United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
Nora Barry Fischer Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Maureen P. Kelly U.S. Magistrate Judge
It is respectfully recommended that the Complaint be dismissed before being served pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
David Morris Barren (“Plaintiff”) is currently a federal prisoner who seeks to sue a number of individuals, who were involved either in the search of his hotel and car which occurred in March 2003 or who were involved in the forfeiture of property seized in those searches. Plaintiff also names as defendants, the governmental units who employed the individual defendants. The state court forfeiture proceedings, which divested Plaintiff of some of the seized property, also occurred in March 2003. Plaintiff asserts that his constitutional rights were violated by the searches and seizures and by the state court forfeiture proceedings.
The instant civil rights Complaint should be dismissed for several reasons, including that: 1) the claims are time barred, given that Plaintiff’s cause of action accrued in March 2003 and he did not file the present action until May of 2014; 2) the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars this Court from reviewing what transpired in the state court forfeiture proceedings and from holding that those state court forfeiture proceedings violated Plaintiff’s rights; and 3) the doctrines of judicial immunity, prosecutorial immunity and testimonial immunity bar Plaintiff’s claims against some of the individual defendants.
A. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed his Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, ECF No. 1, which was granted. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff’s Complaint was filed. ECF No. 3. The Complaint primarily concerns incidents that occurred in March, 2003.
Specifically, Plaintiff complains that Sergeant Randy Lamb, Officer Albert Stanonik, Agent Fran Speranza, Agent Rick Bosco, and Detective Charles Knox searched his hotel rooms on March 4, 2003 and illegally seized him and seized items of property belonging to him. Id., ¶ 13. After the initial search and seizure, Plaintiff complains that Sergeant Lamb, Officer David Brokaw and other officers again illegally searched his hotel rooms. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff also asserts that his car, which was apparently parked at the hotel, was seized on March 4, 2003. When Sergeant Lamb and Officer Brokaw searched Plaintiff’s car, they discovered a gun in the vehicle. Id. ¶ 30.
Plaintiff also complains that on March 12, 2003, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, represented by defendant, Assistant District Attorney Thomas T. Swan, caused to be forfeited $62, 055.00, in addition to a money counter and a heat sealer which were seized from Plaintiff’s hotel rooms on March 4, 2003. Id., ¶ 33. Plaintiff further complains that the order of forfeiture was signed by Judge Robert Colville. Plaintiff alleges that on March 13, 2003, an amended order of forfeiture was entered by Judge Colville which amended the amount forfeited from $62, 055.00 to $62, 105.00. Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff asserts that the first order of court is missing Plaintiff’s signature or the signature of any consenting party. Id. ¶ 37. Plaintiff asserts that he was unaware of both the forfeiture proceedings held on March 12, 2003, and the amending of the order that occurred on March 13, 2003. Id. ¶ 39. Plaintiff asserts that he was not present in court on either March 12, or 13, 2003 for the forfeiture proceedings. Plaintiff concludes that clearly “there was no written, or oral motion/petition filed in this forfeiture matter. And, the Order of Court from March 12, 2003, does not express any Pennsylvania Statute or Law upon which the forfeiture rests.” Id. ¶ 44.
Plaintiff alleges that the foregoing demonstrates violations of his Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, in addition to demonstrating that his due process rights were violated through abuse of process and breach of fiduciary duty. Id. at 11 & 12.
By way of relief, Plaintiff “prays for judgment in his favor and requests an injunction against Defendant-Robert Colville’s orders rendering them a nullity, and void.” Id. ¶ 55. In addition, Plaintiff ...