New opinions — a prisoner-rights reversal (again) and a white-collar affirmance

Two opinions today.

The first is a prisoner civil-rights case back in CA3 for the third time. Pa. prisons take money from inmate accounts to pay restitution and other conviction-related costs. Two inmates, Montanez and Hale, sued under 1983 to allege that such removal violates due process. After twice being reversed for ruling that the inmates failed to state a claim, the district court ruled against the inmates again. Today, CA3 reversed in part. The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Montanez’s suit as untimely, rejecting his accrual-date, continuing-violation, and equitable-tolling arguments. But Hale’s suit was timely, and the court found a genuine issue of material fact on whether denying him pre-deprivation notice and an opportunity to be heard violated due process.

The case is Montanez v. Secretary. Opinion by Roth, joined by Greenaway and Vanaskie. Arguing counsel were Ernest Preate Jr. (the former Pa. AG who became an advocate from inmate rights after his own federal criminal conviction) for Montanez, Su Ming Yeh of the PA Institutional Law Project for Hale, and Howard Hopkirk for the state.

Today’s other case is a white-collar criminal appeal. The defendant was convicted of securities fraud and perjury. He challenged the validity of an SEC rule, the sufficiency of the evidence, and denial of his new-trial motion based on newly discovered evidence. CA3 affirmed.

The case is US v. McGee. Opinion by Aldisert, joined by Chagares and Shwartz. Arguing counsel were John Grugan of Ballard Spahr for the defendant and Bernadette McKeon for the government.