Kobrick v. Stevens et al
ORDER - It is hereby ORDERED that: 1. Kobrick's MIL 178 is granted in part & denied in part.; 2. Stevens is precluded from denying the conduct to which he pled guilty in his criminal case in Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, PA.; 3. Kobrick's request for directed verdict on her claims sub judice is denied w/out prejudice to her right to renew her motion at teh appropriate time during trial. (See order for complete details.) Signed by Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner on 4/11/18. (ki)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MATTHEW STEVENS, LAKELAND
SCHOOL DISTRICT, WESTERN
WAYNE SCHOOL DISTRICT, DR.
THOMAS KAMEROSKI, ANDREW
FALONK, and PATRICK SHEEHAN,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:13-CV-2865
(Chief Judge Conner)
AND NOW, this 11th day of April, 2018, upon consideration of the motion
(Doc. 178) in limine by plaintiff Alexandra Kobrick (“Kobrick”) seeking a directed
verdict pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 as to liability on her claims
sub judice against defendant Matthew Stevens (“Stevens”), wherein Kobrick argues
that Stevens’ guilty plea to corruption of minors in violation of 18 PA. CONS. STAT.
ANN. § 6301, entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County,
Pennsylvania, is conclusive proof that he violated Kobrick’s constitutional rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and committed assault and battery against Kobrick,
(Doc. 178 ¶ 22), and the motion having been fully briefed, (Docs. 179, 184, 188), and it
appearing that federal courts must give the same preclusive effect to a state court
judgment as would the courts of that state, Metro. Edison Co. v. Pa. Pub. Util.
Comm’n, 767 F.3d 335, 350 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Marrese v. Am. Acad. of
Orthopaedic Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373, 380 (1985); Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96
(1980)), and that under Pennsylvania law, a party invoking issue preclusion must
establish that (1) the issue decided in the prior action is identical to the issue in the
later litigation; (2) there was a final judgment on the merits; (3) the party against
whom the doctrine of issue preclusion is asserted was a party to the prior action or
in privity with a party thereto; (4) the party against whom the doctrine of issue
preclusion is asserted had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in question
in the prior case; and (5) the determination of the issue in question in the prior
action was “essential to the judgment,” id. (quoting Office of Disciplinary Counsel v.
Kiesewetter, 889 A.2d 47, 50-51 (Pa. 2005)), and it further appearing that under
Pennsylvania law, “a criminal conviction collaterally estops a defendant from
denying his acts in a subsequent civil trial,” Ligato v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No.
16-5683, 2018 WL 1141328, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 2, 2018) (quoting Shaffer v. Smith,
673 A.2d 872, 874 (Pa. 1996)), because a guilty plea “constitutes an admission to all
the facts in the indictment,” Linnen v. Armainis, 991 F.2d 1102, 1105 (3d Cir. 1993)
(citing Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 535 A.2d 581, 585 (Pa. 1987)), but that any
“reasonable doubt as to what was decided by a prior judgment should be resolved
against using it as an estoppel,” id. (quoting Gregory v. Chehi, 843 F.2d 111, 121 (3d
Cir. 1988)), and the court agreeing that Stevens is collaterally estopped from
denying the conduct for which he pled guilty to corruption of minors in state court,
(see Doc. 175-1 at 49-52), but the court further finding that judgment as a matter of
law is premature at this juncture, see FED. R. CIV. P. 50(a)(1); see also Collins v.
Boyd, 541 F. App’x 197, 204-05 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson
Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 149-50 (2000)) (nonprecedential), it is hereby
Kobrick’s motion (Doc. 178) in limine is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
Stevens is precluded from denying the conduct to which he pled guilty
in his criminal case in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna
Kobrick’s request for a directed verdict on her claims sub judice is
denied without prejudice to her right to renew her motion at the
appropriate time during trial.
/S/ CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Middle District of Pennsylvania
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?