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Caterbone v. National Security Agency

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 28, 2017



          EDWARD G. SMITH, J.

         The pro se plaintiff, a purported telepath, has commenced a civil rights action against various federal, state, and local authorities based primarily on allegations that the government has been reading and controlling his mind for three decades. Due to the plaintiff's prior, unsuccessful (a term he disputes) attempts to assert these precise claims in this district, he originally filed this case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania hoping that the court would accept venue over the case. Although the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted the plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis, the court unsurprisingly transferred the case here because of improper venue.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court has thoroughly reviewed the plaintiff's amended complaint in this case. The court has also reviewed his other submissions, including three motions he filed after commencing the action. As explained in more detail below, the court will dismiss the amended complaint because (1) the allegations are factually frivolous, (2) it fails to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, (3) the plaintiffs improperly attempt to raise civil claims based on criminal statutes, (4) several of the defendants are immune from the plaintiffs' constitutional claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and (5) many of the constitutional claims are time barred. The court will also deny the plaintiffs' motions. Nonetheless, the court will allow the plaintiffs an opportunity to file an amended complaint regarding incidents that occurred with at least one of the defendants when the individual plaintiff was subjected to two involuntary commitments in 2015 and 2016.


         The pro se plaintiff, Stanley J. Caterbone (“Caterbone”), purportedly representing himself and an entity identified as Advanced Media Group, commenced an action against the defendants, the National Security Agency (“NSA”), the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (“DARPA”), the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency (“DIA”), the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney General, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, the Lancaster County Commissioners, Lancaster County Crisis Intervention, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Department, former Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police, and Detective Clark Bearinger of the Lancaster City Bureau of Police, on December 21, 2016, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. See Doc. Nos. 1, 1-1 - 1-6.[1] Caterbone also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         The plaintiffs' initiating document, which is noted on the docket as a complaint, is titled: “Preliminary Injunction for Emergency Relief § 1512. Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.” See Doc. No. 1-1 at 1. The document is voluminous and rambling, and it totals 181 pages including exhibits. See Doc. Nos. 1-1 - 1-6.[2]

         It appears that Caterbone, a resident of Lancaster County who has previously filed numerous civil actions in this district, [3] filed the action on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Middle District of Pennsylvania because the Eastern District is a “[h]ostile [e]nvironment” and is “being used as a means of causing severe mental anguish, pain, and suffering - which is in essence obstruction of justice in the most extreme sense[.]” See Doc. No. 1 at 2.[4] Caterbone acknowledges that, through the instant action, he is attempting to complete his prior, voluntarily dismissed action filed in this court at Civil Action No. 16-4014. See Id. (“THE PLAINTIFF IS ATTEMPTING TO COMPLETE THE “Case No. 16-cv-4014 CATERBONE v. [T]he United States of America et[] al., COMPLAINT December 20, 2016.”). In support of his desire to have his case heard in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Caterbone asserts, inter alia, that (1) he will have to expend substantially less costs in litigating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, (2) “computer hackers have left [him] without most of his online accounts, including PACER, which is used to file and track federal cases leaving [him] to travel to the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia on a semi[-]weekly basis to obtain docket sheets for his federal cases, ” and (3) “[a]ttendance of any and all court related hearings, if required, would be possible in the Middle District Court, and unimaginable in the Eastern District anticipating the perpetrators would make it difficult, if not impossible, when resolutions are in the works; already proven to happen on numerous occasions.” Id. In addition to the aforementioned purported reasons to have the Middle District of Pennsylvania preside over his previously voluntarily dismissed civil action, the plaintiffs include a “Notice and Disclaimer” with their initiating document. Id. at 3. The notice and disclaimer states in pertinent part as follows:

Notice and Disclaimer:Stan J. Caterbone and the Advanced Media Group have been slandered, defamed, and publicly discredited since 1987 due to going public (Whistle Blower) with allegations of misconduct and fraud within International Signal & Control, Plc. of Lancaster, Pa. (ISC pleaded guilty to selling arms to Iraq via South Africa and a $1 Billion Fraud in 1992). Unfortunately we are forced to defend our reputation and the truth without the aid of law enforcement and the media, which would normally prosecute and expose public corruption. We utilize our communications to thwart further libelous and malicious attacks on our person, our property, and our business. We continue our fight for justice through the Courts, and some communications are a means of protecting our rights to continue in our pursuit of justice. Advanced Media Group is also a member of the media. . . . How long can Lancaster County and Lancaster City hide me and Continue to Cover-Up my Whistle Blowing of the ISC Scandel [sic] (And the Torture from U.S. Sponsored Mind Control)?


         In the portion of the initiating document in which the plaintiffs include their arguments in support of their request for injunctive relief, Caterbone asserts that “he has been a prisoner of the ‘state' since 1987, ” and he has been subjected to a “daily occurrence of assaults.” Id. at 4. With respect to the precise relief requested, the plaintiffs (in reality, it is just Caterbone) state:

The PLAINTIFF seeks immediate relief from the above in the form of sanctions and fines for those guilty of extortion and embezzlement and those withholding accounts receivables. PLAINTIFF seeks immediate relief from the law enforcement agencies that continue abuse of process. PLAINTIFF seeks relief, in as much as the courts are able, with regards to the harassment and torture from those known of such crimes. The Complainant seeks relief from stalking and harassing neighbors and requires law enforcement to make sure households can identify all occupants and prove they are entitled to the lease and or deed. Due to the actions and criminal activity of the above named DEFENDANTS, it is reasonable to prove that every aspect of PLAINTIFF'S life, is subject to undo [sic] influence; harassment; torture; obstruction; etc. thus resulting in irreparable harm and injury. This situation and set of circumstances as outlined here, and all previous filings; reports; and statements, is a prescription for only one endgame - death or suicide. There is no life action or activity that is immune from this horrendous HATE CRIME. The precedent and landmark elements that make this so appalling is that the Complainant has never done anything to set these circumstances in motion but to be right regarding International Signal & Control back in 1987; as well as many other proclamations and forecasts. That being said, it is also widely reported that many Targeted Individuals and Victims of U.S. Sponsored Mind Control are lead to death and/or suicide. The Lancaster Community-At-Large is guilty of creating; abetting; fostering; and executing this tragedy. The fact that local; state; and federal law enforcement induce and encourage this environment of hate is landmark.

Id. Caterbone further states that he is seeking to have the court (1) award him amounts set forth in his “pro se billings invoice, ” and (2) enter summary judgment in all of his cases filed in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas and in this court. Id. at 5.

         Caterbone then goes on to discuss “targeted individuals” (these are individuals declared to be an “enemy of the state”), the FBI's counter intelligence program (“COINTELPRO”) and its history, and CIA mind control experiments with descriptions of some of them. Id. at 6-28. He then provides some biographical information about himself and Advanced Media Group. Id. at 29-34. The following is just a sample of some of the biographical information provided by the plaintiffs:

CATERBONE had been a victim of organized stalking since 1987 and a victim of electronic and direct energy weapons since 2005. CATERBONE had also been telepathic since 2005. In 2005 the U.S. Sponsored Mind Control turned into an all-out assault of mental telepathy; synthetic telepathy; hacking of all electronic devices; vand[a]lism and thefts of personal property, extortions, intellectual property violations, obstruction of justice; violations of due process; thefts and modifications of court documents; and pain and torture through the use of directed energy devices and weapons that usually fire a low frequency electromagnetic energy at the targeted victim. This assault was no coincidence in that it began simultaneously with the filing of the federal action in U.S. District Court, or CATERBONE v. Lancaster County Prison, et al., or 05-cv-2288. This assault began after the handlers remotely trained/synchronized Stan J. Caterbone with mental telepathy. The main difference opposed to most other victims of this technology is that CATERBONE is connected 24/7 with the same person who declares telepathically she is a known celebrity. Over the course of 10 years CATERBONE had been telepathic with at least 20 known persons and have spent 10 years trying to validate and confirm their identities without success. Most U.S. intelligence agencies refuse to cooperate, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office refuse to comment and act on the numerous formal complaints that are filed in their respective offices .....
CATERBONE had a very sophisticated and authentic library of evidence of the use of U.S. Sponsored Mind Control technologies on my father and brother that dates back to the 1940's while my father was in the U.S. Navy after he graduated with honors from Air Gunners School in Florida, including an affidavit motorized [sic] and authenticated by my father in 1996. My brother served in the U.S. Air [F]orce and was victim to LSD experiments of the infamous MKULTRA program in the late 1960's.
. . .
In 2009 CATERBONE [p]roposed an ORGANIZED STALKING AND DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS HARASSMENT BILL to Pennsylvania House of Representative Mike Sturla (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) and City of Lancaster Mayor Richard Gray in 2009. The draft legislation is the work of Missouri House of Representative Jim Guest, who has been working on helping victims of these horrendous crimes for years. The bill will provide protections to individuals who are being harassed, stalked, harmed by surveillance, and assaulted; as well as protections to keep individuals from becoming human research subjects, tortured, and killed by electronic frequency devices, directed energy devices, implants, and directed energy weapons. CATERBONE again reintroduced the bill to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2015 and frequented the Pennsylvania Capitol trying to find support and a sponsor; which CATERBONE still do [sic] to this day.

Id. at 30-31.[5]

         While the court has specifically referenced the aforementioned sections of the complaint, the initiating document in general contains allegations of CIA and FBI programs dating back to the 1940s, and events in Caterbone's life going back to the 1980s, including his diagnosis with certain psychiatric conditions and his personal, professional, and legal woes. See, e.g., Doc. No. 1-2, Doc. No. 1-3 at 80-110. The complaint recounts Caterbone's arrests and criminal prosecutions in Lancaster County and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, in the late 1980s, early 1990s, and in the 2005 to 2007 time frame. See, e.g., Doc. No. 1-2 at 47-48, 49-51, 66, 78, 98-99, 102. Although the court has thoroughly reviewed the complaint, it is unclear how all of Caterbone's allegations relate to each other or give rise to claims against the defendants, and the court will not recount all of them here.

         Nonetheless, to the extent any harmonizing theme can be gleaned from the complaint, Caterbone appears to be alleging that federal, state, and local governments are conspiring against him, attacking him, torturing him, and threatening his life and property, thereby violating various federal and civil rights laws. The basis for those allegations is, as referenced above, Caterbone's claim that since 1987, he has been a “victim of organized stalking” because of his alleged whistleblowing activities against a defense contractor, and that since 2005, the federal government has been reading his mind, spying on him, and poisoning him. Among other things, Caterbone claims that government authorities are using invisible directed electromagnetic radiation by flying jet planes around his home, which apparently caused him to develop telepathy. It appears that Caterbone reported the government's mind-reading activity and other issues, including perceived personal and business slights, to local, state, and federal authorities, but the authorities did not address his concerns. The complaint also reflects that Caterbone has been repeatedly involuntarily committed over the years, and that he believes those involuntary commitments were improperly fabricated to discredit his allegation about the government controlling his mind, hacking his computer, and otherwise “harassing” him.

         Before the Middle District had an opportunity to address Caterbone's complaint and in forma pauperis motion, Caterbone filed an amended motion for a preliminary injunction with exhibits, totaling 193 pages, on December 27, 2016. Doc. Nos. 1-10 - 1-18. The allegations in the amended document largely duplicate those in Caterbone's complaint and reiterate Caterbone's belief that since 1987, the government has been controlling his mind because of his alleged whistleblowing activities.

         On January 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson issued a report and recommendation, which granted Caterbone leave to proceed in forma pauperis and recommended either dismissing the complaint or transferring it to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.[6] The report recommended dismissing the complaint for the following reasons: (1) it relied on fantastic or delusional scenarios as a basis for a cause of action, such that dismissal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction was warranted under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; (2) it failed to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because it is incomprehensible and lengthy; (3) the Pennsylvania State Police was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity from claims based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (4) the doctrine of sovereign immunity barred any claims that Caterbone sought to raise pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) against the federal agencies; and (5) the applicable two-year statute of limitations barred many of Caterbone's claims. Doc. No. 1-19, Report and Recommendation, at 9-22. Alternatively, the report recommended transferring the case to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406 because venue was improper in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Id. at 22-24. The report further recommended denying Caterbone's motion for a preliminary injunction because his legal claims lacked merit. Id. at 25-28.

         In response to the report and recommendation, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration that essentially reiterated many of their allegations in their prior filings, and again submitted numerous exhibits. Doc. No. 1-20. In the motion, Caterbone pointed out that he filed the action, at least in part, to seek relief based on the same claims he previously voluntarily withdrew. See Id. at 1 (indicating that “this injunction was filed in an effort to continue the litigation that was ordered and remanded back to U.S. District Court by the U.S.C.A., and ordered withdrawn without prejudice (05-02288; 06-04650; 08-02982; 16-04641) by halting illegal and criminal activities by the named said actors” (emphasis and all-capitalization omitted)).[7] Judge Carlson issued a report and recommendation on January 9, 2017, which recommended denying the motion for reconsideration. Doc. No. 1-27. Caterbone responded to this second report ...

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