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Cutler v. Green

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 10, 2017

JEFFREY CUTLER
v.
AMBER GREEN, et al.

          MEMORANDUM

          O'NEILL, J.

         Now before me in this case are motions to dismiss by defendants Ralph Hutchinson, Dkt. No. 14, the Honorable Margaret Miller, Dkt. No. 19, and Amber Green and Christina Hausner. Dkt. No. 34. Also before me are three motions by plaintiff Jeffrey Cutler, [1] who is proceeding pro se, [2] seeking to “combine cases” and “summary judgment.” Dkt. No. 21, Dkt. No. 32, and Dkt. No. 35. Hutchinson has filed responses in opposition to plaintiff's motions for summary judgment and to combine cases, Dkt. No. 24 and Dkt. No. 33, as have Judge Miller, Dkt. No. 28 and defendants Christina Hausner and Amber Green. Dkt. No. 30, Dkt. No. 36. Mr. Cutler has also filed a document which he calls a “response to Judge's order of 10Mar2017 and Summary Judgment, ” Dkt. No. 22, a document which he calls an “addendum to response to Judge's Order of 10Apr2017 and summary judgment, ” Dkt. No. 29, and a “response to opposition to motion for summary judgment.” Dkt. No. 31. Finally, on June 15, 2017, Mr. Cutler filed yet another motion to combine cases which also seeks a default judgment. Dkt. No. 37. No defendant has filed a response to this motion.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Mr. Cutler's motions, grant defendants' motions and dismiss Mr. Cutler's claims.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Cutler's complaint, amended complaint and his subsequent filings are not a model of clarity.[3] In his amended complaint, Mr. Cutler, who identifies himself as the “East Lampeter Township Elected Tax Collector, ” seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against defendants Amber Green, Ralph Hutchinson, Judge Margaret Miller, Christina Hausner, Ron Martin, a local news station (WGAL) and selected unidentified Pennsylvania public officials. See Dkt. No. 2. He alleges that there is a conspiracy to remove him from his elected position as a tax collector in East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania, see Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 1, and invokes the protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 6, along with the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 18 U.S.C. § 1346. Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 7. Plaintiff also argues that the “only way to remove an elected official is specified in Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.” Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 6-7.

         Mr. Cutler alleges that “as the legally elected Tax Collector of East Lampeter Township[, he] collects real estate taxes for the municipality and deputized the Conestoga Valley School System (CV) to collect the school taxes, for residents of East Lampeter Township . . . .” Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 4. His amended complaint makes reference to “[a] lawsuit in [m]andamus filed by East Lampeter Township.” Id. The action in question, a mandamus action filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Lancaster County on June 19, 2015, sought “to have Cutler comply with local tax collection law 72 P.S. Sec §5511.1 et seq[.] . . . .” Dkt. No. 14-2 at ECF p. 2, citing Dkt. No. 14-1 (Hutchinson Ex. A (Mandamus Compl.)).[4] More specifically, the action sought to have Mr. Cutler establish a physical office, appoint a deputy tax collector, comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements and provide documentation to the township. Dkt. No. 19 at ECF p. 5, citing Dkt. No. 19-1 (Miller Ex. A (Mandamus Compl.)).

         In this action, Mr. Cutler's complaints against defendants are numerous. He alleges that there is a conspiracy to impeach him as tax collector without due process “because he is Jewish.” Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 3 (emphasis omitted). Mr. Cutler claims that “[b]oth East Lampeter Township and Lancaster County have filed fraudulent Municipal Liens against” him and that they “have willfully denied full compensation of postage and printing during Mr. Cutler's entire term since January 2014.” Id. at ECF p. 2. He contends that on February 10, 2016, “the office of the Lancaster County Treasurer (Amber Green) refused to accept funds from the Tax Collector of East Lampeter Township, in clear violation of her oath of office and Pennsylvania law.” Id. at ECF p. 2-3 (capitalization omitted).

         Mr. Cutler also contends that defendant Hutchinson “ordered the suspension of access to DEVNET by Jeffrey Cutler[, ] obstructing him from doing his legally elected position . . . without due process or court order.” Id. at ECF p. 3 (emphasis and capitalization omitted). He alleges that without access to DEVNET, “he cannot access information about official information of previous payments of taxes and issue copies of official receipts so taxpayers can get rebates for their real estate payments.” Id. at ECF p. 7. Mr. Cutler contends that he “had reported validation flaws of the DEVNET system to the office of the Auditor General, and thus qualifies under the whistleblower provisions of federal law and Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, 43 Pa. C. S. §§ 1421-1428.” Dkt No. 2 at ECF p. 3.

         Mr. Cutler alleges that “[u]nknown female individuals from the office of the Treasurer, intimidated [his] deputy Tax Collector to resign on February 7, 2017. Id. at ECF p. 7. He alleges that on February 15, 2017, “the office of the Lancaster County Treasurer was emailed a request asking if someone in that office would perform the duties of the deputy Tax Collector.” Id. He also alleges that “[b]ased on a newspaper advertisement the East Lampeter Supervisors tried to designate the Lancaster County Office of Treasurer to collect real estate taxes for 2017 . . . .” Id.

         Mr. Cutler complains about the actions undertaken by Judge Margaret Miller in the mandamus action. Id. at ECF p. 1-2. He contends that, after a secret hearing” on March 7, 2017, id. at ECF p. 1 (emphasis in original), Judge Miller “ma[d]e a ruling outside of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court . . . even though she heard Mr. Cutler state that the case was now in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court . . . .” Id. at ECF p. 2. He alleges that “[o]n March 8, 2017 the Lancaster County Commissioners held a meeting to authorize the solicitor of Lancaster County to intervene in” the mandamus action. Id. at ECF p. 1-2.

         On March 10, 2017, East Lampeter Township filed a petition in the Lancaster County matter seeking a special injunction and to supplement the record. Dkt. No. 14-2 at ECF p. 2-3, citing Dkt. No. 14-1 at ECF p. 43 (Hutchinson Ex. B). Judge Miller held a hearing on the petition at which Mr. Cutler was present on March 17, 2017. Dkt. No. 14-1 at ECF p. 74 (Hutchinson Ex. H, transcript of March 17, 2017 hearing). After the hearing, Judge Miller entered an Order which, inter alia, required Fulton Bank to “continue to freeze Defendant Jeffrey Cutler's Tax Collector Account, ” enjoined Mr. Cutler “from performing any duties as Tax Collector for East Lampeter Township, ” and required Mr. Cutler to “deliver all books and records associated with his tax collection duties to the Lancaster County Controller within ten (10) days of the date of th[e] Order.” Dkt. No. 3 at ECF p. 31-32.

         In his amended complaint, Mr. Cutler asks this Court to, inter alia, “Order Judge Miller . . . to Cease and Desist any effort to rule on case Cl-15-0524 and disclose all conversations, meeting minutes and parties involved in trying to circumvent the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and violate Mr. Cutler's civil rights.” Dkt. No. 2 at ECF p. 9. He also contends that Judge Miller had no legal authority to enter an order allowing his counsel to stop representing him and asks this Court to order Judge Miller to vacate that order. Id.

         Mr. Cutler also asks the Court to

[r]einstate Mr. Cutler's access to the Devnet system and penalize Lancaster County/Amber Green a One Million Dollar per day penalty until access is granted, just like the other Tax Collectors of Lancaster County, or conversely designate someone in the office to assist with these duties until the case is settled in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Id. He asks the court to “[o]rder Lancaster County/Amber green to reveal any willful effort to delete records entered by Mr. Cutler in the DEVNET system and all meetings and conversations with anyone in support of this effort.” Id. at ECF p. 10. He also asks the Court to “[o]rder all parties in this case to swear they have no knowledge of any Anti-Jewish activity that occurred in Pennsylvania after Mr. Cutler's case was docketed for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.” Id. at ECF p. 9.

         On March 22, 2017, this Court denied plaintiff's “emergency motion to vacate order and summary judgment.” See Dkt. Nos. 4 and 5. The Court explained that, “[t]o the extent that plaintiff s motion asks me to undo certain decisions of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas in the case brought against him by East Lampeter Township, I must abstain under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) . . . .” Dkt. No. 5 at ECF p. 3.

         Thereafter, on April 6, 2017, Ralph Hutchinson filed his motion to dismiss Mr. Cutler's complaint, Dkt. No. 14, and on April 10, the Honorable Margaret Miller also filed her motion to dismiss. Dkt. No. 19. Also on April 10, 2017, the Court denied plaintiff's March 27, 2017 motion “for reconsideration of the emergency motion to vacate order and summary judgment for extr[a]ordinary circumstances” [sic], Dkt. No. 7, and, to the extent that it could also be construed as a motion, the “addendum” that Mr. Cutler filed on April 3, 2017, Dkt. No. 8. In denying Mr. Cutler's motion for reconsideration, the Court explained that Mr. Cutler gave the Court “no reason to reconsider my previous determination that all three Younger elements are met, I must abstain and therefore cannot grant plaintiff the relief he seeks in his emergency motion.” Dkt. No. 20 at ECF p. 2 (internal quotation omitted).

         On April 20, 2017, Mr. Cutler filed his first motion seeking to combine cases and also seeking summary judgment (although discovery has yet to be conducted in this matter). Dkt. No. 21. The caption of plaintiff's April 20 filing references the criminal matter United States v. Rufus Seth Williams, No. 17-CR-00137 (E.D. Pa.). See Dkt. No. 21. He asks that his case “be combined with case 2:17-cv-00984, and the same jury, ” asserting that both cases “involve removal of elected officials and 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Honest Services Fraud.” Dkt. No. 21 at ECF p. 5. Mr. Cutler's motion seeking to combine his case with the case against Mr. Williams asks the Court to, inter alia, “[d]eclare that the Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax System is NOT UNIFORM and violates the Constitution of Pennsylvania.” Id. at ECF p. 7 (capitalization in original). Mr. Cutler also asks for “documentation . . . of how much all police salary costs and legal fees have been to date, and list all police officers involved, in all jurisdictions including the Pennsylvania State Police on 10JANUARY2015 used to try to change the outcome of a certified election because Mr. Cutler is Jewish.”[5] Id. at ECF p. 8.

         Mr. Cutler's second motion to combine cases and summary judgment, filed on May 11, 2017, references Case Number 1:17-cv-02726 in its title. Dkt. No. 32 at ECF p. 1. No such case exists to date on the docket for the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Cutler asserts that “[c]ase 1:17-cv-02726 and case number 2:17-cr-00137 involve George Soros influence meddling.” Indeed, among the attachments to Mr. Cutler's second motion to combine is a Clerk's Office form for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in which he appears to attempt to notify this Court that his case is related to BSG Resources (Guinea) v. George Soros and Open Society Foundations, (S.D.N.Y. No. 17-02726). See Dkt. No. 32-2 at ECF p. 3. A copy of the complaint in that action is attached to Mr. Cutler's filing. See Dkt. No. 32-2 at ECF p. 5. Mr. Cutler does not explain the relationship between his claims and the case in the Southern District of New York.[6]

         On May 26, 2017, defendants Christina Hausner and Amber Green also filed motions seeking to dismiss Mr. Cutler's claims.[7] Dkt. No. 31. Thereafter, on June 1, 2017, Mr. Cutler filed his third motion to combine cases and summary judgment. Dkt. No. 35. The motion references case number 0:16-cv-61511 in its title. Id. at ECF p. 2. Again, no such case exists on the docket for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Instead, Mr. Cutler's motion attaches a copy of a class action complaint in Wilding vs. DNC Services Corporation (S.D. Fla. No. 0:16-cv-61511). See Dkt. No. 35 at ECF p. 26-60. Mr. Cutler does not explain any relationship between his claims and the claims of plaintiffs Carol Wilding, et. al against the defendants DNC Services Corporation d/b/a Democratic National Committee and Deborah “Debbie” Wasserman Schultz.[8]

         Mr. Cutler's fourth motion seeking to combine his case with another case, filed on June 15, 2017, asks the Court to combine his case with another case filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia: Montgomery v. Comey, (D.D.C. No. 17-1074). See Dkt. No. 37 at ECF p. 30. In the motion, he also asks for a default judgment against defendant WGAL. Id. at ECF p. 1. Mr. Cutler does not explain the relationship between his claims and the claims asserted in Montgomery, a case in which the plaintiffs allege that they have been the targets of illegal spying and surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See id. at ECF p. 30 (attaching the complaint filed in the case brought by Dennis Montgomery and Larry Klayman against James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others in the District Court for the District of Columbia in which the plaintiffs allege that they have “been the targets of illegal spying and surveillance”). Instead, Mr. Cutler argues, among other things, that “he is just trying to connect the dots for the Justice System and protect the constitution of the United States as required by his Oath of office.” Dkt. No. 37 at ECF p. 7. He asserts that “[t]he FBI and others appear to be actively preventing our government from following the constitution and trying to obstruct the president including WGAL and NBC.” Id.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Mr. ...


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