United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Dustin Wayne Norman, currently an inmate of the Washington
County Detention Center (“WCDC”), filed this
civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds
pro se and in forma pauperis
Complaint (ECF No. 1) 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 entity. 28 U.S.C. §
to the allegations of the Complaint (ECF No. 1), on December
6, 2019, Norman was informing Sergeant Byrd that he needed to
“feed me . . . portion size of my diet that I was
on.” Sergeant Byrd responded negatively. At that point,
Norman responded: “F--- You.” Sergeant Byrd
replied that Norman was not “his type.” Norman
believed that Sergeant Byrd was referring to his charges.
Norman believes this constituted defamation of his character
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the 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) seek 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)).
essential elements of a § 1983 claim are: (1) that the
defendant(s) acted under color of state law, and (2) that the
alleged wrongful conduct deprived the plaintiff of a
constitutionally protected federal right. Schmidt v. City
of Bella Vista, 557 F.3d 564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009). To
state a claim, plaintiff must establish that each defendant
“personally violated plaintiff's constitutional
rights” Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 543
(8th Cir. 2014)(citation omitted).
defamation, and humiliation, while unprofessional and
distasteful conduct, does not state a constitutional
violation. “[D]efamation, per se, is not actionable
under section 1983. Underwood v. Pritchard, 638 F.2d
60, 62 (8th Cir. 1981). The Supreme Court has held that a
person's interest in his reputation is not considered
liberty or property protected by the due process clause.
Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 711-12 (1976). In other
words, the “ Supreme Court has made clear that federal
courts are not to view defamatory acts as constitutional
violations.” Boyanowski v. Capital Area
Intermediate Unit, 215 F.3d 396, 400 (3d Cir. 2000).
“[f]ear or emotional injury which results solely from
verbal harassment or idle threats is generally not sufficient
to constitute an invasion of an identified liberty
interest.” King v. Olmsted Cty., 117 F.3d
1065, 1067 (8th Cir. 1997). Taunts, name calling, and the use
of offensive language does not state a claim of
constitutional dimension. McDowell v. Jones, 990
F.2d 433, 434 (8th Cir. 1993) (inmate's claims of general
harassment and of verbal harassment were not actionable under
claim is subject to dismissal.