Donahue v. Dauphin County et al
MEMORANDUM re REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 6 (Order to follow as separate docket entry)Signed by Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo on 8/7/17. (ma)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SEAN M. DONAHUE,
DAUPHIN COUNTY, et al.,
Civil No. 1:17-cv-1084
Judge Sylvia H. Rambo
Magistrate Judge Saporito
Before the court is a report and recommendation filed by the magistrate
judge (Doc. 6) in which he recommends that Plaintiff Sean Donahue’s complaint
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Donahue has filed objections to the report and recommendation.
(Doc. 7.) For the reasons that follow, the report and recommendation will be
Donahue’s complaint arises out of testimony and evidence presented in
the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas which eventually led to his
conviction and sentence in two counts of harassment.
In the report and recommendation, the magistrate judge opined that the §
1983 claims asserted by Donahue are not cognizable under the favorable
termination rule articulated by the Supreme Court of the United States in Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). In Heck, the court explained as follows:
[T]he hoary principle that civil tort actions are not
appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding
criminal judgments applies to § 1983 damages actions that
necessarily require the plaintiff to prove the unlawfulness of his
conviction or confinement, just as it has always applied to
actions for malicious prosecution.
We hold that, in order to recover damages for
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for
other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction or sentence invalid, a §1983 plaintiff must prove
that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct
appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court’s issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages bearing that
relation to a conviction or sentence that has not been so
invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983. Thus, when a state
prisoner seeks damages in a §1983 suit, the district court must
consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if
it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff
can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already
Id. at 486-87 (citations omitted).
Donahue has failed to demonstrate that his conviction or sentence has
previously been invalidated. In his objections to the report and recommendation,
Donahue does not address the reasoning of the magistrate judge but merely
reiterates some of the claims in his complaint.
Accordingly, the report and recommendation will be adopted.
s/Sylvia H. Rambo
SYLVIA H. RAMBO
United States District Judge
Dated: August 7, 2017
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