PHILADELPHIA – A woman who claimed government officials and medical doctors had implanted radio devices inside her body against her will to alter her mind has had her claims deemed meritless and “fanciful" and then dismissed.
On Nov. 1, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judges Cheryl Ann Krause, Paul B. Matey and Robert E. Cowen ruled in favor of the case’s defendants. The lawsuit itself had been appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Plaintiff Angela Farrell had initially filed a complaint against United States government officials and various medical providers pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, claiming they conspired to violate her constitutional rights.
The defendants included Pat Brady, in his official and individual capacity as Chief of Naval Operations for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR); Brigadier General Charles G. Jeffferies; Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; Western Psychiatric Center UPMC; Dr. Brian Heil; Michael Anthony Voit; The Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Randall Yetman; UPMC Radiology Centers; Magee Hospital Breast Center; Dr. Denis Hurowitz and Dr. Susan Kolb.
“Farrell alleged that devices were implanted in her body without her consent during surgery in 2009, that defendants are using the radiofrequency devices for behavior modification and mild-altering purposes, and that they have conspired and concealed the fact that she is a human research subject,” the Court stated.
“She states that doctors have refused to remove the devices, that her health has declined, and she suffers from pain, and that she had an MRI in 2018 that showed brain atrophy. She also alleges that two of the medical defendants took her into custody against her will in 2012 for psychiatric care.”
The District Court screened the complaint under 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) and determined that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, based on both “a meritless legal theory and factual contentions that are at the very least fanciful.”
The District Court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim and denied Farrell’s motion to relate her case to an employment discrimination action that she had filed in 2011. Farrell then appealed to the Third Circuit.
“In dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), the District Court applied the standard applicable to a dismissal for frivolousness under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). The standards for dismissal under these provisions are not the same,” the Court said.
“While a complaint may be dismissed for frivolousness where the factual contentions are clearly baseless, a complaint may not be dismissed for failure to state a claim based on a disbelief of the factual allegations. We agree with the District Court that Farrell’s factual allegations regarding the non-consensual implantation of radiofrequency devices, which she reiterates on appeal, are fanciful. Dismissal of the complaint was thus warranted because it is frivolous.”
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit case 19-2763
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org