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Greenspan v. Greenspan

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

May 12, 2016

JACOB GREENSPAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOEL GREENSPAN, and JUNE GREENSPAN, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

         Jacob Greenspan ("Plaintiff") is proceeding pro se and has paid the filing fee in this civil diversity action. Pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(A), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g), D.S.C., pretrial matters involving pro se litigants are referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration. After careful review, the undersigned recommends that the Complaint should be summarily dismissed, without prejudice and without issuance and service of process, for the following reasons:

         I. Background and Factual Allegations

         In his own words, the pro se Plaintiff is suing his parents for "damages arising out of the fractured relationship between Plaintiff and Defendants' (sic)." (DE# 1, ¶ 7). Proceeding under diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff brings state law claims against his parents for alleged "breach of fiduciary relationship, " constructive fraud, civil conspiracy, and defamation.

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that his parents have allegedly made unspecified statements concerning his "mental health and competence, and the state of Plaintiff's personal and professional lives." (DE# 1, ¶ 9). He alleges that his parents have attacked his "character" and held him "out to be an individual that (sic) is not to be taken seriously." ( Id., ¶ 10). He complains that his parents have provided "Plaintiff's family and friends with the belief that Plaintiff is to blame for the problems that exist in the relationship between Plaintiff and Defendants' (sic)." ( Id., ¶ 11). He contends that unspecified statements by his parents have caused others "to perceive him as "troubled" and "to question Plaintiff's ability to think and act for himself." ( Id., ¶ 12). Plaintiff insists that he has "no history of mental health problems." ( Id., ¶ 14). He claims that he is therefore "entitled to recover actual, consequential and incidental damages and punitive damages from Defendants' (sic)." ( Id., ¶ 20).

         In his cause of action for "Breach of Fiduciary Duty, " Plaintiff alleges that:

A fiduciary relationship was established between Plaintiff and Defendants' (sic) based upon the nature of Defendants' parental relationship to Plaintiff in which Plaintiff was, in fact, accustomed to being guided and influenced by the judgment and advice of Defendants' (sic), and Defendants' inducement of Plaintiff into placing his trust and confidence in the integrity and fidelity of Defendants' (sic) by agreeing to be guided by Defendants' judgment and advice in reliance of Defendants' promise of financial support.

(DE# 1, ¶ 21). Plaintiff complains that his parents advanced "their own interests ahead of Plaintiff's best interests" and that "such actions and omissions constitute Defendants' failures to act with due care, loyally (sic), and in good faith and with due regard for Plaintiffs' interests." ( Id., ¶ 23).

         Similarly, in his cause of action for "constructive fraud, " Plaintiff alleges that "a fiduciary relationship existed in which Defendants' (sic) breached their fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff." ( Id., ¶ 27). He alleges that the "Defendants' (sic) intentionally and willfully abused and betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in them by Plaintiff with the intention of advancing their own interests ahead of Plaintiff's best interests." ( Id., ¶ 28).

         Finally, in his cause of action against his parents for "conspiracy" with each other, Plaintiff contends that the "Defendants' (sic) acted together in denying and continuing to deny their wrongful actions" and "have continuously relied upon the manipulation of facts and information with the intentions of absolving themselves of any wrongdoing and relieving themselves of the financial burden associated with their promises made to Plaintiff due to Defendants' (sic) dissatisfaction with their own judgment and the advice offered to Plaintiff." ( Id., ¶¶ 33-34).

         For relief, Plaintiff seeks "an award of all actual, compensatory, consequential, and incidental damages, " punitive damages, and the costs of suit. Although Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he asks for "attorney fees." (DE# 1, ¶ 41).

         II. Standard of Review

         A. No Screening Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915(e)(2)

         Pre-screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is not applicable in pro se, non-prisoner, fee-paid cases (such as the present case). See e.g.,Chong Su Yi v. Social Sec. Admin., 554 F.Appx. 247 (4th Cir. 2014); Mayhew v. Duffy, Case No. 2:14-cv-24-RMG-BM, 2014 WL 468938, *1 (D.S.C. Feb. 4, 2014). Therefore, the Magistrate Judge is not conducting initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. As Plaintiff has paid the filing fee, screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) is also not applicable. See, e.g., Bardes v. Magera, Case No. 2:08-487-PMD-RSC, 2008 WL 2627134, *8-10 (D.S.C. June ...


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