Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 819 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987).
However, a plaintiff cannot rely on the pleadings alone, but
"`bears the burden of establishing with reasonable particularity
sufficient contacts between the defendant and the forum state to
support jurisdiction.'" Carteret Savings Bank, F.A. v. Shushan,
954 F.2d 141, 146 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting Provident National
Bank, 819 F.2d at 437) (internal citations omitted); see also
Vetrotex Certainteed Corporation v. Consolidated Fiber Glass
Products Company, 75 F.3d 147, 151 (3d Cir. 1996) (discussing
two part test to determine whether exercise of jurisdiction is
In the instant case, Plaintiff attempts to establish specific
jurisdiction over Leembruggen and B & N. "`Specific jurisdiction
is invoked when the cause of action arises from the defendant's
forum related activities' such that the defendant `should
reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.'" Vetrotex,
75 F.3d at 151 (quoting North Penn Gas Co. v. Corning Natural
Gas Corp., 897 F.2d 687, 690 (3d Cir. 1990)). Plaintiff argues
that Leembruggen and B & N have sufficient contacts with
Pennsylvania to allow this Court to exercise personal
jurisdiction because they reached into Pennsylvania to assist in
the conspiracy to kidnap his child, an act which deprived
Plaintiff of his constitutional and state tort/common law rights.
Leembruggen and B & N submitted an affidavit which indicates
that neither Leembruggen nor B & N have ever availed themselves
of the benefits of Pennsylvania law or otherwise subjected
themselves to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania. See (Aff. of
Leembruggen at ¶¶ 13 & 14). Additionally, Leembruggen and B & N
indicate that in connection with their representation of
Defendant, Julie Panayotides, that they were not physically
present in Pennsylvania nor did they perform any act in
Pennsylvania.*fn4 Id. at ¶ 12. Leembruggen and B & N further
assert that they have never practiced law in Pennsylvania, filed
papers or assisted with filing papers in any Court exercising
jurisdiction in Pennsylvania, nor appeared on the record or
entered an appearance in Pennsylvania. Id. at ¶¶ 3-5.
To refute this affidavit, Plaintiff lists the paragraphs of the
affidavit that he considers false and points to allegations in
his complaint to support his contention that the Court can
exercise personal jurisdiction. However, other than pointing to
the pleadings, Plaintiff does not offer any competent evidence
that would establish "`with reasonable particularity sufficient
contacts between the defendant and the forum state to support
jurisdiction.'" Carteret Savings Bank, 954 F.2d at 146 (quoting
Provident National Bank, 819 F.2d at 437) (a plaintiff cannot
rely on pleadings alone). We find that Defendants, Leembruggen
and B & N, have sufficiently shown that this Court does not have
personal jurisdiction over them and that Plaintiff has failed to
meet the burden of establishing jurisdiction. Therefore, the
claims in Plaintiff's amended complaint are dismissed against
Leembruggen and B & N for lack of jurisdiction.
D. Randy Rabenold, Baskin, Leisawitz, Heller & Abramowitch,
P.C., and Julie Panavotides: Failure to State a Claim
Plaintiff asserts numerous claims against Randy Rabenold
("Rabenold"), Baskin, Leisawitz, Heller & Abramowitch, P.C. ("BLH
& A"), and Julie Panayotides (collectively "Defendants") alleging
violations of an assortment of federal and state laws: civil and
criminal. Here we will focus on Plaintiff's potential federal
claims against Defendants which appear to be a claim for
conspiracy to violate his constitutional rights under § 1983 and
under § 1985. Rabenold, BLH & A and Julie Panayotides seek
dismissal of the claims in Plaintiff's amended complaint for
failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
1. Legal Standard
In considering a 12(b)(6) motion, a court must primarily
consider the allegations contained in the complaint, although
matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record
of the case and exhibits attached to the complaint may also be
taken into account. Pension Benefit Guaranty, Corp. v. White
Consolidated Industries, Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
1993). The Court must accept as true all of the allegations in
the pleadings and must give the plaintiff the benefit of every
favorable inference that can be drawn from those allegations.
Schrob v. Catterson, 948 F.2d 1402, 1405 (3d Cir. 1991);
Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir.
1990). A complaint is properly dismissed only if it appears
certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in
support of its claim which would entitle it to relief. Ransom v.
Marrazzo, 848 F.2d 398, 401 (3d Cir. 1988). A pro se complaint
is held to a more liberal pleading standard than those drafted by
an attorney. See Gibbs v. Roman, 116 F.3d 83, 86 (3d Cir. 1997)
(citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596,
30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972)).
2. Section 1983
Plaintiff attempts to plead a § 1983 conspiracy claim against
Rabenold, BLH & A, and Julie Panayotides for violation of his
constitutional rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendments. Defendants seek to have these claims
dismissed because they are not state actors as required by §
In order to properly plead a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must
allege that "(1) a person deprived him of a federal right; and
(2) the person who deprived him of that right acted under color
of state law." Samuel v. Clark, No. CIV.A.95-6887, 1997 WL
792994, *2 (E.D.Pa. Dec.10, 1997) (citing Groman v. Township of
Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995)). A private
individual can become a state actor for purposes of § 1983
conspiracy liability if he or she is a "`willful participant in
joint activity with the state or its agents.'" Dutton v.
Buckingham Township, No. CIV.A.97-3354, 1997 WL 732856, *2
(E.D.Pa. Nov.13, 1997) (quoting Adickes v. Kress & Co.,
398 U.S. 144, 152, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 1606, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970)); see
also Rashid v. Monteverde & Hemphill, No. CIV.A.95-2449, 1997 WL
360922, *8 (E.D.Pa. June 24, 1997); Gallas v. Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania, No. CIV.A.96-6540, 1997 WL 256972, * 15 (E.D.Pa.
May 15, 1997). "The requisite state action can be present even if
the conspirator who is a state actor is himself immune from
suit." Gallas, 1997 WL 256972 at *15; see also Brightwell v.
Brady, No. CIV. A.92-2649, 1993 WL 157724, *4 (E.D.Pa. May 11,
1993). "The test for determining state action requires a showing
of conspiratorial or other concerted action." Dutton, 1997 WL
732856 at *2.
In order to sufficiently allege a conspiracy, a plaintiff must
show "a combination of two or more persons to do a criminal act,
or to do a lawful act by unlawful means or for an unlawful
purpose." Hammond v. Creative Financial Planning, 800 F. Supp. 1244,
1248 (E.D.Pa. 1992). A plaintiff must make "specific
factual allegations of combination, agreement, or understanding
among all or between any of the defendants to plot, plan, or
conspire to carry out the alleged chain of events." Id.
"`[O]nly allegations of conspiracy which are particularized, such
as those addressing the period of the conspiracy, the object of
the conspiracy, and certain other action of the alleged
conspirators taken to achieve that purpose will be deemed
sufficient. . . . .'" Dutton, 1997 WL 732856 at *2 (quoting
Rose v. Bartle, 871 F.2d 331, 366 (3d Cir. 1989) (internal
citations omitted)). Further, "[a]greement is the sine qua non
of a conspiracy." Spencer v. Steinman, 968 F. Supp. 1011, 1020
It is not enough that the end result of the parties'
independent conduct caused plaintiff harm or even
that the alleged perpetrators of the harm acted in
conscious parallelism. To state a claim for
conspiracy under § 1983, plaintiff must claim that,
`[t]he private actor . . . wrongfully influence[d]
the state [actor's] decision . . . through a
conspiracy, or else the plaintiff must seek his
remedy in a state tort claim, not a federal § 1983
Id. (quoting Davis v. Union National Bank, 46 F.3d 24, 26
(7th Cir. 1994)).
Plaintiff attempts to allege that the Defendants, Rabenold, BLH
& A, and Julie Panayotides, were involved in a conspiracy with
Judges Edenharter and Grim to deny Plaintiff his constitutional
right to due process and to custody of his son. Plaintiff alleges
that Rabenold, BLH & A and Julie Panayotides (at least through
her counsel) had ex parte communications with Judges Grim and
Edenharter wherein the Judicial Defendants received irrelevant
and inadmissible evidence which was used to issue rulings that
were legally incorrect and that were designed to deny Plaintiff
his constitutional rights to due process and to custody of his
child. See generally (Pl.'s Amended Compl. at ¶¶ 5.52-5.110).
However, Plaintiff does not sufficiently allege that the
Judicial Defendants took these alleged actions due to an
agreement to deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff utilizes the word "conspired" in the amended complaint
but does not provide the facts necessary to demonstrate an
agreement between Rabenold, BLH & A and Julie Panayotides and the
Judicial Defendants to deprive him of his right to due process
and custody of his child. See Spencer, 968 F. Supp. at 1020-21
(plaintiff did not present sufficient facts to allege a § 1983
conspiracy claim between an attorney and judge where plaintiff
did not offer any facts that the attorney acted through a
"combination, agreement, or understanding" with the judge); see
also Crabtree By and Through Crabtree v. Muchmore,
904 F.2d 1475, 1481 (10th Cir. 1990) ("`[a] conspiracy [under § 1983]
cannot be found from allegations of judicial error, ex parte
communications . . . or adverse rulings absent specific facts
demonstrating an agreement to commit the alleged improper
3. Section 1985 and 1986
Plaintiff also attempts to allege a § 1985(3) conspiracy claim.
In order to sufficiently plead such a claim, a plaintiff must
allege "(1) a conspiracy; (2) for the purpose of depriving any
person or class of person of equal protection of the laws or
equal privileges and immunities; (3) an act in furtherance of the
conspiracy; (4) whereby a person is either injured in his person
or property or deprived of any right or privilege of a citizen of
the United States." United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners
of America, Local 610, AFL — CIO v. Scott, 463 U.S. 825, 829,
103 S.Ct. 3352, 3356, 77 L.Ed.2d 1049 (1983); see also Samuel,
1997 WL 792994 at *2; Perlberger, 1997 WL 597955 at *3. "To
satisfy the second element, Plaintiff must allege that the
Defendants were motivated by `some racial, or perhaps otherwise
class-based, invidiously discriminatory animus. . . .'"
Perlberger v. Perlberger, No. CIV.A.97-4105, 1997 WL 597955, *3
(E.D.Pa. Sept.16, 1997) (quoting Griffin v. Breckenridge,
403 U.S. 88, 102, 91 S.Ct. 1790, 1798, 29 L.Ed.2d 338 (1971)).
Plaintiff cannot maintain a § 1985 claim because he has not
alleged any racial or class based discriminatory animus that
motivated the alleged conspiracy to violate his constitutional
rights. Therefore, we will dismiss this claim against Defendants,
Rabenold, BLH & A, and Julie Panayotides.
Plaintiff's § 1986 claim "can only be maintained along with a
Section 1985 claim." Perlberger, 1997 WL 597955 at *3. We have
dismissed Plaintiff's § 1985 claim and therefore must dismiss the
§ 1986 claim as well. Id.
E. State Law Claims Against All Defendants
Since the federal claims against all of the Defendants have
been dismissed we must decide whether to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the state law claims. A court "may decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction [over state law claims] if . .
. the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has
original jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). We decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's potential
state law claims and thus dismiss those claims. Plaintiff may
re-file the state law claims in the proper state court.
An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 27th day of January, 1999, upon consideration of
the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and
Plaintiff's responses thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that the
federal claims against the defendants are DISMISSED as follows:
1) Defendants, Judge Frederick Edenharter and Judge Arthur E.
Grim's, Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED based on judicial immunity;
2) Defendants, Paula Szortyka and Maureen Barden's, Motions to
Dismiss are GRANTED based on prosecutorial immunity;
3) Defendants, Donald M. Leembruggen and Barry and Nilsson's,
Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED based on lack of personal
4) Defendants, Randy A. Rabenold, Baskin, Leisawitz, Heller and
Abramowitch, P.C., and Julie Panayotides', Motions to Dismiss are
GRANTED based on failure to state a claim upon which relief can
It is further ORDERED that, in accordance with the Court's
ruling dismissing the federal claims, the state law claims are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.