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Pilchesky v. Lackawanna County

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 16, 2018

JOSEPH PILCHESKY, Plaintiff,
v.
LACKAWANNA COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          CARLSON MAGISTRATE, Judge

          MEMORANDUM

          Richard Caputo United States District Judge

         Presently before me are the Objections (Doc. 59) of Joseph Pilchesky (“Pilchesky” or “Plaintiff”) to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 58) of Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson. The Magistrate Judge recommends that motions to dismiss filed by (1) Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Stevens & Lee, P.C. (Doc. 24), (2) Lackawanna County, Office of the Sheriff of Lackawanna County, and Mark McAndrew (Doc. 25), and (3) Phelan Hallinan, LLP (Doc. 26) be granted and Pilchesky's motion for leave to file a further amended pleading (Doc. 48) be denied. For the reasons explained below, I will adopt in part and reject in part the Report and Recommendation, grant the motions to dismiss, and deny the motion for leave to amend.

         I. Background

         The facts set forth in Plaintiff's operative pleading, the Second Amended Complaint, are outlined in the Report and Recommendation. As alleged by Pilchesky, he and his now estranged wife Joanne Ricci Pilchesky (“Ricci”), resided together at 819 Sunset Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania (the “Property”) from 2000 to 2010. (See Doc. 23, ¶ 10). Pilchesky continues to reside at the Property. (See id.). The deed to the Property, as well as the mortgage, were exclusively in Ricci's name. (See id. at ¶¶ 9-10).

         After Pilchesky extensively remodeled the Property, he filed a $200, 000.00 lien against it on June 5, 2009. (See id. at ¶ 12). The following May, Ricci abandoned the marriage and the Property. (See id. at ¶ 13).

         On August 21, 2013, after Ricci defaulted on the mortgage, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) initiated a foreclosure action against her in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County. (See id. at ¶ 14). A default judgment was entered against Ricci on November 20, 2013. (See id. at ¶ 15). On May 2, 2014, Wells Fargo notified all parties in interest, including Pilchesky, that the Property was going to be exposed to a Sheriff's Sale on June 10, 2014. (See id. at ¶ 16). On June 10, 2014, the advertised Sheriff's Sale was continued without further notice of a new sale date to Pilchesky. (See id. at ¶ 19).

         On December 9, 2014, Defendant Mark McAndrew, the Lackawanna County Sheriff, executed a deed to Wells Fargo after it paid $968.19 for the Property. (See id. at ¶ 20). According to the deed, the Property was sold at a Sheriff's Sale on October 21, 2014. (See id. at ¶ 21). Pilchesky, though, did not learn of the sale until December 26, 2014, the date he received a letter from Well's Fargo's legal counsel, Phelan Hallinan, LLP, advising him that Wells Fargo was the new owner of the Property. (See id. at ¶ 22). Thereafter, on or about March 23, 2015, Pilchesky received another letter stating that Wells Fargo was the owner of the Property as a result of a foreclosure and judicial sale. (See id. at ¶ 23). Pilchesky, however, never received notice of a new sale date after the sale scheduled for June 10, 2014 was continued. (See id. at ¶ 27).

         Based on the foregoing, Pilchesky commenced this action on December 23, 2016. (See Doc. 1, generally). Pilchesky's current operative pleading, the Second Amended Complaint, was filed on February 28, 2017. (See Doc. 22, generally). Therein, he names as Defendants Lackawanna County, the Office of County Sheriff, Mark McAndrew, Wells Fargo, Phelan Hallinan, LLP, and Stevens and Lee Law Firm. (See id.). Pilchesky's seven-Count Second Amended Complaint contains the following causes of action: (1) deprivation of due process rights in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments against the Office of the Sheriff and McAndrew; (2) deprivation of due process rights/failure to train and supervise against the County; (3) denial of equal protection against the County; (4) conspiracy to deprive Plaintiff of his due process and equal protection rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) against the County, McAndrew, Wells Fargo, Phelan Hallinan, and Stevens and Lee; (5) fraud/conspiracy to commit fraud in violation of his due process and equal protection rights against all Defendants; (6) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986 against McAndrew and the County for failing to prevent the conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights; and (7) negligence against the County and McAndrew. (See id.).

         Defendants all moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. (See Docs. 24-26, generally). Pilchesky opposed those motions, (see Docs. 28, 34, 36, generally), and also filed a motion for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint. (See Doc. 48, generally).

         On February 22, 2018, Magistrate Judge Carlson issued the Report and Recommendation under review. (See Doc. 58, generally). Therein, the Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' motions to dismiss be granted and Pilchesky's motion for leave to file a further amended complaint be denied. (See id. at 39). Specifically, the Magistrate Judge concludes that Pilchesky is unable to state viable § 1983 claims against Defendants predicated on their roles in the state mortgage foreclosure proceedings. (See id. at 12-16). The Magistrate Judge also finds that Pilchesky fails to state due process, equal protection, § 1985(3), § 1986, and Monell claims. (See id. at 16-30).

         Pilchesky filed timely objections to the Report and Recommendation. (See Doc. 59, generally). Those objections have been fully briefed and are now ripe for disposition.

         II. Discussion

         A. ...


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