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Donn Jean v. Joseph P. Gerardi

May 8, 2012

DONN JEAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOSEPH P. GERARDI, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

Presently pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendant Joseph P. Gerardi. (Doc. 29). The Motion has been fully briefed (Docs. 30, 32, 34) and is thus ripe for disposition. For the reasons fully articulated herein, we will grant the Defendant's Motion and enter judgment as a matter of law in favor of the Defendant.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Donn Jean ("Plaintiff")*fn1 commenced the above-captioned action by filing a Complaint against Defendant Joseph P. Gerardi ("Defendant") and Defendant City of Williamsport ("City") on July 28, 2010. (Doc. 1). The collective Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) on November 1, 2010, and on March 18, 2011, this Court issued an Order (Doc. 12) dismissing Plaintiff's substantive due process claim and state law claims for replevin and conversion with prejudice, and dismissing without prejudice Plaintiff's Monell claim against the City. (Id.). Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) on March 31, 2011, and the Defendants again moved to dismiss the Plaintiff's Monell claim. (Doc. 14). On July 27, 2011, this Court issued an Order (Doc. 23) granting the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and dismissing the City as a Defendant.

Following a period of discovery, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on March 28, 2012. (Doc. 29). The Motion has been fully briefed and is thus ripe for the Court's review. (Docs. 30, 32, 34).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

In opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rely merely on allegations of denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must . . . set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). The non-moving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations, but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial." Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985). However, the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non- moving party. P.N. v. Clementon Bd. of Educ.,442 F.3d 848, 852 (3d Cir. 2006).

Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a fact finder could draw therefrom. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; there must be a genuine issue of material fact to preclude summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

III. STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS

The facts relevant to our analysis of this Motion are straightforward and largely undisputed between the parties. In accordance with the standard of review applicable to a motion for summary judgment, all facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom are viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff as the nonmoving party.

Plaintiff Donn Jean ("Plaintiff") is and has been the owner of a four-unit apartment structure located at 1425-1427 Park Avenue in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, since approximately 2000. (Doc. 31, ¶ 1).*fn2 Defendant Joseph Gerardi ("Defendant") is the Codes Administrator for the City of Williamsport's Bureau of Codes and has held this position for approximately three and one-half years. (Id. ¶ 2).

Plaintiff resided at the Park Avenue rental property from approximately 2000 until he moved to 1351 Pennsylvania Avenue in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in late 2008. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16). Upon moving, Plaintiff received a change of address form and completed it, returning it to his mail carrier in November of 2008. (Id. ¶¶ 17-20). Consistent with its policies for forwarding mail, Plaintiff's mail was forwarded from the Park Avenue address to his Pennsylvania Avenue address for one year following his move. (Id. ¶¶ 21-23, 25-26). Plaintiff never had any problems receiving mail at his new address, received all mail that he expected to receive, and never had any problems with stolen or misplaced mail. (Id. ¶¶ 27-31). Plaintiff never complained to ...


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