United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
before the court is the report and recommendation of
Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick (“R&R”),
wherein she recommends seven motions to dismiss the plaintiff
Quintez Talley's second amended complaint be granted.
(Doc. 89). Based on the following, the plaintiff's
objections (Doc. 92) shall be overruled, Judge
Mehalchick's R&R (Doc. 89) shall be adopted, the
defendants' motions to dismiss (Doc. 64; Doc. 66; Doc.
67; Doc. 72; Doc. 73; Doc. 74; Doc. 75) shall be granted, and
the plaintiffs' second amended complaint (Doc. 63) shall
plaintiff, who is a black male, alleges that at all times
relevant to the events in his second amended complaint he was
incarcerated and suffering from a serious mental illness.
(Doc. 89, at 4). In 2014, the plaintiff set fire to his cell
in an attempt to inflict self-harm and threw an unknown
substance on two corrections officers. (Id.) His
conduct resulted in criminal charges in the Centre County
Court of Common Pleas. (Id.)
the plaintiff asserts a slew of claims relating to his
criminal prosecution in Centre County. (Doc. 89, at 4-5).
Specifically, he asserts that he was not afforded a fair
trial because the juries in his trials had no black members.
(Doc. 89, at 4). To support his allegation, the plaintiff
raises additional claims alleging that the court in Centre
County only employs white people and that their jury
qualifications discriminate against black people.
(Id.) The plaintiff further alleges against several
defendants that he qualified for legal defenses that were not
pursued on his behalf. (Id.)
events most relevant to our inquiry began on June 13, 2019,
when the plaintiff filed objections to Judge Mehalchick's
R&R. (Doc. 92). Defendants Centre County Defenders
Association, David Crowley, and Casey McClain filed a
response to the plaintiff's objections on June 20, 2019.
(Doc. 97). Then, on June 27, 2019, the defendant, District
Attorney's Office of Centre County, filed its response to
the plaintiff's objections. (Doc. 99). The court allowed
the plaintiff to file a reply brief by September 11, 2019 but
has not received any such filing. (Doc. 103).
disposing of objections to a magistrate judge's R&R
and recommendation, the district court must make a de
novo determination of those portions of the R&R that
receive an objection. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see
also Sullivan v. Cuyler, 723 F.2d 1077, 1085 (3d Cir.
1983). To adopt portions of the R&R where no objections
are filed, we must determine if a review of the record
evidences plain error or manifest injustice. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b) 1983 Advisory Committee Notes (“When no timely
objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record to accept
the recommendation”); see also 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A); Sullivan, 723 F.2d at 1085. The
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.
Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 877 (3d Cir.
1987); see also L.R. 72.3. The district court judge
may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to
the magistrate judge with instructions. Id.
plaintiff's second amended complaint contains claims
under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act,
18 U.S.C. §§ 1962, 1964(c) (hereinafter “RICO
claim(s)”); 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 (hereinafter
“§ 1983 claim(s)”), 1985-1986 (hereinafter
“Conspiracy claim(s)”); Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 (hereinafter
“Title VII claim(s)”); Title II of the Americans
with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (hereinafter
“Title II claim(s)”); and Title V of the American
with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12201-12213
(hereinafter “Title V claim(s)”).
Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
plaintiff alleges § 1983, Conspiracy, and RICO claims
against the Centre County Courthouse and the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court (collectively “Court Defendants”).
Judge Mehalchick recommends that these claims be dismissed
with prejudice as the Court Defendants “are immune from
liability in federal court under the Eleventh
Amendment.” (Doc. 89, at 16-17).
the plaintiff briefly mentions the Court Defendants in his
objection to the application of Eleventh Amendment immunity,
the substance of his objection only concerns other
defendants. Compare (Doc. 92-1, at 5) (“In
turning to the Courts recommendation as to the State
Court/Judicial Defendants being shield by the Eleventh
Amendment . . . .”), with (Doc. 92-1, at 6-7)
(failing to object to Court Defendants' sovereign
immunity). Plaintiff states that his RICO claims are not
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because “they .
. . are intricately intertwined with . . . [his] Title II of
the ADA claims.” (Doc. 92-1, at 6-7); however, he
provides no legal basis supporting his notion.
no objection to the Court Defendants' sovereign immunity,
no clear error on the face of the record, and no manifest
injustice, we shall adopt Judge Mehalchick's R&R and
dismiss plaintiff's § 1983, Conspiracy, and RICO
claims against the Court Defendants with prejudice for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May Be
plaintiff also alleges several claims against Judge Thomas
King Kistler, Judge Jonathan D. Grine, Judge Pamela A. Ruest,
Judge Bradley P. Lunsford, Judge J. Michael Williamson, Judge
Allen Sinclair, and Judge Steven Lachman (collectively
“Judicial Defendants”). In her R&R, Judge
Mehalchick recommends that the plaintiff's § 1983,
Title II, RICO, and Conspiracy claims against the Judicial
Defendants be dismissed with prejudice as the Judicial
Defendants are entitled to absolute immunity. (Doc. 89, at
objections, the plaintiff cites U.S. v. Georgia for
the idea that “any [Constitutional] claim arising out
of [his] Title II claims should be allowed to proceed.”
(Doc. 92-1, at 6). That case, however, deals with sovereign
immunity, not absolute immunity. See U.S. v.
Georgia, 546 U.S. 159 (2006) (holding Title II of the
ADA abrogates state sovereign
immunity by creating a private right of action for conduct
that violates the Fourteenth Amendment) (emphasis added).
the plaintiff argues that two of his claims against Judge
Thomas King Kistler should not be dismissed. (Doc. 92-1, at
6). The first claim is an Eighth Amendment claim brought
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the second claim is under
Title VII. Since Judge Mehalchick does not recommend
that Judge Kistler is immune to any Title VII claim, we need
only consider the Eighth Amendment claim herein. The
plaintiff concedes that when judges act in their judicial
capacity, they are immune from any resulting § 1983
claims, but he argues that his § 1983 claim against
Judge Kistler sounds in “non-judicial” action.
(Doc. 92-1, at 6).
whether a judge's actions are judicial, and, therefore,
entitled to judicial immunity, requires the court to look to
the “nature of the act itself, i.e., whether
it is a function normally performed by a judge, and to the
expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they
dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity.”
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 362
his Eighth Amendment claim, the plaintiff alleges that-by
calling a jury venire ...