United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 23, 2017, the plaintiff, Laurel Castaños,
filed the instant pro se civil complaint. (Doc. 1).
Along with her complaint, the plaintiff filed a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2). Since the
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court
will accordingly give the plaintiff's complaint
preliminary consideration under 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B). Based on its preliminary consideration of
the plaintiff's complaint, the court will
DISMISS the complaint for failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted.
complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on October 20, 2017
federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(“ICE”) agents arrested her domestic partner,
Jose Rodriguez, without a warrant in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. (Doc. 1). According to the complaint, the ICE
agents informed the plaintiff that they were transporting Mr.
Rodriguez to the Pike County Correctional Facility due to his
2008 guilty pleas and convictions for unspecified crimes.
(Id.). The plaintiff further maintains that she
suffers from an unspecified “auto-immune disease”
that tends to flare up during stressful situations, such as
her domestic partner's arrest. (Id.). As relief,
the plaintiff requests that Mr. Rodriguez be released from
his detention with ICE. (Id.).
irreducible constitutional minimum of standing contains three
elements.” E.g. Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). First, the plaintiff must have
suffered an “injury in fact” that is concrete,
particularized, and imminent, as opposed to merely
conjectural or hypothetical. Id. at 560. Second,
there must be a “causal connection” that is
“fairly traceable” from the alleged injury to the
legal violation complained of. Id. Finally, it must
be “likely, ” as opposed to merely
“speculative, ” that the injury will be
“redressed by a favorable decision.” Id.
‘injury in fact' test . . . requires that the party
seeking review be himself among the injured.”
Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 734-35 (1972).
“Ordinarily, one may not claim standing in this Court
to vindicate the constitutional rights of some third
party.” Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 114
(1976) (citing Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, 255
(1953)). Here, the pro se plaintiff does precisely
this. Rather than asserting that her own rights were violated
by the government's actions and requesting relief on
behalf of her own personal injuries, the plaintiff instead
asserts that a third party's rights were violated and
requests relief on behalf of this outside person. (Doc. 1).
“Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights which,
like some other constitutional rights, may not be vicariously
asserted.” Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128,
133 (1978) (quoting Alderman v. United States, 394
U.S. 165, 174 (1969)). Moreover, the plaintiff's alleged
auto-immune disease presumably existed long before Mr.
Rodriguez's arrest. As such, any attempt by the plaintiff
to assert that she was injured due to flare ups of her
auto-immune disease is still insufficient to confer standing,
as it is not fairly traceable to the alleged legal violation.
See Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560.
the plaintiff cannot file the instant complaint on Mr.
Rodriguez's behalf as his legal representative.
“The rule that a non-lawyer may not represent another
person in court is a venerable common law rule.”
Collinsgru v. Palmyra Bd. of Educ., 161 F.3d 225,
232 (3d Cir. 1998). Federal courts have consistently rejected
attempts at third-party lay representation of this nature.
See, e.g., Leyfert v. Commonwealth of Pa. House
of Representatives, 2005 WL 3433995, at *2 (E.D. Pa.
Dec. 13, 2005). Accordingly, only Mr. Rodriguez (or an
attorney acting on his behalf) could bring a lawsuit with
proper standing to challenge his detention on constitutional
grounds. The plaintiff here has no such ability. The
appropriate avenue for relief would be a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus, not a civil complaint.
foregoing reasons, the plaintiff's complaint will be
DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim on which
relief may be granted. A separate order shall issue.
 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B) directs
the court to “dismiss the case . . . if the court
determines that . . . the action or appeal (i) is frivolous
or malicious (ii), fails to state a claim on which relief may
be granted, or (iii) seeks monetary relief ...