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Pasholikova v. Maldonado

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 10, 2015

JUDGE MALDONADO, et al., Defendants.


M. PAGE KELLEY, Magistrate Judge.

For the reasons stated below, the Court (1) grants the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis; (2) denies without prejudice the plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel; and (3) directs the plaintiff to file an amended complaint or otherwise show cause why this action should not be dismissed.

I. Background

Lidiya Pasholikova brings this pro se action in which she alleges that her constitutional rights have been violated by public officials employed by the City of Revere, Massachusetts- Revere Housing Authority ("RHA") director Linda Shaw; Revere Board of Health ("RBH") director Nicholas Catinazzo; and, RHA Inspector J. Ferrara-and Chelsea District Court Judge Diana Maldonado. According to the complaint, from 1993 to 2013, Pasholikova, who is of Russian national origin, was a tenant in a building owned and operated by the RHA. The plaintiff represents that since at least 2001, she has raised numerous complaints with the building's managers, the RHA, and the RBA regarding ventilation conditions in her unit and the building's common spaces. According to the complaint, Shaw became the director of the RHA in 2006.

In 2007, Pasholikova filed an action in this Court regarding her tenancy in Revere public housing. See Pasholikova v. City of Revere, C.A. No. 07-10925-JLT. After the Court appointed pro bono counsel for her (#44), she filed an amended complaint (#50) in October 2008, alleging that the defendants discriminated against her on the basis of national origin and retaliated against her for her efforts to improve ventilation conditions in the building. Among the defendants were the RHA and its former director Andrew Procopio (in his official and individual capacity), the RBH, Catinazzo, and Ferrara. In conjunction with her claims for relief under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, the plaintiff alleged that she had sent presentment letters to Shaw, "the proper executive officer of RHA." Id., Amend. Compl. (#50) at ¶¶ 180, 186. The parties reached a settlement, and on June 15, 2009, Pasholikova and the defendants stipulated to the voluntary dismissal of her claims with prejudice (#64).

In the instant complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the 2009 settlement agreement was breached because the RHA did not follow through with its promise to make the front deck of the apartment building a non-smoking area. Pasholikova believes that this conduct "made [her] a right to return to the beginning of [her] story of a relationship with the RHA." Compl. (#1 at 3, 6).

The plaintiff alleges that in 2010, Shaw nailed windows shut in the hall and library of the apartment building. Pasholikova further claims that the dryers of the building's laundry room were not properly exhausted, causing a health risk to tenants. According to the complaint, after the situation was not remedied despite the plaintiff's notice to the Revere Board of Health, she wrote a letter to RHA informing it that she would begin to withhold rent. She delivered this letter in hand to Catanzaro. This led to the eviction proceedings. The RHA initiated eviction proceedings against her in Chelsea District Court, which were presided over by Judge Maldonado. In February 2013, Judge Maldonado ordered that the plaintiff be evicted. Pasholikova alleges that Judge Maldonado conspired with the RHA and Shaw.

II. Discussion

A. Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Upon review of this plaintiff's motion, the Court finds that the plaintiff has made a sufficient showing that she is without income or assets to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (#2) is GRANTED.

B. Screening of the Complaint

Because the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, her complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). This statute authorizes federal courts to dismiss actions in which a plaintiff seeks to proceed without prepayment of fees if the action is malicious, frivolous, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Further, a court has an obligation to inquire sua sponte into its own subject matter jurisdiction. See McCulloch v. Velez, 364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004), In conducting this review, the Court liberally construes the plaintiff's complaint because she is proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

For the reasons stated below, Pasholikova's complaint is ...

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