Don Karns v. Kathleen Shanahan

PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ____________ No. 16-2171 ____________ DON KARNS, Appellant v. KATHLEEN SHANAHAN; SANDRA MCKEON CROWE; NEW JERSEY TRANSIT; JOHN DOE SUPERVISORS #1-50 ____________ No. 16-2172 ____________ ROBERT PARKER, Appellant v. KATHLEEN SHANAHAN; SANDRA MCKEON CROWE; NEW JERSEY TRANSIT; JOHN DOE SUPERVISORS #1-50 ____________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Nos. 3:14-cv-04429 & 3:14-cv-4104) District Judge: Hon. Mary L. Cooper __________ Argued: January 26, 2017 Before: CHAGARES, RESTREPO, and ROTH, Circuit Judges __________ (Filed: January 11, 2018) John M. Bloor, Esq. [ARGUED] Drinker Biddle & Reath 18th and Cherry Streets One Logan Square, Suite 2000 Philadelphia, PA 19103 F. Michael Daily, Jr., Esq. 216 Haddon Avenue Sentry Office Plaza, Suite 106 Westmont, NJ 08108 Counsel for Appellants 2 Jennifer J. McGruther, Esq. [ARGUED] Stephen R. Tucker, Esq. Benjamin H. Zieman, Esq. Office of Attorney General of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Division of Law Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex 25 Market Street, P.O. Box 112 Trenton, NJ 08625 Counsel for Appellees ____________ OPINION ____________ CHAGARES, Circuit Judge. Don Karns and Robert Parker filed civil rights actions against the New Jersey Transit Corporation (“NJ Transit”) and NJ Transit Officers Kathleen Shanahan and Sandra McKeon Crowe in their official and individual capacities, alleging violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Officers Shanahan and Crowe arrested Karns and Parker for defiant trespass and obstruction of justice after Karns and Parker refused to vacate the NJ Transit train platform on which they were preaching without the required permit. The District Court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Eleventh Amendment immunity and qualified immunity 3 grounds. This consolidated appeal followed. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the District Court’s judgment. I. Karns and Parker are evangelical Christian ministers who regularly preach the Christian gospel. At around 6:00 a.m. on June 26, 2012, Karns and Parker were loudly preaching on the railway platform at the Princeton Junction station, which is owned by NJ Transit. They also carried signs with Bible verses on them. Parker had previously been informed that a permit was required to preach on NJ Transit property pursuant to N.J. Admin. Code § 16:83-1.1, which provides that persons wishing to engage in non-commercial speech on NJ Transit property are required to obtain a non-commercial certificate of registration.1 Appendix (“App.”) 118. Karns was apparently unaware of this requirement. App. 244–45. Neither Karns nor 1 Permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis. App. 241. All permits are approved as long as the applicant executes the permit and states his or her understanding of the relevant regulations. App. 243. NJ Transit typically issues ten to twenty permits weekly. App. 243. Indeed, the record shows that between June 2012 and July 2012, NJ Transit received forty-six permit requests, including thirty from religious organizations or entities and fifteen from political campaigns or entities. App. 116; 118–19. Only two of these requests were denied, either because the ...

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