United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MS. VIRGINIA K. PARKER, Plaintiff,
TIFFANY N. THOMPSON, et al., Defendants.
DARNELL JONES II, J.
Virginia K. Parker has filed this civil action, raising
claims alleging that her daughter and others have stolen her
Social Security benefits. She has also filed a Motion for
Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) For
the following reasons, the Court will grant Parker leave to
proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss her Complaint
with leave to amend.
Complaint, Parker asserts that she is raising claims based
upon identity theft and the theft of her Social Security
card. (Compl. at 3.) In May of 2014, she started to notice that
she was not receiving her Social Security checks.
(Id. at 4.) She claims that her daughter stole her
identity "to gain [her] Soc. Security funds."
(Id.) Parker "[visited] the office numerous ...
times trying to see where monies went to."
(Id.) She also "hired an investigation
crew." (Id.) Parker notes that she was
receiving Social Security due to her rheumatoid arthritis.
asserts that Mr. DeKaurtis, Supervisor Marsha Hamilton, and
"Maria A." all told her that Social Security checks
would be issued. (Id.) She was told that a second
account had been opened, but states that she never opened a
second account. (Id.) Parker asserts that other
individuals have been involved in the theft of her benefits,
including a lawyer, officers from the Philadelphia Police
Department, and others from the Social Security office.
(Id.) As relief, Parker states that the purpose of
her lawsuit is "so [she] can get [her] monies back and
purchase ... a house and get [her] business started."
(Id. at 5.) She states that she has "plenty of
paperwork" to present and knows "how much monies
was stolen from [her]." (Id.)
has attached numerous exhibits to her Complaint, including
copies of paystubs, paperwork from the Social Security
Administration, letters regarding unemployment benefits, and
various letters Parker has written over the past few years
regarding the alleged theft of her Social Security benefits.
From these letters, the Court gleans that Parker believes
that her daughter, Tiffany Thompson, and other individuals,
including officers from the Philadelphia Police Department,
have conspired to steal her benefits.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Parker leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that she is not capable of
paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly,
Parker's Complaint is subject to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), 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). "[M]ere conclusory
statements do not suffice." Id. As Parker is
proceeding prose, the Court construes her
allegations liberally. Higgs v Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a
complaint to contain "a short a plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A
district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint
that does not comply with Rule 8 if "the complaint is so
confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that
its true substance, if any, is well disguised."
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
(quotations omitted). This Court has noted that Rule 8
"requires that pleadings provide enough information to
put a defendant on sufficient notice to prepare their defense
and also ensure that the Court is sufficiently informed to
determine the issue." Fabian v. St. Mary's Med.
Ctr , No. Civ. A. 16-4741, 2017 WL 3494219, at *3 (E.D.
Pa. Aug. 11, 2017) (quotations omitted).
difficult to determine whether Parker has a basis for a
plausible claim due to the nature in which the Complaint is
pled. In the caption of her Complaint, Parker names Tiffany
Thompson, Marsha Hamilton, Mr. DeKaurtis, Special Officer
Bunion, Officer Kenelly, Lt. Benjamin Fraiser, Catherine
Mansfield (Aunt), Dorothy Houston (Mother), Nyree Preze,
Capt. John McKosely, and Ms. Smallwood as the Defendants.
However, the second page of the Complaint consists of a list
of people, only some of whom were included in the caption,
who have allegedly wronged Parker. Given this, it is
difficult to determine who the Defendants are in this case,
making it difficult to assess the validity of Parker's
appears that Parker believes that some of her family members
have conspired with officials, such as individuals who work
for the Social Security Administration and the Philadelphia
Police Department, to steal her Social Security benefits. To
the extent that Parker is asserting a conspiracy claim
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that claim fails. The
Complaint is devoid of facts that would allow the Court to
infer that these officials and family members formed a
conspiratorial agreement to violate Parker's rights.
See Great Western Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox
Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 178 (3d Cir. 2010)
("[T]o properly plead an unconstitutional conspiracy, a
plaintiff must assert facts from which a conspiratorial
agreement can be inferred.").
Parker is attempting to assert state law tort claims against
the various individuals who are possibly intended to be the
named Defendants, the Court cannot discern at this time
whether it has jurisdiction over those claims. The only basis
for subject matter over such claims would be diversity
jurisdiction. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, a district court
can exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over a case in which
"the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of
$75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between ...
citizens of different States." Id. Section
1332(a) requires '"complete diversity between all
plaintiffs and all defendants,' even though only minimal
diversity is constitutionally required. This means that,
unless there is some other basis for jurisdiction, 'no
plaintiff [may] be a citizen of the same state as any
defendant."' Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life,
LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 104 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting
Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 89 (2005)
and Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v. Wood, 592 F.3d
412, 419 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal footnotes omitted)).
However, it appears from the Complaint that many of the
individuals intended as Defendants are residents of
Pennsylvania, as is Parker herself.
Parker would understandably be upset about the situation she
describes, the Court cannot discern any plausible claims for
relief against any of the individuals named from the way she
has pled her Complaint, as she has not provided any facts to
support her allegations. In deference to Parker's pro
se status, the Court will give her leave to file an
amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this
Memorandum and Order in the event that she can state a
plausible claim that lies within Court's jurisdiction.
Any amended complaint shall be a complete document that
identifies all of the defendants in the caption in addition
to the body, and shall describe in detail the basis for
Parker's claims against each defendant. The amended
complaint should not refer ...