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Reisinger v. Cronauer

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 23, 2019

JOSEPH R. REISINGER, Plaintiff
v.
MDJ RICHARD CRONAUER, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 22, 2019, plaintiff Joseph R. Reisinger[1] filed, pro se, an incomplete complaint, in clear violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, appearing to claim violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983 regarding the alleged illegal and fraudulent October 2018 conveyance of his Luzerne County, Pennsylvania house, by the Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau, to defendant JB Asset Management, LLC, during the pendency of his Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition.[2] (Doc. 1). Plaintiff appears to allege that the conveyance and acquisition of his house by JB Asset Management was in violation of his due process rights as well as federal law since the house was listed as an asset in his Bankruptcy Petition and was allegedly part of his Bankruptcy Estate. Also named as defendants are: Magisterial District Judge Richard J. Cronauer; Iftekhar Biplob, owner of JB Asset Management, LLC; Bankruptcy Judge Robert N. Opel, II; William G. Schwab, Esq., Chapter 7 Trustee; D. Troy Sellars, Esq., U.S. Trustee; and Adam R. Weaver, Esq., Special Counsel in plaintiff's bankruptcy case.

         In particular, plaintiff alleges that he purchased the house in March 2013 and that he was the legal owner of the property. However, plaintiff states that due to an oversight the deed to the house was not recorded after his purchase. He states that he filed his Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition on October 22, 2018, and that he listed the house as one of his assets making the house part of his Bankruptcy Estate. Plaintiff states that he then properly recorded the deed to the house on October 24, 2018. Plaintiff alleges that even though his Bankrupcty Estate became the proper owner of the house, the Tax Claim Bureau, outside of the Bankruptcy Court and seemingly in violation of the automatic stay, unlawfully sold the house to JB Asset Management at a tax sale on October 25, 2018. The deed of the house to JB Asset Management was then recorded on February 19, 2019. It appears that after the sale of the house to JB Asset Management, plaintiff remained in possession of the house and his tenants remained in the house.

         Biplob and JB Asset Management then filed an ejectment action against plaintiff with Judge Cronauer seeking the judge to find that JB Asset Management was the legal owner of the house and that Biplob could legally enter the house. Judge Cronauer conducted a hearing on June 11, 2019. Plaintiff states that Judge Cronauer issued an illegal Order finding that JB Asset Management lawfully purchased the house and, that he and his tenants owed JB Asset Management rent and related utilities for occupying the house after it was sold at the tax sale. Additionally, plaintiff states that JB Asset Management was granted the authority by an Order issued by Judge Cronauer to take possession of the house on July 22, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.

         As relief, plaintiff appears to seek the court to set aside the alleged illegal purchase and transfer of his house to JB Asset Management, and to prohibit JB Asset Management from taking possession of the house since he claims that Judge Cronauer's Order was legally void.

         Simultaneously filed along with his complaint, plaintiff submitted a motion for a preliminary injunction, (Doc. 2), an amended motion for an emergency preliminary injunction with exhibits, (Doc. 3), an incomplete and unreadable handwritten motion to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. 4), and an unreadable handwritten motion seemingly requesting the court to expedite ruling on his emergency preliminary injunction motion, (Doc. 5).

         In his emergency preliminary injunction, plaintiff seeks this court to enjoin defendants JB Asset Management and Biplob from taking physical possession of his house on July 22, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. since he alleges it was unlawfully transferred to them and that Judge Cronauer's Order was illegal.

         After reviewing plaintiff's complaint and motions, the court will deny plaintiff's request for immediate injunctive relief. The court will dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to file a proper pleading under Rule 8, for failure to state any basis invoking this court's jurisdiction and, for failure to state a cognizable claim. The court can raise sua sponte subject matter jurisdiction issues. See Nesbit v. Gears Unlimited, Inc. 347 F.3d 72, 77 (3d Cir. 2003). However, the court will allow plaintiff to amend his complaint regarding any constitutional and federal claims he is attempting to assert based on the stated deficiencies of his original complaint, including directing plaintiff to file an amended complaint in conformance with Rule 8 as well as a proper motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

         Although plaintiff fails to state any basis to invoke this court's jurisdiction in his complaint, to the extent plaintiff is deemed as alleging violations of his constitutional rights and violations of federal law, the court would have jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331 and 28 U.S.C. §1343(a). Venue would be appropriate in this court it is alleged that constitutional violations occurred in this district since all parties are located here. See 28 U.S.C. §1391.

         II. STANDARDS

         A. Section 1983

          To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff must meet two threshold requirements: 1) that the alleged misconduct was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and 2) that as a result, he was deprived of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-331 (1986). If a defendant fails to act under color of state law when engaged in the alleged misconduct, a civil rights claim under section 1983 fails as a matter of jurisdiction, Polk Cnty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 315 (1981), and there is no need to determine whether a federal right has been violated. Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (1982).

         “A defendant in a civil rights action must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongs; liability cannot be predicated solely on the operation of respondeat superior.” Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207-08 (3d Cir. 1988). See also Sutton v. Rasheed,323 F.3d 236, 249 (3d Cir. 2003)(citing Rode). “Personal involvement can be shown through allegations of personal direction or of actual knowledge and acquiescence.” Rode, 845 F.2d at 1207. Accord ...


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