GREENE v. STATE POLICE OF PENNSYLVANIA et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE GERALD A. MCHUGH ON 9/22/17. 9/22/17 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLAINTIFF.(rf, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
LAUREN GREENE a/k/a
LAUREN A. SYLUS
STATE POLICE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
SEPTEMBER .22, 2017
Plaintiff Lauren Greene filed this civil action against numerous defendants primarily
based on her desire to obtain custody of her son. She also filed a motion to proceed informa
pauperis, which the Court will grant. For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss
The complaint is pled in a stream of consciousness manner and discusses a series of
events in plaintiffs life, which makes it difficult at times to understand the basis for plaintiffs
claims. Plaintiff alleges that her son, who is now three-and-a-half, was born in Georgia "against
[her] will." (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiffs parents have been caring for her son since his birth and
have prevented her from seeing him for the past three years. That situation appears to be the
primary motivation for the instant lawsuit.
The complaint indicates that plaintiff suffers from conditions affecting her mental health
and that she has been both jailed and involuntarily committed in the past. Plaintiff claims that
she has been "attacked and illicitly drugged in Government jail [apparently in Gwinnett County,
Georgia] for trying to make contact with [her] son." (Id.) She alleges that she visited the CIA
"asking for professional development help and they had [her] psychiatrically committed, calling
[her] parents to say [she] wanted to kill them." (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff also alleges that the
hospitalization placed her in a "more vulnerable" situation, and that "Gwinnett attorneys are
claiming [she] is delusional about the abuse suffered in [the] Gwinnett jail." (Id. at 4.)
At some point, plaintiff was involuntarily committed for two months at the Presbyterian
Hospital in New York in connection with her psychiatric issues; it is not clear if this is the same
hospitalization that derived from her visit to the CIA or a different hospitalization. She alleges
that her human rights were violated during her stay. She also alleges that she was "forced under
duress in order to be released from NY Presbyterian Hospital to agree to settle [the] bill by
placing [herself] on SSD/Medicare." (Id. at 3) She claims she was "forced to refuse [a] work
opportunity with the Educational Testing Service" and that she was "never able to attain
employment as a public school employee again," because of her acceptance of social security
disability funds. (Id.)
The complaint contains additional allegations about plaintiff's background and
circumstances that do not clearly relate to the other allegations in the complaint. Plaintiff alleges
that she "claimed political asylum about issues that were never addressed in law with due
process in [her] home state." (Jd.) She was arrested in 2009-apparently in Pennsylvania.
Although unclear, it appears plaintiff absconded to England without addressing her legal issues,
and that her parents hired an attorney, Paul Messing, to assist her with her legal troubles.
Plaintiff named following individuals and/or entities as defendants in this lawsuit: (1) the
State Police of Pennsylvania; (2) Paul Messing; (3) Health System Department of Pennsylvania;
(4) Lawrence Real; (5) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; (6) Department of
Medicare, Medicaid; (7) School District of Philadelphia; (8) Pamela South, identified as a
Gwinnett County Judge; (9) Lee Ann Chancey; (10) the CIA; and (11) the FBI. She identified
the "Full Faith and Credit Statute" as the jurisdictional basis for her claims. Plaintiff seeks
various forms of relief from this Court including: ( 1) custody of her son and travel opportunities
with him; (2) "a professional development plan and opportunity that allows [her] to affect
changes within the criminal justice, health, and education programs"; (3) expungement of her
criminal record; (4) revision of her psychiatric records; (5) "CIA training in language and
math/science with [her] son"; (6) a "seat on the HELP committee of the Senate to initiate a
mental health legal system that is consistent and adhered to by all states"; and (7) "the
environmental standards to change for connection facilities so they grant educational
development." (Compl. at 4.) With her complaint, plaintiff filed a motion seeking an
"emergency hearing to address the safety of [her] son and his emotional integrity" and to
"challenge the Full Faith and Credit Standard, since Gwinnett County Medical Center denied
[her] obstetric care and the jail has committed abusive acts of terrorism against [her] for trying to
see [her son] ."
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a complaint to contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A district court may sua
sponte dismiss a complaint that does not comply with Rule 8 if "the complaint is so confused,
ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that its true substance, if any, is well disguised."
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995) (quotations omitted).
Furthermore, as plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauper is, the Court must dismiss her
complaint if it is frivolous or fails to state a claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). A
complaint is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). It is legally baseless if"based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory," Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1085 (3d Cir. 1995), and factually baseless
"when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible." Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain "sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory statements and naked
assertions will not suffice. Id. As plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court construes her
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
The Court cannot discern a logical basis for a claim against the defendants from the
complaint that falls within this Court's jurisdiction or venue. Some of plaintiffs allegations do
not seem to give rise to a claim at all. Additionally, she has identified some individuals or
entities as defendants without explaining what those individuals or entities did to harm her. 1
Accordingly, the complaint fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and fails to
state a claim. However, the Court has done its best to identify claims that plaintiff may be trying
to bring in an effort to determine whether any merit could exist for a lawsuit.
A. Claims Based on Custody of Plaintiff's Son
Plaintiff is clearly unhappy about the fact that she does not have custody of her son.
However, nothing in the complaint suggests plaintiffs federal rights were violated in connection
with the removal of her son from her custody or her current custody situation. If plaintiff has a
The complaint does not raise any allegations against Lawrence Real, the Health System
Department of Pennsylvania, Lee Ann Chancey, or the FBI. Even giving the complaint the most
liberal construction, the Court cannot determine a basis for plaintiffs claims against those
legitimate basis for seeking custody of her son, she should file an appropriate motion with the
appropriate state court. There is no reasonable basis from which the Court could conclude that it
has jurisdiction or venue over this aspect of plaintiffs complaint.
B. Claims Based on Incarceration in Georgia and Commitment in New York
It appears plaintiff may be challenging her treatment during an incarceration in Gwinnett
County, Georgia, and an involuntary commitment in New York. To the extent plaintiff is raising
constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on her incarceration, she has only sued
a Gwinnett County Judge in connection with those claims. However, judges are entitled to
absolute immunity from claims based on acts taken in their judicial capacity while presiding over
a case within their jurisdiction. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978); Azubuko
v. Royal, 443 F.3d 302, 303-04 (3d Cir. 2006) (per curiam). Accordingly, plaintiff cannot sue a
judge based on the judge's ruling to incarcerate her if that is, in fact, what she is trying to do.
Furthermore, if plaintiff was incarcerated as a result of a criminal conviction, she may not
challenge that conviction or her related incarceration in a civil rights action unless the conviction
has first been overturned or invalidated. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); see
also Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005).
If plaintiff intends to challenge the conditions in which she was confined in Georgia or
committed in New York, she may file a lawsuit in the state or federal courts of those states if
appropriate. However, she has not alleged anything beyond conclusory allegations in her
complaint and nothing about her allegations suggests that venue would be proper in this district.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1391. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss those claims without prejudice to
plaintiff proceeding on them in an appropriate court if she chooses to do so. 2
C. Claims Based on 2009 Arrest
Plaintiff also appears to be challenging a 2009 arrest, possibly pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. However the Pennsylvania State Police, which appears to have been sued in connection
with that arrest, is not susceptible to claims under § 1983 because the Pennsylvania State Police
is a state agency. See Atkin v. Johnson, 432 F. App'x 47, 48 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) ("The
District Court correctly determined that the Eleventh Amendment bars claims for damages
against the PSP, a state agency that did not waive its sovereign immunity."). In any event, any
claims based on a 2009 arrest are barred by Pennsylvania's two-year limitations period, because
plaintiff knew or should have known of the basis for her claims at the time of the arrest but failed
to file a lawsuit until 2017-almost eight years after the arrest occurred. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §
5524; Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007); Atkin, 432 F. App'x at 48.
D. Claims Against Plaintiff's Lawyer
The Court also cannot discern any basis for a claim against plaintiffs lawyer. "To state a
claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Plaintiffs
attorney is not a state actor subject to liability under§ 1983. Angelico v. Lehigh Valley Hosp.,
Venue is an affirmative defense that the Court may address if it is apparent from the face of the
complaint. A district court may transfer a case to an appropriate district rather than dismissing it
if venue is not proper. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1404 & 1406. However, transfer would not be
appropriate here because plaintiff has amalgamated numerous undeveloped claims in this lawsuit
that appear to be unrelated, and which appear to belong in different district courts.
Inc., 184 F.3d 268, 277 (3d Cir. 1999). Even leaving that aside, nothing in the complaint
suggests any basis for a legal claim against the attorney under federal or state law.
E. Claims Based on Plaintiff's Federal Benefits
Plaintiff expresses dissatisfaction with her receipt-or possible non-receipt-of benefits.
It is not clear what plaintiff is challenging or why she is challenging those benefits. Furthermore,
if plaintiff is prohibited from working because she is disabled or because she receives disability
benefits, that reality does not justify bringing a lawsuit against former or future employers such
as the School District of Philadelphia. If plaintiff has an issue with the administration of her
benefits, she should seek relief through proper channels established in the social security act and
the regulations that govern benefits through Medicaid and/or Medicare. Additionally, the Court
is not capable of resolving any generalized grievances that plaintiff may have about the
government's treatment of the mentally ill. See Lance v. Coffman, 549 U.S. 437, 439 (2007)
(per curiam) ("[A] plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about govemrnentclaiming only harm to his and every citizen's interest in proper application of the Constitution
and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the
public at large -does not state an Article III case or controversy." (quotations omitted)).
F. Claims Against the CIA
Plaintiff appears to be raising claims against the CIA under Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of the FBI, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), based on allegations that the CIA was involved
with her psychiatric commitment. However, "[a] Bivens action is not available against the
United States or one of its agencies." Dambach v. United States, 211 F. App'x 105, 107 (3d Cir.
2006) (per curiam) (citing Corr. Servs. Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 72 (2001) and FDIC v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 486 & n.11 (1994)). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs claims
against the CIA as legally baseless.
The Court has thoroughly reviewed the complaint, but cannot discern a logical or
plausible basis for a claim within the Court's jurisdiction and venue. Even affording the
complaint a very liberal construction, the only arguably plausible bases for legal claims appear to
be: (1) challenges to conditions in which plaintiff was incarcerated or committed in facilities that
are not in this district; (2) challenges to custody of plaintiffs son; (3) possible concerns about the
administration of plaintiffs benefits. None of those claims appear to give rise to a basis for a
federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the
complaint without prejudice to plaintiff filing those claims against appropriate defendants in
appropriate courts in the event she can develop them properly. Plaintiff will not be permitted to
file an amended complaint in this case because amendment would be futile. Plaintiffs motions
are denied. An appropriate order follows, which shall be docketed separately.
BY THE COURT:
GERALD A. MCHUGH, J.
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