United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
a prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 1]. For the reasons set forth
below, Plaintiff's complaint will be
DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted under § 1983, and for
seeking monetary relief against Defendants immune from such
the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
district courts must screen prisoner complaints and shall, at
any time, sua sponte dismiss any claims that are
frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or
are against a defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A); Benson v.
O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). The
dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the
relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive an initial review
under the PLRA, a complaint “must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings
filed in civil rights cases and hold them to a less stringent
standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal
right by a person acting under color of state law. Braley
v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990)
(stating that “Section 1983 . . . creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
elsewhere”). “Absent either element, a section
1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett,
932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
alleges that Assistant District Attorneys
(“ADAs”) Hector Sanchez and Kenneth Irvine, along
with Judge Bobby McGee and defense attorneys Tom Slaughter,
Eric Counts, and Aubrey Davis, have slandered his name,
defamed his character, and violated his constitutional rights
[Doc. 1 p. 3-4].
initial matter, the Court finds that Plaintiff offers no
facts to support his claims that Defendants have defamed him
and otherwise violated his constitutional rights, and
therefore, he has offered the Court only legal conclusions
that will not support his allegations. Tackett v. M &
G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009).
“[s]ection 1983 imposes liability for violations of
rights protected by the Constitution, not for violations of
duties of care arising out of tort law.” Baker v.
McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 146 (1979). One does not possess
a liberty interest in being free from “injury to
reputation, ” and defamation is not, therefore, a
constitutional tort. Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S.
226, 233 (1991). That is, defamation is “a tort
actionable under the laws of most States, but not a
constitutional deprivation.” Id. Accordingly,
in claiming he is the victim of slander and defamation,
Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable constitutional
claim upon which relief may be granted.
the Court finds that Plaintiff cannot sustain any claims
against the named Defendants. First, Judge Bobby McGee is
entitled to absolute judicial immunity for actions taken in
his judicial capacity, and therefore, he is entitled to be
dismissed from this action. See, e.g., Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 351-64 (1978). Similarly,
Plaintiff cannot maintain suit against ADAs Hector Sanchez or
Kenneth Irvine, as “a state prosecuting attorney who
act[s] within the scope of his duties in initiating and
pursuing a criminal prosecution” is not amenable to
suit under § 1983. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S.
409, 410, 431 (1976). Finally, defense attorneys Tom
Slaughter, Eric Counts, and Aubrey Davis are not amenable to
suit, as relief under § 1983 is only available to
vindicate a plaintiffs federal rights against a defendant
acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“[A] lawyer representing a client is not, by virtue of
being an officer of the court, a state actor ‘under
color of state law' within the meaning of §
1983.” Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
reasons set forth above, Plaintiff s complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983,
and it seeks monetary relief against defendants immune from
such relief. Accordingly, this action will be
DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A).
Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this
action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally
frivolous. See Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of