United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. HICKEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action filed by Robert Jason Dillard pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se
and in forma pauperis. The case is before the Court
for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen
any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
filed this action pro se and in forma
pauperis on August 21, 2019. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is
currently incarcerated in the Howard County Detention Center
(“HCDC”) in Nashville, Arkansas.
alleges Defendants Tallant and Wakefield provided false
information about him to the Nashville Leader/Nashville News,
a newspaper that is owned by Defendant Graves. He claims the
newspaper then published an article which falsely accused him
of “having something to do with some narcotics that
were found in the county jail.” Id. at p. 3.
Plaintiff also asserts that Defendants McJunkins and
Glidewell, the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff of Howard County,
had to know that their employees provided false information
to the newspaper and, therefore, they should be responsible
for the information being published. Id. at pp.
asserts a claim of “defamation of character”
against each Defendant. Id. at p. 8. Plaintiff
proceeds against Defendants in their individual and official
capacities and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Id. at p. 15. Plaintiff also requests the
termination of all Defendants' employment and that
“all pending charges against [him are] dropped or NOL
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen this case prior to
service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a
complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that:
(1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). A claim fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted if it does not allege “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “In evaluating whether a pro
se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a
claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded . . . to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Jackson
v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
However, even a pro se plaintiff must allege
specific facts sufficient to support a claim. Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
42 of the United States Code provides a federal cause of
action for the deprivation, under color of law, of a
citizen's “rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United
States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “As a general rule, the
federal civil-rights remedies available to a person under
section 1983 are not so broad as those available under state
law, common or statutory.” Burton v.
Livingston, 791 F.2d 97, 99 (8th Cir. 1986).
defamed person has not been deprived of any right, privilege
or immunity secured to him by the Federal Constitution or
laws of the United States.” Ellinburg v.
Lucas, 518 F.2d 1196, 1197 (8th Cir. 1975); see also
Underwood v. Pritchard, 638 F.2d 60, 62 (8th Cir. 1981)
(“[D]efamation, per se, is not actionable
under section 1983.”). Thus, “[c]laims for
defamation and slander are not cognizable under [section]
1983.” Miner v. Brackney, 719 F.2d 954, 955
(8th Cir. 1983) (per curium).
Court finds that Plaintiff's claims of defamation fail
because defamation is a state law claim that is not
cognizable under section 1983. Accordingly, Plaintiff's
claims should all be dismissed pursuant to the PLRA for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.