Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roger Snyder v. Daniel Bender

February 20, 2013

ROGER SNYDER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DANIEL BENDER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

Roger Snyder brought this lawsuit against local township officials Ralph Horne, Nicholas Viscome, Charles Tupper, and Jeffrey Templin, Sr.; state ethics officials Daniel Bender, Robert Caruso, and John Contino; and private citizen Keith Murphy (collectively, Defendants). Defendants filed three separate motions for summary judgment, which were referred to Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson for a report and recommendation. Judge Carlson's forty-eight page report recommends that Defendants' motions for summary judgment be granted. Snyder filed the objections presently before me. For the following reasons, I will overrule Snyder's objections, approve and adopt the well-reasoned report and recommendation, and grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

Briefly summarized,*fn1 this case arises out of Snyder's 2007 re-election campaign to a seat on the West Donegal Township Board of Supervisors. The primary election was held in May 2007. In connection with that election, Snyder asked a township employee to copy campaign material using township equipment. Snyder claims that he paid all copying costs and that the township employee performed the service voluntarily and with permission from her supervisors.

In July 2007, Defendant Horne, who was at the time a private citizen,*fn2 filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission regarding Snyder's allegedly improper use of township employees and equipment during the May 2007 primary campaign. In August 2007, Charles Kraus, who was at the time chief of the Northwest Regional Police, filed a similar complaint. Defendant Horne claims he never discussed his complaint with Kraus.

On October 31, 2007, five days before the general election, Snyder again asked a township employee to copy campaign literature. Defendant Tupper, also a township supervisor, was alerted to the activity and contacted Kraus. Local media arrived at the township building, and Snyder was quoted acknowledging that he asked a township employee to make the copies.

On Election Day, someone was found to be distributing on Defendant Murphy's behalf a yellow campaign flier bearing the headline "State Ethics Commission Investigates Roger Snyder" and detailing the charges against Snyder. Defendant Murphy is a private citizen who was at the time also campaigning for a seat on the board of supervisors. Although Snyder found the flier to be underhanded and to violate what he understood to be confidentiality provisions of the State Ethics Act, he conceded that it contained truthful information. Defendant Murphy testified that he did not distribute the flier on Election Day, and he does not know who prepared the flier or caused it to be distributed.

Despite all this, Snyder was re-elected as a township supervisor. Moreover, the State Ethics Commission cleared Snyder of wrongdoing in early 2008. He nevertheless contends that Defendants conspired against him to violate his First Amendment right to run for political office and that his standing in the community has been damaged as a result.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"To obtain de novo determination of a magistrate's findings by a district court, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) requires both timely and specific objections to the report." Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6 (3d Cir. 1984); see also Brown v. Astrue, 649 F.3d 193, 195 (3d Cir. 2011). A district court need not conduct a de novo review where objections are merely "general in nature." Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. In those instances, a district court need only "give some reasoned consideration to the magistrate's report," Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987), and satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) advisory committee's note.

III. DISCUSSION

A. The Magistrate Judge's Review of the Evidence

The "core of any and every other objection" is Snyder's claim that the magistrate judge failed to consider 1,500 pages of exhibits. Doc. No. 156 at 12. Snyder's claim does not warrant extended comment here, namely because this court and the Third Circuit already addressed the issue.

Snyder first argued that the magistrate judge failed to consider 1,500 pages of exhibits in his motion to reconsider and vacate the report and recommendation. Doc. No. 148. In denying that motion, I explained that "[t]he plaintiff may reference the exhibits that he believes support his objections to the report and recommendation if he chooses to file objections with the Court." Doc. No. 150, ¶ 1. Snyder next filed a motion to stay, raising the same claim. Doc. No. 151. I denied that motion as well, noting that "[i]f the plaintiff believes that the Magistrate Judge failed to reference an exhibit that rebuts the defendants' motions for summary judgment, the plaintiff may reference and cite that exhibit in his objections to the Report and Recommendation. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, I shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which an objection is made." Doc. No. 152, n.1. Finally, Snyder filed a motion for reconsideration of my Order denying his motion to stay. Doc. No. 153. In denying Snyder's motion for reconsideration, I again indicated that "[i]f plaintiff believes that an exhibit was not referenced but should ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.