A. Johnson v. Sgt. Brown

IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA Anton Johnson, : Appellant : : v. : : Sergeant Brown, C.O. Mannery, C.O. : Hicks, C.O. Barchesi, Sergeant Finley, : C.O. John Doe 1, C.O. John Doe 2, : Sergeant John Doe 3, whom are being : No. 338 C.D. 2021 sued individually and official capacities : Submitted: May 27, 2022 BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, President Judge HONORABLE CHRISTINE FIZZANO CANNON, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Senior Judge OPINION NOT REPORTED MEMORANDUM OPINION BY JUDGE FIZZANO CANNON FILED: August 3, 2022 Anton Johnson (Johnson), pro se, appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County (trial court) entered on January 12, 2021. Upon review, we quash the appeal as untimely filed. I. Background Johnson is an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Greene (SCI-Greene). Johnson filed a civil complaint (federal complaint) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (district court) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights by SCI-Greene staff.1 Johnson v. Brown (C.C.P. Greene, No. 795 AD 2019, filed Jan. 12, 2021), slip op. (Trial Ct. op.) at 2-3. Between May 2018 and March 2019, the district court issued four successive orders directing Johnson to take action in furtherance of his federal complaint. See Original Record (O.R.) Item #24, Ex. A at 9 & Ex. B at 5. Johnson took no responsive action until April 1, 2019, when he filed a motion asking the district court to send him a copy of his federal complaint and grant him an extension of time to respond to a pending defense motion for dismissal. Id. The same day, the district court issued an order dismissing Johnson’s federal complaint without prejudice. Id. Apparently, Johnson did not refile his federal complaint. Johnson then filed a civil complaint in the trial court (state complaint) against five named individuals on SCI-Greene’s staff (SCI Defendants) and three “John Doe” defendants. O.R. Item #30. Johnson alleged that the SCI Defendants and John Doe defendants refused to obtain and give him copies of his court papers related to his federal complaint, which were in the possession of another inmate, Johnson’s “jailhouse lawyer,” in July 2018 when that inmate was transferred to a restricted housing unit at SCI-Greene. Id. at 2-4. Johnson asserted that this conduct denied him access to the courts by rendering him unable to pursue his federal complaint, resulting in the eventual dismissal of the federal complaint. Id. at 5. The SCI Defendants filed preliminary objections to the state complaint asserting immunity from suit and legal insufficiency of the state complaint. Trial Ct. op. at 4. On January 12, 2021, the trial court issued an order overruling the immunity objection, sustaining the legal insufficiency objection, dismissing the state 1 It is not clear from the record whether the federal complaint and the state complaint named the same defendants. 2 complaint against the SCI Defendants, and stating the order was final and was subject to …

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