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Zaimes v. Cammerino

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 5, 2013

DIMITRI ZAIMES, Plaintiff
v.
JEFFREY CAMMERINO, R. ANTHONY WALDRON III, TODD J KLIKUS, RICHARD KROTCHA, FRED GELDERMAN, BRIAN I STUART, RICHARD B. TUSSELL, LACKAWAXEN TOWNSHIP, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

MALACHY E. MANNION[1], District Judge.

Presently before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of defendants Jeffrey Cammerino, Todd J. Klikus, Richard Krotcha, Fred Gelderman, Brian I. Stuart, Richard B. Tussell, and Lackawaxen Township, (Doc. No. 24), and a motion for summary judgment on behalf of defendant R. Anthony Waldron III, (Doc. No. 33). In light of the same basic fact pattern and allegations against all the defendants, the court will analyze the motions in one Memorandum and Order. Based upon the court's review of the motions and the materials related thereto, the motions for summary judgment will be GRANTED.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 10, 2009, plaintiff filed his Complaint in which he generally alleges Constitutional violations under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments for the alleged taking and seizure of his property. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff also alleges that defendants engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of his property. Id . Plaintiff seeks pain and suffering and punitive damages. (Doc. No. 1). On April 1, 2010, after the defendants filed motions to dismiss all claims, this court entered an Order dismissing the Fourth and Fifth Amendment claims, leaving only his claims for deprivation of substantive due process and civil §1983 conspiracy.

On June 26, 2012, defendants Cammerino et al. filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 24), with an accompanying statement of facts, (Doc. No. 25). On June 31, 2012, defendants Cammerino et al. filed the brief in support of the motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 36). Also on June 31, 2012, defendant Waldron filed his own motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 33), supporting brief, (Doc. No. 34), and statement of facts, (Doc. No. 35). On September 14, 2012, the plaintiff filed his answers to the defendants' statements of facts (Doc. Nos. 41, 42) and a brief in opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 45). On September 24, 2012, defendant Waldron filed a reply brief, (Doc. No. 47), and on September 27, 2012, defendants Cammerino et al. filed a reply brief, (Doc. No. 48).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The plaintiff is the owner of property known as "Two River Junction" in Lackawaxen Township, Pike County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶11). The property was destroyed by a fire on June 2, 2006, while it served as a retail establishment with basement living quarters. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶12, ¶13). In November 2006, the plaintiff was granted a Conditional Use Permit by Lackawaxen Township to restore the property to its original uses, albeit with an added second floor to serve as an office and living quarters. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶14).

The plaintiff, however, sought to revise his construction plans to create a separate living space for his father, as well as additional living space for a full-time live-in caregiver. (Id. at ¶19). The plaintiff reviewed these plans with building inspector Lee Hummel, who essentially said that since the plaintiff was approved for residential use, it should be fine to have his father live on the second floor. (Id. at ¶21; Doc. No. 33, Ex. A at 34). Mr. Hummel never gave anything to the plaintiff in writing that indicated he could deviate from the approved plans. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A at 41). During this time, the plaintiff installed extra plumbing and electrical work on the second floor, an action which was not specifically approved by the township. (Id. at 55).

Needing extra revenue, the plaintiff then decided that he wanted to use the second floor of his property as a bed and breakfast. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶20). The plaintiff submitted a conditional use application outlining his bed and breakfast plans, and the application was denied on June 19, 2007. (Id. at ¶22).

On October 9, 2007, the plaintiff received a Notice of Zoning Violation, issued by defendants Waldron and Cammerino, alleging that the plaintiff was violating a Lackawaxen Township Zoning Ordinance for constructing the second floor to be used as a bed and breakfast. (Id. at ¶23). This Notice demanded that all the partitions installed on the second floor, including plumbing and electrical fixtures, be removed within thirty (30) days. (Id. at ¶24). Shortly after, on November 15, 2007, the plaintiff received a Stop Work Order issued by defendant Waldron. (Id. at ¶25). The plaintiff appealed the Notice and disputed the validity of the Order. (Id. at ¶¶26-27; Doc. No. 41 at 5). An appeal hearing for the Notice was scheduled for December 13, 2007. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶26). This hearing was continued so that the parties could attempt to reach an agreement. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-2 at 57). During this time, the plaintiff had a "sense" that he was being conspired against by the defendants. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-1 at 112).

Beginning on December 11, 2007, the plaintiff's counsel and defendant Waldron exchanged a series of letters and telephone conversations attempting to resolve the issues with the property. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-2). On January 23, 2008, in a letter from the plaintiff's counsel to defendant Waldron, it became clear that there was a lack of agreement over whether a permit was required to install a deck on the building. (Doc. No. 33 Ex. A-2 at 46). In letters exchanged on January 30, 2008 and January 31, 2008, it was further revealed that the plaintiff's attorney and defendant Waldron had different interpretations of a phone conversation, the result of which caused the plaintiff to forfeit his right to a timely hearing concerning the property. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-2 at 50-54). On February 15, 2008, defendant Waldron indicated that he planned to reschedule the hearings for early March and he also stated that he planned to file a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County if the plaintiff did not stop construction. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-2 at 54).

While it is unclear if the plaintiff stopped construction, defendant Waldron filed a complaint seeking a preliminary injunction against further construction in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County on February 21, 2008. (Id. at 56). Ultimately, as outlined in a March 19, 2008 letter from defendant Waldron, the complaint and preliminary injunction were withdrawn as part of a stipulated agreement. (Id. at 95). This agreement provided in relevant part that the Stop Work Orders would be lifted if the plaintiff agreed to submit revised building plans to address the previous violations. (Id.) Particularly, the plaintiff was not able to install a rear deck as part of the agreement. (Doc. No. 41 at 15). During this entire process, the plaintiff allegedly suffered from stress due to his financial and living situation. (Doc. No. 33, Ex. A-1 at 120). The plaintiff never sought medical attention and only used "Yuengling and scotch" as his medication. (Id.)

On December 9, 2008, however, defendant Waldron filed another Notice of Violation when he believed that the plaintiff had constructed a second apartment on the second floor of the building. (Id. at 99). Defendant Waldron believed this because the plaintiff had ...


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