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Marin v. Fragel

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 19, 2014

MEL M. MARIN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH FRAGEL, SHARON CITY COUNCIL as Officials, and Councilmen MIKE DONATO, VICTOR S. HEUTSCHE, ROBERT MESSINA, DARIN D. FLOWER, FRANK P. CONNELLY, as Individuals, and MERCER COUNTY, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DAVID STEWART CERCONE, District Judge.

Mel M. Marin ("plaintiff") filed a complaint in this Court on October 1, 2009, and an amended complaint on September 13, 2010, seeking redress for purported national origin discrimination in conjunction with plaintiff's alleged proposal to purchase condemned real estate in and from the City of Sharon, Pennsylvania, for $10.00.[1] Plaintiff's amended complaint advances an elaborate conspiratorial scheme that centers around a purported effort by Joseph Fragel, "the head of the Sharon Office [of] Community Development, " to thwart plaintiff's proposal because of plaintiff's national origin: Serbian. Complaint at ¶¶ 1-14; Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 1-28. The litigation has been protracted, with plaintiff filing numerous interlocutory appeals.

On March 31, 2014, an order was entered lifting a stay that had been entered on March 17, 2011, following defendant Fragel's filing a petition in Bankruptcy. See Doc. No.s 106, 116.[2] The March 31, 2014, order lifting the stay also re-instated the Case Management Order of September 13, 2010, with amended pretrial deadlines for the submission of pretrial narrative statements and dispositive motions.

Presently before the court are defendants' motions for summary judgment, which were filed on June 26, 2014. Plaintiff had 30 days to respond to those motions. See Section B of [52] the Case management Order of September 13, 2010. Plaintiff has to date failed to file any response to those motions and accompanying concise statement of material facts and briefs in support.

The standards governing summary judgment are well-settled. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment may be granted if, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Summary judgment may be granted against a party who fails to adduce facts sufficient to establish the existence of any element essential to that party's claim, and upon which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of identifying evidence which demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. When the movant does not bear the burden of proof on the claim, the movant's initial burden may be met by demonstrating the lack of record evidence to support the opponent's claim. National State Bank v. National Reserve Bank, 979 F.2d 1579, 1582 (3d Cir. 1992). Once that burden has been met, the non-moving party must set forth "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial, " or the factual record will be taken as presented by the moving party and judgment will be entered as a matter of law. Matsushita Electric Industrial Corp. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (a), (e)) (emphasis in Matsushita ). An issue is genuine only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986).

Defendants' motions and supporting submissions satisfy their initial burden of demonstrating the lack of record evidence to support plaintiff's asserted causes of action. Plaintiff has failed to controvert defendants' concise statement of material facts as required under Local Rule 56C and the Case Management Order of September 13, 2010. Thus, defendants' concise statement of facts are deemed admitted under Local Rule 56E. They also are deemed admitted as a matter of law pursuant to Matsushita Electric Industrial Corp. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). Consequently, the record must be taken as presented by defendants and judgment as a matter of law will be entered in their favor.[3]

For the reasons set forth above, defendants' pending motions for summary judgment will be granted. Appropriate orders will follow.


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