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Long v. Wolf

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 1, 2019

ERIC LONG, Plaintiff,
v.
GOVERNOR TOM WOLF, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WENDY BEETLESTONE, J.

         Pro se Plaintiff Eric Long brings this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants-the current Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, and two financial executives, David J. Eiswert and Abbey Johnson-conspired to take over $18 billion in assets belonging to him. Defendant Wolf now moves to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim, which will be granted for the foregoing reasons. In addition, the Court will sua sponte dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim against the remaining Defendants.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Although the Complaint is sparse and, at times, difficult to follow, Plaintiff's claims appear to relate to his 2017 bankruptcy filing. See In re Eric Long, No. 17-bk-10828 (E.D. Pa. Bankr. 2017).[1] There, Plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, claiming liabilities of $6, 323 and assets of roughly $202 million in the form of various investment holdings. Over the course of the proceedings, however, the Trustee was unable to confirm that Plaintiff owned those assets because he failed to produce proper documentation to that effect. The Trustee explained that Plaintiff instead produced “daily internet quote[s]” for investment funds, without any documentation that he owned the assets managed by those funds. On August 22, 2017, the Trustee filed a Chapter 7 Report of No. Distribution, finding “that there is no property available for distribution from the estate over and above that exempted by law.” As the Bankruptcy Judge later explained in a footnote order:

The Trustee has filed a report stating that there are no assets to administer and the Debtor is dissatisfied with that decision. It appears that the Debtor[] believes that the Trustee is not collecting what the Debtor believes to be very valuable asset. (The Debtor also appears to be under the impression that the Trustee's job is to help the Debtor gain control of the Debtor's assets and to deliver those assets to the Debtor. Not true. The Trustee's job is [to] collect and administer assets for the benefit of creditors).
In any event, the Debtor believes that he has submitted information to the Trustee showing the existence of a valuable asset in which the Trustee should be showing some interest. The Trustee disagrees and has concluded that the Debtor has provided him with no evidence that a valuable asset exists.
Because the Debtor has been copying the court with all of his correspondence regarding the supposed asset, I also have reviewed the “evidence” regarding the existence of this asset. Having done so, I agree with the Trustee that the documents submitted by the Debtor do not demonstrate that he owns any valuable asset that might be administered in this bankruptcy case and I see no reason to override the Trustee's judgment.

See In re Eric Long, No. 17-bk-10828 (E.D. Pa. Bankr. 2017) at ECF No. 70.

         Plaintiff filed this action on December 28, 2018, claiming “state officials, ” including Wolf, “entered into [a] conspiracy” with Johnson and Eiswert-respectively, the president of Fidelity Investments and a “Plan Sponsor” at T. Rowe Price. Plaintiff further asserts that on August 22, 2017-the day that the bankruptcy Trustee filed his Chapter 7 Report of No Distribution-Defendants took “accounts, investments, security, [and] bonds” belonging to Plaintiff “in the amount of $18, 869, 591, 676.52.”[2] In addition, Plaintiff attached to the Complaint what appear to be quotes for six different global stock funds, each containing information about the fund: its name, its symbol, its CUSIP identification number, its inception date, its net assets at some point in 2015, and a brief summary of the fund. At the top of each page is Plaintiff's name and Social Security Number.

         Initially, Plaintiff moved to proceed in forma pauperis. On January 3, 2019, the Court denied the motion on the ground that he failed to comply with the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and advised Plaintiff that within thirty days he was required to either file a certified copy of his prisoner account or else pay the filing fee. Plaintiff failed to do either, and on February 21, 2019, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice for failure to prosecute. On March 4, 2019, Plaintiff submitted a letter requesting the Court reinstate the matter. On March 12, 2019, the Court granted the motion, again advising Plaintiff that within thirty days he was required to either file a certified copy of his prisoner account or else pay the filing fee. On March 26, 2019, Plaintiff paid the requisite filing fee, and on April 4, 2019, the Court directed the U.S. Marshals to make service of the summons and Complaint on the Defendants.

         On April 3, 2019, Defendant Wolf filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. Defendants Johnson and Eiswert have not filed responsive pleadings.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “Threadbare” recitations of the elements of a claim supported only by “conclusory statements” will not suffice. Id. at 683. Rather, a plaintiff must allege some facts to raise the allegation above the level of mere speculation. Great W. Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 176 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In analyzing a motion to dismiss legal conclusions are disregarded, well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and a determination is made whether those facts state a “plausible claim for relief.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009).

         III. ...


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