United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the civil complaint received by
pro se plaintiff Mary Jo Bundy Everage as well as
Ms. Everage's personal business, Everage Real Estate,
Inc. [R. 1.] Ms. Everage, who has moved to proceed in
forma pauperis in this matter, seeks millions of dollars
in damages from the Nashville Songwriters Association
International (“NSAI”) for actions members of
NSAI have allegedly taken against her over the last twenty
years. For the reasons that follow, Ms. Everage's motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be
GRANTED, but upon the Court's initial screening of this
matter, her complaint will be DISMISSED.
Eastern District of Kentucky has encountered pro se
plaintiff Mary Jo Bundy Everage on a number of occasions. In
2006, during a criminal proceeding against the plaintiff, the
court ordered that Ms. Everage be involuntarily administered
anti-psychotic medication. See United States v.
Everage, No. 05-cr-11-DLB (E.D. Ky. 2006). And both
before and after that time, Everage has been a pro
se party to a number of civil matters. For example,
Everage has filed a complaint for violations of her civil
rights in conjunction with an arrest, see Everage v.
Whitaker, No. 05-cv-115-KKC (E.D. Ky. 2006); an action
regarding her dissatisfaction with a Ford pick-up truck,
see Everage v. Ford Motor Co., No. 04-cv-549-KKC
(E.D. Ky. 2005); a complaint for damages stemming from the
2006 administration of psychotropic medication, see
Everage Real Estate, Inc. v. United States, No.
7:17-cv-99-EBA (E.D. Ky. 2018); and at least two actions
against television networks for their alleged invasions of
privacy and “targeting”, see Everage v.
Central Broadcasting Sys. Corp., Inc., et al., No.
7:18-cv-102-KKC (E.D. Ky. 2018); Everage v. ABC
Television Network, Inc., et al., No. 7:18-cv-119-REW
(E.D. Ky. 2018).
present matter Everage alleges that, as a result of certain
relationships she formed with Nashville musicians in the late
1990's, members of the NSAI have “mocked and
targeted [her] in shows like the CMA Awards on CBS, news
shows, in concerts like Celtic Woman, and nearly every show
[CBS] produces on TV.” [R. 1 at 3.] Everage details
challenges she has faced over the last twenty years of her
life and attributes those to either Nashville entertainers
from the NSAI or to persons of German descent. [See
Id. at 5 (“Every ‘hit' I have taken
during all of this time leads straight back to Nashville and
the Germans.”).] And, ultimately, Everage seeks
millions of dollars in damages for the denial of her
constitutional right to pursue happiness, which has allegedly
been caused by the defendant. [Id. at 6.]
Court has reviewed the financial information provided by Ms.
Everage [see R. 3] and will allow Everage to proceed
in this matter as a pauper. Because Everage has been granted
pauper status, the $50.00 administrative fee will be waived.
See District Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule,
§ 14. In addition, the Court will conduct a preliminary
screening of Everage's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). See, e.g., In re: Prison Litigation
Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir. 1997) (noting
the district court must still screen complaints filed by
non-prisoners under § 1915(e)). Under that governing
statute, the Court shall dismiss any portion of Everage's
complaint that is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Because Everage is proceeding without an
attorney, the Court evaluates her complaint under a more
lenient standard. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th
Cir. 2003). At this stage of the proceedings, the Court
accepts Everage's factual allegations as true and
liberally construes Everage's legal claims in her favor.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
the lenient construction afforded to Ms. Everage's
pro se complaint at this early stage of the
proceedings, her action must be dismissed. The complaint in
this matter suffers from myriad problems but, most
importantly, the complaint lacks a legal basis for the relief
Ms. Everage seeks. The only legal authority Everage
references in support of her claims is “the United
States Constitution which guarantees [her] life, liberty and
The pursuit of happiness, all of which have been denied me by
the entertainment world.” [R. 1 at 6.] Everage then
refers vaguely to “hate crimes”, though she does
not articulate any statutory or common law hate crimes
specifically. [Id.] To the extent Everage hoped to
sue the NSAI for violations of her civil rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, that statute only applies where a
defendant acts under the color of state law. See,
e.g., West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48-49
(1988). There is no indication in the complaint that the
NSAI, a not-for-profit songwriters trade association, was
acting under the color of state law at any relevant time.
to the extent Everage hoped to proceed not pursuant to §
1983 but under the Court's diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the
complaint still fails to articulate any cognizable claims.
When sitting in diversity, a federal court applies the
substantive law of the state in which it sits. Hayes v.
Equitable Energy Resources Co., 266 F.3d 560, 566 (6th
Cir. 2001) (citing Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg.
Co., 313 U.S. 487, 496 (1941)). However, the complaint
is still subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
which require “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as
well as facial plausibility. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78
(2009). After reviewing the complaint and its context, it is
clear that Everage's vague references to the destruction
of her career and the deprivation of her constitutional
rights do not provide the required level of facial
plausibility under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or
governing case law. See Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678-79
(“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.”). Therefore,
Everage's complaint will be dismissed, and this matter
will be stricken from the Court's active docket.
foregoing reasons, the Court hereby ORDERS
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
[R. 3] is GRANTED and payment of the filing
and administrative fees in this matter is
matter is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 ...