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Case 1:13-cv-02867-JEJ Document 15 Filed 03/19/14 Page 1 of 10

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA JESSE RAWLS, SR. and MARK Y. SUSSMAN, Plaintiffs, : : : : v. : : DR. SUSAN KEGERISE, : SUPERINTENDENT OF THE : SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL : DISTRICT, IN HER OFFICIAL AND : INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, : Defendant. :

CIVIL ACTION No.: 1:13-CV-02867

DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO RULE 11 MOTION FOR SANCTIONS IN THE FORM OF A MOTION TO STRIKE FOR VIOLATING FED.R.CIV.P. 11(C)(2) AND NOW, Defendants, Jesse Rawls, Sr. and Mark Y. Sussman hereby respond to Dr. Kegerises (Plaintiffs) Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Rule 11: 1. 2. 3. Admitted. Admitted. It is admitted that Dr. Kegerise is a superintendent; it is admitted that

Susquehanna Township School District (STSD) is a political subdivision. 4. Denied as stated. Mr. Rawls and Mr. Sussman announced their suit in

response to several outright violations of their constitutional rights and rights as

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elected board members pursuant to the Sunshine Act (65 Pa.C.S. 701 et seq.) and Public School Code of 1949 as amended (24 PS 1-101 et seq.). 5. 6. 7. 8. Admitted. Admitted. Admitted. Admitted with clarification. On December 10, 2013, former school

district solicitor John E. Freund, III Esq. accepted service of Plaintiffs Complaint on behalf of all of his clients, including, at that time Dr. Susan Kegerise. 9. Denied as stated. Plaintiffs repeatedly made clear they would recuse

themselves from any matters which applicable law required. The self-serving opinion of a former district solicitor lacks the authority to mandate Plaintiffs withdraw and is not binding upon this Honorable Court. 10. Plaintiffs lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as

to why the Complaint was filed and such allegation is therefore Denied. Further, Dr. Kegerises Complaint is a writing, which speaks for itself and any attempt to characterize its contents is hereby denied. 11. Denied as stated. It is admitted that KingSpry sent Plaintiffs counsel

correspondence dated January 15, 2014. It is denied it was authorized to do so by its client, the Susquehanna Township School District and its Board. 12. Admitted.
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13. 14. 15. 16.

Admitted. Admitted. Admitted. Denied as stated. Although counsel for Dr. Kegerise, Jason Kutulakis,

Esq., has represented to the Court that service was not waived until January 17, service was in fact waived by Mr. Freund, who was her counsel of record on December 10, 2013. 17. Admitted with clarification. Plaintiffs Amended Complaint removed

Count II of their Complaint, which sought a declaratory judgment regarding Dr. Kegerises illegal contract and thereby removed STSD and the Board as defendants, it also added several factual averments regarding Dr. Kegerises continued violations of Plaintiffs First Amendment Rights. 18. 19. 20. 21. Admitted. Admitted. Admitted. It is admitted that counsel for Dr. Kegerise sent correspondence to

Plaintiffs counsel demanding a withdrawal of the action within twenty days. Notwithstanding learned counsels position, Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2) requires a 21day period and, more importantly, requires that a copy of the motion be served in accord with Rule 5. Dr. Kegerise did not allow 21 days and did not forward a copy
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of the proposed motion to Plaintiffs counsel until March 18, 2014, one day before it was filed, in clear violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2). 22. Denied. Although it is acknowledged that February 27 is 20 days after

February 7, this is irrelevant as Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2) requires 21-days notice and service of the proposed motion. Dr. Kegerise failed to follow this procedure as Plaintiffs were not served with the instant Motion until one day before it was filed. 23. Admitted. By way of further response, Mr. Rawls and Mr. Sussman

withdrew their complaint on March 4, 2014, just three business days after February 27. 24. 25. Admitted. Denied. The statement is a writing, which speaks for itself and any

attempt to characterize it is hereby denied. By way of further answer, Dr. Kegerises conduct and illegal contract were and are clearly actionable, and this litigation was commenced to redress legitimate grievances. 26. 27. 28. Admitted. Admitted. Denied. Dr. Kegerises conduct which resulted in this litigation were

(and are) being addressed by the community and Board. By way of examples, STSD stakeholders are finally able to directly email board members, Mr. Kutulakis

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has not recently sent threatening letters on Dr. Kegerises behalf to or about board members, and KingSpry has resigned as STSD solicitor. 29. 30. 31. 32. Admitted. Admitted. Admitted. Admitted (but irrelevant.) By way of further answer, 42 U.S.C.

1983 provides remedy for actions undertaken by a person, under color of state law, which infringe on anothers Constitutional Rights. Dr. Kegerises averment misapplies the long-standing principle that state action is required for a violation of Free Speech to have occurred, by overlooking the fact plead in Paragraph Three, supra, in which she acknowledges her role as a public official. 33. Denied. Dr. Kegerises conduct which resulted in this litigation were

(and are) being addressed by the community and Board. By way of examples, STSD stakeholders are finally able to directly email board members, Mr. Kutulakis has not recently sent threatening letters on Dr. Kegerises behalf to or about board members, and KingSpry has resigned as STSD solicitor. 34. Denied. Upon information and belief, STSD has paid all of Dr.

Kegerises legal bills arising from this litigation. Accordingly, Dr. Kegerise petitions this Honorable Court for reimbursement of legal bills for which she has not personally paid. Further, upon information and belief, STSD has not
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authorized Dr. Kegerise to take this action on its behalf, nor did Dr. Kegerise claim in her Motion that she had the authority to do so. 35. Denied. Upon information and belief, STSD has paid all of Dr.

Kegerises legal bills arising from this litigation. Accordingly, Dr. Kegerise petitions this Honorable Court for reimbursement of legal bills for which she has not personally paid. Moreover, a conflict of interest is not obvious merely because Dr. Kegerise or Mr. Kutulakis say it is and, as stated above, the opinion of the now-former district solicitor was self-serving and is not binding on Plaintiffs or this Court. 36. Denied. Upon information and belief, STSD has paid all of Dr.

Kegerises legal bills arising from this litigation. Accordingly, Dr. Kegerise petitions this Honorable Court for reimbursement of legal bills for which she has not personally paid. Moreover, this Honorable Court previously denied Dr.

Kegerises request for sanctions relating to the remand of her state action. See Order, 1:14-00067-JEJ, January 27, 2014. Therefore, Dr. Kegerise attempts to raise issues previously decided by this Honorable Court. 37. This paragraph contains conclusions of law, to which no response is

required. To the extent that a response is judicially required, the averments are denied. By way of further answer:

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(a)

Plaintiffs announcement of their suit came in response to Dr. Kegerises repeated violations of their rights; the fact that there was an election in the subsequent days is coincidental and irrelevant. A pending election does not change the fact that Plaintiffs First Amendment rights were systematically and continuously violated by Dr. Kegerise.

(b)

Plaintiffs suit and claims are in response to Dr. Kegerises violations of their rights.

(c)

Plaintiffs suit is a response to Dr. Kegerises continued and systematic violations of Plaintiffs First Amendment rights. To the extent that an illegal contract had been approved by a previous board, it does not make said contract immune to litigation.

(d)

Plaintiffs right to communicate with their constituents and to speak out against policies they disagree with has been continuously and systemically violated by Dr. Kegerise and through her counsel, as stated in Plaintiffs Amended Complaint.

(e)

To the extent Dr. Kegerises been painted as a villain in the public eye, it is her conduct, not Plaintiffs Complaint which
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has done so. Statements to the media and the Board are all but irrelevant, and Plaintiffs have never characterized Dr. Kegerise as a villain. Further, if Defendant felt that the Pleadings contained factual inaccuracies, she could have responded with the appropriate pleading or motion. (f) STSD is not an essential party, as the count seeking a declaratory judgment on Dr. Kegerises illegal contract was omitted from the Amended Complaint. (g) Plaintiffs complaint includes declaratory relief in the prayer as is common practice to request all forms of relief available. (h) (i) (j) see (g), supra. see (g), supra. Plaintiffs withdrew their suit in good faith at the suggest of the STSD Interim Solicitor, Jeffrey Engel, Esq., who did so, upon information and belief, in an apparently futile effort to end litigation between elected board members and the STSD Superintendent. 38. Admitted.

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WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Jesse Rawls, Sr. and Mark Y. Sussman, respectfully request that this Honorable Court strike Dr. Kegerises Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Rule 11, and award Plaintiffs reasonable costs and attorneys fees against Dr. Kegerise personally incurred in defending against the instant Motion.

Respectfully submitted,

____________/s/______________ The Keisling Law Offices, P.C. Bret Keisling, Esquire (PA 201352) 17 S. Second Street, Suite 301 Harrisburg, PA 17101 (717) 303-3446 (Phone) (717) 801-1786 (Fax) Bret@KeislingLaw.com Date: March 19, 2014.

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Certificate of Service

I, Bret Keisling, Esq. certify that on March 19, 2014, the foregoing Response to Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions in the Form of a Motion to Strike was served on the following parties by electronic means at the addresses listed below:

jef@kingspry.com jpk@abomkutulakis.com cek@abomkutulakis.com

_______________/s/_________________ Bret Keisling, Esq.