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Elansari v. Ramirez

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 6, 2020

AMRO ELANSARI, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAY O. RAMIREZ, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          KEARNEY, J.

         Amro Elansari's most recent pro se initiative before us involves suing his local police for not prosecuting an Oregonian for conduct relating to their efforts to build a website for an internet-based game. He also sues the Oregonian and Paypal, Inc. for $44, 000 for violating Pennsylvania criminal statutes. As he does in every one of his cases dismissed as frivolous, [1] he again moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis because he cannot afford to both sue and pay his monthly rent and food based on a $1200 monthly income.[2] Solely because he swears to qualifying for pauper status, we grant Mr. Elansari leave to proceed in forma pauperis, we dismiss his Complaint as legally frivolous as can not sue the police for deciding not to prosecute over a civil dispute involving a failed joint effort to develop a video game, and then sue the Oregonian and Paypal for $44, 000 for violating Pennsylvania criminal statutes.

         I. Alleged pro se facts.

         Pennsylvanian Amro Elansari had an idea for an internet-based video game. He met Shay Ramirez, who lives in Oregon, online and paid him to develop certain aspects of the game. Mr. Elansari purchased a domain name in connection with this project and gave Mr. Ramirez access to the website. He paid Mr. Ramirez no more than $110 for his services.[3]Mr. Elansari alleges Mr. Ramirez "kept swindeling [sic]" him by asking for more money, which Mr. Elansari paid because he wanted the project to be completed.[4]

         Mr. Ramirez completed the project but then told Mr. Elansari he quit, all the files had been deleted, and he needed more money. Mr. Elansari refused to pay more money, so Mr. Ramirez wiped the server containing the information for the game and replaced the content of the game's website with "curse words and content not relevant to the website."[5]

         Mr. Elansari alleges Mr. Ramirez's conduct violates Pennsylvania's criminal laws and reported Mr. Ramirez to the police in Eugene, Oregon. Mr. Elansari learned he would have to file a police report through Pennsylvania authorities for action to be taken. Mr. Elansari then spoke with an officer of the West Goshen Police Department in Pennsylvania but was told his dispute with Mr. Ramirez was a civil matter and the police would not be acting.[6]

         Figuring he can file here without paying the fees required by every other citizen because he swears to be a pauper, Mr. Elansari sued Mr. Ramirez, the West Goshen Police and two of its officers (Officer Riley and Lt. Carrol), and Paypal, Inc. As best as we can discern, Mr. Elansari made payments to Mr. Ramirez using Paypal. He asserts civil rights claims against the West Goshen Police and its officers for failure to protect and claims against Mr. Ramirez and Paypal for violation of Pennsylvania criminal law.[7] Mr. Elansari seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief "in the form of having [his] website restored to the status it was prior to the unauthorized disruption."[8] He also wants Mr. Ramirez to be prosecuted for his alleged crimes.[9]

         II. Analysis.

         We grant Mr. Elansari leave to proceed in forma pauperis as he is incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), we must dismiss his Complaint if it is frivolous. A complaint is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact, "[10] and is legally baseless if it is "based on an indisputably meritless legal theory."[11] As Mr. Elansari is proceeding pro se, we construe his allegations liberally.[12]

         A. We dismiss federal claims against West Goshen Police and officers.

         Mr. Elansari sues his local police under our civil rights laws for deciding not to prosecute Mr. Ramirez. "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law."[13] Mr. Elansari is essentially asserting a due process claim based on a theory the police failed to protect him from Mr. Ramirez or their failure to prosecute Mr. Ramirez constitutes a state-created danger. "As a general matter, ... a State's failure to protect an individual against private violence simply does not constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause."[14]

         Further, "the benefit that a third party may receive from having someone else arrested for a crime generally does not trigger protections under the Due Process Clause, neither in its procedural nor in its 'substantive' manifestations."[15] In other words, "there is no constitutional right to the investigation or prosecution of another."[16] There is no possible legal basis for Mr. Elansari's claims against the West Goshen Police and its officers based on his private dispute with Mr. Ramirez.

         B. We dismiss Pennsylvania criminal statutory claims against Mr. Ramirez and Paypal.

         Mr. Elansari's claims against Mr. Ramirez and Paypal are based on two Pennsylvania criminal statutes, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 7611, which criminalizes unlawful use of a computer, and 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 7612, ...


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