United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
BRANDON L. FAKE, Plaintiff,
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Defendants.
J. Pappert, Judge
L. Fake brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the First
Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and Judges Diane R.
Thompson and Margaret T. Murphy. Fake raises various claims
associated with contentious divorce, support and custody
proceedings between Fake and his ex-wife that began in 2004.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses the
Amended Complaint with prejudice.
2016, Fake filed a complaint in this Court in which he sued
44 defendants based on an alleged conspiracy dating back to
2004 in the Philadelphia Courts. Fake v. Philadelphia Ct.
of Common Pleas, No. 16-3893 (E.D. Pa. filed July 18,
2016.) On July 27, 2016, the Court dismissed Fake's
complaint and allowed him to file an amended complaint.
Fake v. Philadelphia Ct. of Common Pleas, No.
16-3893, 2016 WL 4039654, at *5 (E.D. Pa. July 27, 2016). In
its Memorandum, the Court advised Fake that he lacked
standing to raise claims on behalf of third parties; that he
could not assert claims under federal criminal statutes or
claims based on alleged deficiencies in the investigation and
prosecution of his ex-wife; that most of his claims were
barred by Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations;
he had not provided sufficient allegations to properly plead
a claim of conspiracy; the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
is not subject to liability under § 1983; and that
judges are absolutely immune from liability under § 1983
unless they act in the clear absence of all jurisdiction.
Id. at 3-5.
then filed an amended complaint naming 28 defendants.
Fake v. Philadelphia Ct. of Common Pleas, No.
16-3893 (E.D. Pa. filed Aug. 29, 2016). On October 17, 2016,
the Court dismissed Fake's claims under 18 U.S.C. §
242 and 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2), again telling Fake that the
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is not subject to
liability under § 1983, and that he had not pled a
plausible conspiracy claim. Fake v. Philadelphia Ct. of
Common Pleas, No. 16-3893, 2016 WL 6071365, at *2-8
(E.D. Pa. Oct. 17, 2016). The Court provided Fake
“leave to file a second amended complaint in the event
it is possible for him to state a timely claim against a
proper defendant who is not entitled to immunity.”
Id. at *8.
subsequently filed a second amended complaint naming the City
of Philadelphia, Dianne Fake (his ex-wife), Under Secretary
of the Navy Patrick Murphy, and four judges who served on the
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas during the relevant time
period. Fake v. Philadelphia Ct. of Common Pleas,
No. 16-3893 (E.D. Pa. filed Nov. 21, 2016). On December 21,
2016, the Court dismissed the second amended complaint.
Fake v. City of Philadelphia, No. 16-3893, 2016 WL
7429009, at *6 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 21, 2016). Fake had again
failed to state a conspiracy claim and had not stated a basis
for a claim against the City of Philadelphia. Id. at
*3-6. The Third Circuit affirmed the ruling. Fake v. City
of Philadelphia, __ F. App'x __, No. 17-1173, 2017
WL 3601248 (3d Cir. Aug. 22, 2017).
Fake filed this case. On August 11, 2017, the Court received
Fake's initial complaint and motion to proceed in
forma pauperis. On August 28, 2017, the Court granted
Fake leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed
the complaint, and allowed him to file an amended complaint
within thirty (30) days. (ECF No. 4.) He filed a 33-page
Amended Complaint and 759 pages of exhibits on September 29,
2017. (ECF No. 6.)
Amended Complaint, Fake contends that the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania,
and Judges Margaret Murphy and Diane Thompson have violated
his rights to due process and equal protection throughout
proceedings related to custody of Fake's children. (Am.
Compl. at 2.) Fake provides a detailed timeline of events,
ranging from August 9, 2016 to September 25, 2017, that he
alleges have occurred in those proceedings. (Id. at
5-31.) Overall, Fake is unhappy about various rulings that
have been made in the support proceedings by Judges Murphy
noted above, the Court previously granted Fake leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to
dismiss the complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a
complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains “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. Furthermore, the Court may also consider matters
of public record. Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist.,
452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). As Fake is proceeding
pro se, the Court construes his allegations
liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333,
339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Claims Under Criminal Statutes
vaguely contends that the defendants have violated various
criminal statutes, including 18 U.S.C. § 2382. As the
Court has previously informed Fake, criminal statutes do not
provide a basis for civil liability. See Cent. Bank of
Dover, N.A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A.,
511 U.S. 164, 190 (1994) (“We have been quite reluctant
to infer a private right of action from a criminal
prohibition alone[.].”); see also Chen ex rel. V.D.
v. Lester, 364 F. App'x 531, 536 (11th Cir. 2010)
(affirming dismissal of claims brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 2382); Landes v. Burger, No. 90-7975, 1991 WL
175376, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 6, 1991) (noting that plaintiff
could not bring a civil action pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
2382). Thus, any claims brought pursuant to criminal statutes
Claims Raising Disability, Religion, and ...