Alvey v. Universal Music Group et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION by Chief Judge Greg N. Stivers on 4/23/2021; For the reasons (set forth), the action will be dismissed. The Court takes the opportunity to again WARN Plaintiff that filing additional frivolous lawsuits may result in the imposition of sanctions against him, including but not limited to prefiling restrictions. This action will be dismissed by separate Order. cc: Plaintiff, pro se (CDF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
BOWLING GREEN DIVISION
CURTIS EDWARD ALVEY JR.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:20-CV-158-GNS
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP et al.
Plaintiff Curtis Edward Alvey Jr. filed this pro se civil action. This matter is before the
Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). For the reasons that follow, the action
will be dismissed.
I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
Plaintiff filed his complaint on a form. As Defendants, he names Universal Music Group
(UMG) in California; Hailee Caribe Steinfeld, an “artist” for UMG;1 and “Paramount Pictures
Cooperation” in California.
In the section of the complaint form asking the filer to state the basis for the Court’s
jurisdiction, Plaintiff indicates both federal-question and diversity jurisdiction. As the basis for
federal-question jurisdiction, Plaintiff lists: “Section 107 of the Copy Right Act Identity Theft,
Harassment, Cyber Bulying, Invansion of Personal Privacy, Royalty Rights, 17 U.S. Code Title
17 – Copy Right, Phishing, The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1988, The Copyright Act of
Regarding diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff asserts that he is a citizen of Kentucky and that
Defendant Steinfeld is a citizen of California and Defendant UMG is incorporated under the laws
The Court takes judicial notice that Defendant Steinfeld is a Hollywood actress and popular music star.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Hailee_Steinfeld; http://www.haileesteinfeldofficial.com/.
of and has its principal place of business in California. In the section of the complaint form
relating to the “Amount in Controversy” for diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff does not specify an
amount. Instead, in response to the following statement on the form – “The amount in
controversy—the amount the plaintiff claims the defendant owes or the amount at stake—is
more than $75,000, not counting interest and costs of court, because (explain)” – Plaintiff writes,
“[t]he acts being committed can and will clearly have serious impacts on my financial livingsituations, credit scores, educational opportunities, and the way I survive in everyday life.”
In the Statement of Claim section of the complaint form, Plaintiff refers to an
attachment, comprised of numerous typewritten pages of claims, screenshots of Plaintiff’s and
Defendant Steinfeld’s Instagram pages, and various photographs. In the attachment, he attempts
to make comparisons between his life and scenes in movies/Instagram posts by Defendant
For example, Plaintiff claims, “at the beginning of the Film ‘Bumblebee’ there will be a
(MODEL TOY GREEN CORVETTE) at TIME FRAME (12:33 – 1:53:52) that will resemble as
mentioned in EXAMPLE B a Green Corvette that is parked inside my Grandfather Mike Keen’s
Automotive Repair Shop underneath a protective car cover.” He also claims, “the three
Corvettes mentioned along with the scene relating to EXAMPLE B at TIME FRAME (21:20 –
21:48) can easily target a specific location, called Bowling Green, Kentucky and the Corvette
Museum and Corvette Plant which is one of many things that the City is famous for.”
Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that in “pictures you will observe messages delivered to
([Defendant] Steinfeld’s Instagram) from my Personal Instagram, in these pictures you will
observe [Defendant Steinfeld] responding directly/indirectly to the questions being asked and
seems to be mocking/matching certain clothing and gestures that I seem to be making.” For
instance, he indicates:
The first set [of pictures] will be myself and my dog Chopper riding in the back
seat posing in a picture together that was sent directly to the Instagram account of
[Defendant Steinfeld]. In response [Defendant Steinfeld] will post a picture to her
Instagram of herself and her dog Martini riding on her shoulder behind her head.
August 9th, 2020, I sent Ms. Steinfeld a question at 02:40 P.M. asking if she wanted
to hang out with my ten (10) year old daughter who is also a Victim. Ms. Steinfeld
responded in about 20 minutes around 03:00 P.M. with a picture of her dog Martini
with a Caption that states, “My baby girl has gotten so big.”
Plaintiff also reports that on August 30, 2020, he sent Defendant Steinfeld “a set of voice
messages as I normally do, to remain in conversation with her” and “followed up the voice
message with a picture . . . of me standing outside, in a rainstorm, with my lips fixed in a kissing
position. With the comment stating ‘3Xs as much Baby Bear.’” He contends that “[w]ithin
minutes [Defendant Steinfeld] responded with the same type of (direct/indirect) behavior. The
response came in the form of an Instagram Story lasting only seconds and for a short time period
of 24 hours.”
Further, Plaintiff refers to “[a] set of pictures of My Personal Dog and his Dog Bed
MATCHING a set of pictures from the Film ‘Scoob!’ produced by Warner Bros. Pictures”; “[a]
set of pictures involving certain Family Members of Mine that will be portrayed on a Drinking
Cup”; and “[a] set of photos relating to my Grandfathers and Grandmothers Automotive Repair
Shop & Avon Consignment Store.”
Plaintiff left the Relief section of the complaint form blank.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review the complaint
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608-09 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). On review, a district court
must dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
“[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff
and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC,
561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009)
(citations omitted)). Although courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this duty to
be less stringent “does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations,” McDonald v. Hall, 610
F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat’l Travelers Life Ins.
Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require courts “to
explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the
district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the
strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton,
775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the
court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or
different types of relief.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ Nor does a complaint
suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.’” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Conclusory allegations or bare legal conclusions will not
suffice as factual allegations. Followell v. Mills, 317 F. App’x 501, 505 (6th Cir. 2009)
(“Conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual allegations will not
suffice.”); Gregory v. Shelby Cty., Tenn., 220 F.3d 433, 446 (6th Cir. 2000) (“[W]e need not
accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.”).
Upon review of the complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff makes broad, conclusory
allegations of legal claims (i.e., claims of identity theft, harassment, cyber bullying, invasion of
privacy, phishing, and violation of copyright laws), but he does not state factual allegations
supporting his claims that, if accepted as true, state “‘a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The complaint, therefore,
does not present a sufficient factual basis to state a claim against Defendants and fails to meet the
basic pleading standard required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,
534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (indicating that the short and plain statement of a claim must “‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests’”)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957), abrogated on other grounds by Twombly,
550 U.S. 544).
Furthermore, “a district court may, at any time, sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
when the allegations of a complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous,
devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion.” Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir.
1999). A complaint is “frivolous” if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous
where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Id. at 327; Selvy v. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., 371 F. Supp. 2d 905, 908
(E.D. Mich. 2005) (“A claim lacks an arguable basis in fact if it is ‘premised on clearly baseless
factual allegations that describe fantastic or delusional scenarios, rising to the level of the
irrational or the wholly incredible.’”) (quoting Tennessee ex rel. David Francis Fair v. Comm’r
of I.R.S., No. 3:04-CV-494, 2004 WL 3079879, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 4, 2004)). Even liberally
construing the pro se complaint, which the Court must do, the Court concludes that the
allegations meet this standard.
Finally, the Court notes that in this action Plaintiff makes a number of allegations similar
to those in another civil action filed in this Court, see Alvey v. Steinfeld, 1:20-CV-171-GNS,
which was also dismissed for failure to meet the notice-pleading standard under Fed. R. Civ.
P. 8(a) and for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) in accordance
with Apple v. Glenn. Plaintiff has been warned that sanctions may be imposed if he continues
filing duplicative, frivolous civil actions. See, e.g., Alvey v. Western Kentucky University, 1:20-
CV-148-DJH; Alvey v. Steinfeld, No. 1:20-CV-171-GNS. The Court realizes that Plaintiff filed
the instant action before he was warned that sanctions may be imposed. However, the Court
takes the opportunity to again WARN Plaintiff that filing additional frivolous lawsuits may
result in the imposition of sanctions against him, including but not limited to prefiling
For the foregoing reasons, this action will be dismissed by separate Order.
April 23, 2021
Plaintiff, pro se
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