United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
C. DARNELL JONES, II, District Judge.
Plaintiff Yaakov Ben Issachar has brought multiple claims in a pro se Complaint (Dkt. No. 5) against Defendants Yehoram Shaked, Tova Sivan, and Nathan Nachmani (together, the "Foreign Judges"), ELI-American Friends of the Israel Association for Child Protection, Inc., Hanita Zimrin, and Dani Male-Ron (together, the "ELI Defendants"). Presently before the Court are each Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. Nos. 21 & 22), Plaintiff's "Declaration in Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss" (Dkt. Nos. 30 & 31); the Reply Brief of the Foreign Judges (Dkt. No. 34), and the Reply Brief of Dani Male-Ron (Dkt. No. 35). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motions are granted.
I. LEGAL STANDARD
In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008). After the Supreme Court's decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), "threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements" do not suffice. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). "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 of the alleged misconduct." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). This standard, which applies to all civil cases, "asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 678; accord Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ("All civil complaints must contain more than an unadorned the-defendant-unlawfully-harmedme accusation."). Moreover, "the factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant [with] the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8 [of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure]." Villegas v. Weinstein & Riley, P.S., 723 F.Supp.2d 755, 756 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (quoting Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232)
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
For the purpose of deciding the instant Motions, the Court must take all alleged facts as true. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233. Nevertheless, the Court need not accept as true inferences unsupported by facts set out in the Amended Complaint or legal conclusions cast as factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Magnum v. Archdiocese of Phila., 253 F.Appx. 224, 225 (3d Cir. 2007). To be clear, under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, this is required at this stage of the case to evaluate, under a specific overall standard and the frameworks of particular legal claims, whether Plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to establish that he may eventually be entitled to redress such that any of his claim(s) should be allowed to proceed to discovery, summary judgment motion practice, and, potentially, a trial on the merits. Plaintiff makes the following limited factual averments in the Amended Complaint.
On June 18, 2013, Plaintiff Yaakov Ben Issachar ("Plaintiff'), a resident of Israel, filed the instant Complaint alleging Defendants' violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") (18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq ). These allegations stem from a custody battle that took place in the Israeli Courts in 2005-a system that Plaintiff alleges is "expressly discriminatory against men." Plaintiff alleges that his daughter was "kidnapped' with the help of social workers and Judges [the ELI Defendants and Foreign Judges], and locked up in a facility operated by ELI." (Compl. ¶8). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have engaged in a "massive campaign to catch' poor children and transfer them to outplacement facilities (first temporary, and then permanent), [that] is cruel, inhuman, degrading to the parents and children and is conduct that is in gross violation of human rights." ( Id. ¶26). Purportedly as part of this widespread "campaign" in Israel, the ELI Defendants and the Foreign Judges caused harm to Plaintiff through actions related to a custody battle in the Israeli Courts. (Id. ¶4427-37). In 2005, the Foreign Judges ruled that Plaintiffs wife should have custody of the daughter, and the daughter was placed "in an emergency shelter operated by ELI-in Tel Aviv" (Id. ¶¶ 30, 31-38). ELI purportedly has a fundraising arm "ELI-USA, " "registered in... Rydal, Pennsylvania, " which "finance[s] a child prison in Israel and kidnapping of innocent children from parents into outplacement facilities."( Id. ¶10). Plaintiff brings claims against: Defendant Eli-American Friends of The Israel Associate for Child Protection Inc. ("Eli-USA"); Hanita Zimrin and Dani-Male Ron, Israeli citizens "who [are]on the Board of ELI-USA"; and three Israeli Judges Yehoram Shaked, Tova Sivan, and Nathan Nachmani (Id. ¶¶ 10-16).
As to the substance of Count One of Plaintiffs RICO allegations-Acquisition and Maintenance of an Interest in and Control of an Enterprise Engaged in a Pattern of Racketeering Activity: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961(5), 1962(b)", Plaintiff alleges that ELI, which "was granted the authority by Israel's National Ministry of Social Welfare to handle every case of sexual abuse in Central Israel, " created a series of fundraising websites in the United States and engaged in other fundraising efforts, such that ELI could "deceive the above listed donors into giving her (sic) money so that she and co-defendants can increase their salaries, distribute it in clandestine channels, and torment and molest more and more children under the false guise that the children are victims of neglect and abuse' that never happened." (Id. ¶¶ 41-53). These funds, in turn, were "spent in Israel to kidnap children from parents, to incarcerate children in facilities and to launch a war against the whistleblowers and activists who started protests against this organization." (Id. ¶54). Plaintiff also alleges that: "ELI, Zimrin and Male-Ron also operate a therapy clinic for sexually molested children. They use the money collected in the United States to encourage women in divorce to fabricate false charges of sexual molestation by the father of the children to yield two goals: Defendants are enriched and supplied with jobs, while the women in divorce are able to get automatic custody, and take over all of the husbands' money." This and other activities on a part of the Defendants allegedly are part of a conspiracy to "silence the Plaintiff" Plaintiff also details that a number of actions allegedly taken by Defendants in connection with the Israeli custody dispute amount to "predicate acts" and constituted a "continuing threat of their respective racketeering activities" in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(b).
As to Count Two-"Conduct and Participation in a RICO Enterprise through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961(5), 1962(c)-Plaintiff realleges his previous allegations and further alleges that:
The RICO enterprise complained of begins in the United States by way of false or unlicensed fundraising, the fruits of which then sent to Israel to start campaigns that inflate the severity of the problem, so as to put pressure on the ministry of Welfare to give ELI monopoly in certain territory so that when the public calls the hotline to complain of any minor behavioral problem with a child, ELI then is recommended to Sivan, Shaked and Nachmani, who rubber stamp Welfare documents. Then police is used to kidnap the children, without due process, and place them in prisons for what is supposed to be three years but can last much longer. The money from the U.S. is then spent for salaries, trips overseas and payments to confidants who work closely with Sivan, Shaked and Nachmani.
( Id. ¶70)
Finally, as to the third and final Count-"Conspiracy to Engage in a Pattern of Racketeering Activity: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961(5), 1962(d)"-Plaintiff merely recites the statutory elements of the claim.
A. The Foreign ...