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.

Maier v. Lehman

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 16, 2014

MICHAEL MAIER, Plaintiff,
v.
POLICE OFFICER JOHN A. LEHMAN, et al., Defendant.

OPINION

JOEL H. SLOMSKY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pro se Plaintiff Michael Maier[1] brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on events arising out of a traffic stop by Police Officer John Lehnen on July 3, 2013. Plaintiff also brings claims based on confinement she experienced at the Lehigh County Prison.

Plaintiff initiated this action by filing an application to proceed in forma pauperis on November 14, 2013. (Doc. No. 1.) After the Court initially denied her application (Doc. No. 2), the Court reconsidered and granted it on January 8, 2014. (Doc. No. 4.) On March 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed her Complaint against The Honorable Maggie Snow, Officer Lehnen, [2] Lehigh County Prison, [3] Dr. Ken Wloczewski-the head of the medical department at Lehigh County Prison, PrimeCare Medical, Inc. ("PrimeCare Medical"), [4] and the Pennsylvania Department of Driver Licensing. (Doc. No. 6.)

On July 16, 2013, Defendants PrimeCare Medical and Dr. Ken Wloczewski filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. No. 20.) On August 13, 2014, Defendant Officer Lehnen also filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 25.) On October 2, 2014, Plaintiff responded to both Motions to Dismiss. (Doc. Nos. 27, 28.) For reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On July 3, 2013, Plaintiff was driving her personal freightliner truck through Pennsylvania when she was pulled over by Defendant Officer Lehnen. (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 9.) Officer Lehnen pulled her over because her "DOT numbers"[5] did not match-a fact Plaintiff admits in her Response to Defendant Lehnen's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 9; Doc. No. 27 at 1.) Officer Lehnen asked to see Plaintiff's medical card.[6] (Id.) Plaintiff explained to him that she was not required to carry one. (Id.) Nevertheless, Officer Lehnen issued Plaintiff a written warning for failing to carry a medical card and also for failing to carry an insurance card. (Doc. No. 25, Ex. A.) The warning required Plaintiff to produce the medical card and proof of insurance within ten days. (Id.)

After Officer Lehnen issued the warning, he discovered that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Plaintiff in Lancaster County. He then arrested Plaintiff at the scene of the stop based on the outstanding warrant. (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 11.) Plaintiff submits that Officer Lehnen did not read Plaintiff her Miranda Rights during the course of the arrest. (Id.) Apparently, she was released on bail, although the filings are silent on this point.

Ten days passed following the issuance of the warnings by Officer Lehnen, and Plaintiff did not produce the medical card or proof of insurance. As a result, Officer Lehnen issued to Plaintiff two traffic citations on July 24, 2013. (Doc. No. 25, Ex. B.) The citations included a summons which notified Plaintiff she had ten days to respond. (Doc. No. 6, Ex. B.) The summons described the ways to respond as follows:

1. PLEAD NOT GUILTY by notifying the magisterial district judge above in writing and forwarding an amount equal to the total due specified above plus $8.00 if the offense charged is a motor vehicle offense as required by statute; or if the fine and costs are specified, forward the sum of $50.00 as collateral for your appearance at trial; OR,
2. PLEAD NOT GUILTY by appearing before the magisterial district judge above and posting such collateral for your appearance as the magisterial district judge shall require; OR,
3. If you cannot afford to pay the total due specified above or the $50.00 collateral, you must appear before the magisterial district judge above to enter a plea; OR,
4. PLEAD GUILTY by notifying the magisterial district judge above in writing, signing the appropriate plea under the MAIL IN PLEA section, and forwarding an amount equal to the total due specified above; OR
5. PLEAD GUILTY by appearing before the magisterial district judge above if the total due is not specified, or if you are required to appear because the offense with which you are charged carries a mandatory sentence of imprisonment, for example, violation of 75 Pa.C.S. Section 1543(b) (Driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked)

(Doc. No. 6, Ex. B.)

Plaintiff did not plead guilty or not guilty and pay the fine, nor did she appear in court as required. After failing to respond to the summons or appear in court, her license was suspended. (Doc. No. 25, Ex. C.) Plaintiff thereafter responded to the citation by pleading not guilty, and the suspension was removed. (Id.) A trial was scheduled and Plaintiff again failed to appear. (Id.) As a result, the court in her absence found Plaintiff guilty and imposed a fine on April 10, 2014. (Id.) When Plaintiff did not pay the fine, her license was suspended on May 17, 2014. (Id.)

In her Complaint, Plaintiff next describes her confinement at the Lehigh County Prison on October 8 and 9, 2013. (Doc. No. 6 at ¶¶ 9, 13.) It is unclear from the Complaint whether this detention was related to Officer Lehnen's arrest of Plaintiff in July 2013. Plaintiff states that while she was detained at Lehigh County Prison, she was not given her hormone medication or access to a daily orificial dilation treatment. (Id. at ¶¶ 13, 19.) Plaintiff requires these maintenance treatments as a post-operative male-to-female transsexual. (Id.; Doc. No. 6, Ex. C.) Plaintiff alleges that she told unnamed staff members at Lehigh County Prison of her medical needs, but she was not accommodated. (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 13.) Because she was not given her medication, Plaintiff contends that she "[l]anguish[ed] all day and thru [sic] the next morning." (Id. at ¶ 13.) She also suffered from dizziness and nausea and ultimately vomited while being transported out of the prison. (Id.)

Following the above events, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court on March 21, 2014. (Doc. No. 6.) Plaintiff's claims are difficult to decipher but appear to arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They include: (1) a violation of Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights committed by Officer Lehnen for issuing her a ticket and causing her license to be suspended for failing to carry a medical card when she was not required to do so (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 17); (2) a violation of Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment rights by Officer Lehnen for failing to read Plaintiff her Miranda Rights when she was arrested (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 11); (3) a violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights by Dr. Wloczewski and PrimeCare Medical for failing to provide Plaintiff with her medication while she was detained at Lehigh County Prison (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 13); (4) a violation of Plaintiff's Due Process rights by the Honorable Maggie Snow for "enforcing a wrongfully issued ticket" (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 12); (5) extortion by the Honorable Maggie Snow for taking money from Plaintiff (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 18); and (6) financial and emotional hardship caused by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for wrongfully suspending Plaintiff's driver's license (Doc. No. 6 at ¶ 15).

In an Order dated March 26, 2014, the Court dismissed the claims against Judge Snow who is cloaked with judicial immunity. (Doc. No. 7.) In the same Order, the Court dismissed the claims against the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation because it is an arm of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is therefore entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity from Plaintiff's claims. (Id.) The claims that remain are the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Officer Lehnen, and the Eighth Amendment Claim against ...


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.