Rieco v. Hebe et al
ORDER: The October 2, 2013 Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 28) is ADOPTED WITH MODIFICATIONS; the motion for summary judgment of defendants Jenny Farrer and Michele Rigalbuto (June 7, 2013, ECF No. 19) is GRANTED; the claims against defendant Hebe are DISMISSED; and the case is REMANDED to Chief Magistrate Judge Carlson. Signed by Honorable Matthew W. Brann on 3/12/14. (km)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DWAYNE L. RIECO
WILLIAM HEBE, et al.,
Case No. 4:12-cv-02032
March 12, 2014
On October 2, 2013, Chief Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson issued a
Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 28) (hereinafter, the “R&R”) in which he
advised the Court to grant the motion for summary judgment of defendants Jenny
Farrer and Michele Rigalbuto, and to dismiss the claims against defendant William
Hebe for plaintiff’s failure to state a claim. Plaintiff Dwayne L. Rieco did not file
objections, so the Court has reviewed the R&R for clear error and conformity with
well-established law. See Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987)
(although Court is not required to review magistrate judge’s report absent
objections, “the better practice is for the district judge to afford some level of
review to dispositive legal issues raised by the report”). The Court will adopt the
R&R with the following modifications.
The R&R reaches the erroneous conclusion that “[a]t the outset, the RookerFeldman doctrine applies here and bars further consideration of this matter.” (R&R
at 9). To the contrary, it seems relatively clear to this Court that the RookerFeldman doctrine applies, if at all, only to the strand of Rieco’s claim challenging
defendants’s filing of a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights against him. See
Ernst v. Child & Youth Serv. Of Chester Cnty., 108 F.3d 486, 491-92 (3d Cir.
The R&R also reaches an erroneous conclusion when it holds that the
allegations against defendant Hebe should be dismissed because Hebe is not
alleged to be a state actor. Rather, it seems relatively clear that Hebe was
functioning as a state actor, but that he is entitled to absolute immunity. See Ernst,
108 F.3d at 500-504.
Those issues aside, the Court agrees that the moving defendants are entitled
to summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds under the circumstances.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
The October 2, 2013 Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 28) is
ADOPTED WITH MODIFICATIONS; the motion for summary judgment of
defendants Jenny Farrer and Michele Rigalbuto (June 7, 2013, ECF No. 19) is
GRANTED; the claims against defendant Hebe are DISMISSED; and the case is
REMANDED to Chief Magistrate Judge Carlson.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Matthew W. Brann
Matthew W. Brann
United States District Judge
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