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Goldsmith v. CBS TV Broadcasting, Pittsburgh, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 26, 2015

K. GOLDSMITH, Plaintiff,


MARK R. HORNAK, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kenneth Goldsmith is no stranger to the Court system[1], and he has employed the processes of this Court, and the United States Bankruptcy Court[2] in a seemingly endless campaign against his former landlord, Ms. Constance Lampenfeld Lucey ("Lucey"), various others that are seemingly family and business relations of hers, and now, a local television station and certain of its personnel. He was permitted by this Court to file this action in forma pauperis, and the Court has already once entered a Memorandum Opinion discharging its statutory obligation to consider whether such an IFP Complaint can pass pleading muster under even the most permissive of standards. ECF No. 2.

Now before the Court is an Amended Complaint, ECF No. 29, that this Court permitted Mr. Goldsmith to file when it concluded that it was duty bound under applicable Third Circuit law to permit him yet another try at stating his case after rejecting his first Complaint. Further, he has now also filed several complexly-labelled motions that, boiled down to their substance, are requests that the United States Marshal, at government expense, execute service of process on his behalf, along with a motion to permit yet another amendment of his pro se Complaint.[3] ECF No. 72.

For the reasons that follow, most (but not all) of Mr. Goldsmith's claims will be dismissed with prejudice. Moreover, the Court will order that the Marshal make service of the Documents at ECF Nos. 29, 71 and 72 in this civil action upon the then-remaining Defendants.


The Court has addressed the core of Plaintiffs disputes in previous Memorandum Opinions, ECF No. 2, and ECF Nos. 2, 4 in 12-cv-684, and they will not be set out further except as specifically necessary for these purposes. Mr. Goldsmith now claims that he is a hoarder. Apparently in response to the accumulation of large volumes of personal possessions in his apartment, and his use of the living quarters of that apartment as a repository of all sorts of personal property, and waste, including human waste, he was evicted by Lucey. He has apparently challenged that action in the Pennsylvania state courts, and repeatedly in the Bankruptcy Court, all to no avail He has sought, and received, an emergency hearing from this Court in response to his assertions of its necessity, with the Court concluding upon subsequent hearings in open court that such efforts were simply yet another attack by him on his forced removal from a litter-strewn apartment.

Now, because it appears that there was a news story on KDKA television about his eviction, he claims a number of violations of federally-protected rights, along with state-law torts, by Lucey, various others he claims were associated with her, representatives of the Allegheny County Sheriffs Office (including the now-deceased Deputy in charge of the Real Estate Division of that office), the Allegheny County Health Department, and a number of employees of KDKA-TV along with its corporate owners. He also seeks to sue several people who appear to have no readily discernible connection to any of these matters.


This Court has the duty under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A[4] to consider, again, whether his now Amended Complaint, and even his latest proposed amendment, state claims for relief under federal law, and to permit the claims that do to proceed here, and to dismiss all others.[5]In the past, this Court has explained that the legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) or § 1915A(b)(1) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Detar v. U.S. Gov't, No. 13-1499, 2014 WL 517715, at *2-3 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 7, 2014) (setting forth in detail the requirements of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915). But before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, a court must grant the plaintiff leave to amend his complaint, unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. Id. (citing Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002). While a court must employ less stringent standards when considering pro se pleadings than when judging the work product of an attorney, pro se litigants are not relieved of their obligation to allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim. Detar, 2014 WL 517715, at *2-3.

At this point, the Court concludes that Mr. Goldsmith has received all of the opportunities that law of this Circuit provides or requires for amendatory activity, Grayson, 293 F.3d at 109-10, 114 nn. 10-11, so that line will be drawn here, and now. No more amendments, absent the showing of good cause based on newly discovered (and previously undiscoverable) evidence or a change in the intervening law by the Congress, the United States Supreme Court, or our Court of Appeals. The Court will now proceed with its analysis in that vein.


A. Conspiracy

If there is a federal claim involved in this case at all, it must arise under a federal statute or the Constitution. The only transaction or occurrence that can plausibly support any such Constitutional claim is that there was some sort of conspiracy between Lucey, the County Sheriffs office, and a supervisor from the County Health Department that was allegedly present at the eviction, to allow a KDKA reporter/videographer to enter Mr. Goldsmith's apartment "under color of state law" when the Sheriff evicted him. Hanlon v. Berger, 526 U.S. 808 (1999); Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603 (1999).

As to Lucey, Plaintiff now seems to assert[6] that she pre-arranged with the Sheriff's Office, the Health Department Supervisor (Chongaway) and KDKA-TV for a KDKA-TV reporter (Griffin) and videographer (Lawson) to be present and to participate in the eviction by the Sheriff at Mr. Goldsmith's apartment. That could plausibly state a claim for a violation of his Constitutional rights by the Sheriff, and by those that had conspired with the Sheriff. The Court will deem the Complaint amended as to Deputy Richard Shim, another Defendant, based on ECF Nos. 72 and 74, on the basis of Plaintiffs very loose assertions that Deputy Shim has now been identified by Mr. Goldsmith as a Deputy actually involved in the eviction and by extension, the alleged conspiracy. That is enough, ...

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