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Judge shoots down Parks Miller’s federal suit

A federal judge dealt a severe blow to most of the claims in Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller’s defamation lawsuit Wednesday.

U.S. Judge Matthew Brann filed six opinions, plus orders, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, dealing with individual motions to dismiss filed by the various defendants in the case. That was a lot, but then again, there were twelve defendants named in the suit, including Centre County itself, the three supervisors who held office in 2015, the county solicitor, the county administrator, Judge Pamela Ruest, Parks Miller’s former paralegal and four defense attorneys.

Brann dismissed almost all of the thirteen separate charges Parks Miller levied against some or all of the defendants. He also denied her the ability to amend most of those complaints, as she had already done once, calling the suit “quite evidently an irreparably flawed pleading.”

“To allow Parks Miller a third bite at the apple would contravene fundamental notions of justice...” Brann wrote.

The exception to that was her arguments against commissioners Steve Dershem and Michael Pipe, then-commissioner Chris Exarchos, solicitor Louis Glantz and administrator Tim Boyde, and the county itself.

Parks Miller asserted Fourth Amendment claims against the named individuals for search and seizure. While Brann dismissed the case she brought against them in their official capacities, he did permit her to refile against them individually, if she could allege “personal involvement.”

When it comes to the county, she will have to prove that there was a “policy or custom” that allowed such searches and seizures.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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