that occurred after January 1, 2003 were vacated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order of October 29, 2009. Thus, Raul was the beneficiary of a final order in favor of the accused by an appellate court, which is one of the terminations of a criminal proceeding that indicates innocence. As Raul has received a favorable termination of these adjudications, he is not barred by Heck and may bring actions pursuant to § 1983 for any injury arising from the actions taken against him after January 1, 2003.

II. INJURY TO BUSINESS OR PROPERTY

In order to have standing to bring a RICO claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), as Plaintiffs do here, Plaintiffs must plead injury to his business or property and that Defendants proximately caused such injury. Pappa v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, No. 3:07-cv-0708, 2008 WL 744820, at *8 (M.D. Pa. March 18, 2008). A injury "by nature of mental distress" is not sufficient to claim damage to business or property. Id. (citing Zimmerman v. HBO Affiliate Group, 834 F.2d 1163, 1169 (3d Cir. 1987)). The phrase "business or property" has been held by the Supreme Court, in construing the Clayton Act, to exclude personal injury. Id. (citing Reiter v. Sonotone, 442 U.S. 330, 339 (1979)). Mental distress, emotional distress, and harmed reputations do not constitute injury to business or property sufficient to confer standing on a RICO plaintiff. Id. at *8-9; Zimmerman, 834 F.2d at 1169. Furthermore, injury for RICO purposes requires proof of concrete financial loss, not mere injury to an intangible property interest. Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 483 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Steele v. Hospital Corp. of Am., 36 F.3d 69, 70 (9th Cir. 1994)).

While Mr. and Mrs. Clark have sufficiently pled injury to property in the form of the money paid and the wages that were garnished to pay for Raul's incarceration and probation, Plaintiffs have only alleged that Raul suffered "great emotional distress" and "financial harm." Clearly, the emotional harm claim is not sufficient to meet the injury to business or property standard. Furthermore, while "financial harm" may not sufficiently plead business or property injury, Plaintiffs argue in their brief that the injuries Raul is claiming include loss of earning capacity based on education that he missed while in custodial detention. However, this is not the type of concrete monetary lost envisioned by Maio. While a loss of actual employment might be sufficient, allegations of lost earnings and/or decreased earning capacity is not sufficient to support a civil RICO claim. Magnum v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia, No. 06-CV-2589, 2006 WL 3359642, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 17, 2006). Therefore, Raul has not alleged that he has suffered an injury to business or property, and does not have standing to bring a claim pursuant to civil RICO. Thus, Counts IV and V will dismissed as to Raul, but will remain as to Mr. and Mrs. Clark.

III. DEFENDANT CONAHAN

Defendant Conahan moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, claiming that he cannot be sued due to absolute judicial immunity in his role as judge and absolute legislative immunity for his role as a budget-maker while acting as President Judge. This Court shall address each of these arguments below.

A. Judicial Immunity

This Court has previously had the opportunity, now on two occasions, to examine the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity in a very similar factual scenario in Wallace v. Powell, No. 3:09-cv-286, 2009 WL 4051974, at *3-4 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 20, 2009) and Dawn v. Ciavarella, 3:10-cv-0797, 2010 WL 3122858, at *3-5 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 9, 2010). Those cases arose from the same set of circumstances, alleging that Conahan and Ciavarella had denied the juvenile plaintiffs their Constitutional rights as part of the schemeto divert juvenile offenders to the newly constructed PACC and WPACC facilities in return for kickbacks. E.g., Wallace, 2009 WL 4051974, at *1-2. Defendants Conahan and Ciavarella moved to dismiss based on absolute judicial immunity in those cases as well. Id. at *1.

For judicial immunity to apply, only two requirements must be met: 1) jurisdiction over the dispute, and 2) a judicial act. Id. at *7. As to the first, a judge is not immune only when he has acted in the "clear absence of all jurisdiction." Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978) (citation omitted). As to the second prong, judicial immunity extends only to "judicial acts," not administrative, executive, or legislative ones. Id. at 360-61.

"[T]he scope of the judge's jurisdiction must be construed broadly where the issue is the immunity of the judge." Stump, 435 U.S. at 356 (citation omitted). The fact that the judge was incorrect about the status of jurisdiction or that there were procedural errors causing the judge to act without jurisdiction does not satisfy the requirements for defeating immunity. Gallas v. Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 211 F.3d 760, 771 (3d Cir.2000).

In determining whether an act is judicial, "it is appropriate to consider 'the nature of the act itself, i.e., whether it is a function normally performed by a judge,' and 'the expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they dealt with the judge in his official capacity.'" Wallace, 2009 WL 4051974, at *7 (quoting Stump, 435 U.S. at 362). "Acts which are traditionally done by judges include issuing orders, resolving cases and controversies, making rulings, and sentencing criminal defendants. Other actions such as sending a fax, or hiring and firing subordinates, have been found to be administrative, rather than judicial, acts. Note, however, that even if an act is not judicial, there may be still be immunity if the act is legislative or executive in nature." Id.

In Wallace, this Court held that the allegations that Conahan and Ciavarella did not act as impartial judges, failed to advise juveniles of their right to counsel, and failed to determine whether guilty pleas were knowing and voluntary, while "egregious, unjustifiable judicial behavior," did not "make out a case for the absence of jurisdiction." Wallace, 2009 WL 4051974, at *7. Thus, as to their courtroom behavior, both Conahan and Ciavarella were held to have jurisdiction.

In this case, Plaintiff alleges that Conahan ordered various juveniles to be placed in the new juvenile facilities as part of a scheme to ensure that the facilities were lucrative. (See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 58.) As to this type of courtroom behavior, Conahan clearly had jurisdiction.

However, many of the actions allegedly taken by Conahan were not judicial acts that would confer absolute judicial immunity. To the extent that Plaintiff makes allegations regarding Conahan's disposition of other juvenile cases before him in his role as judge, those are judicial acts and Conahan has immunity. However, the vast majority of activity alleged against Conahan was taken outside his role as judicial officer. In fact, most of the allegations against Conahan, as they relate to Raul specifically, were taken outside of the court room. The agreements entered into by Conahan with Mericle, Ciavarella and Powell, any budget decisions made by Conahan as President Judge, or any of advocacy for building WPACC and PACC are non-judicial acts that are not subject to absolute judicial immunity. See Wallace, 2009 WL 4051974, at *8 (delineating judicial and non-judicial acts taken by Conahan). Therefore, Conahan's motion to dismiss is granted regarding any actions he may have taken in delinquency determinations of other minors in furtherance of the conspiracy and other judicial acts. However, the remaining claims against Conahan fall outside of the realm of judicial acts and he cannot be shielded by judicial immunity for these actions. The motion will be denied as to these actions.

B. Legislative Immunity

Conahan also argues that he is subject to legislative immunity for all budgetary actions he took in his role as President Judge. This Court was presented with a similar argument by Conahan ...


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