Williams v. Does
ORDER adopting 11 Report and Recommendations; denying as moot 14 Motion ; Case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk is directed to place a strike flag on the case. Signed by Honorable Timothy L. Brooks on October 2, 2015. (rg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
BOBBY DWAYNE WILLIAMS
CASE NO.: 5:14-CV-05257
STAFF REPORTERS OF
THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS TIMES
On June 17, 2015, the Honorable Erin L. Setser, United States Magistrate Judge
for the Western District of Arkansas, submitted a Report and Recommendation ("R & R")
(Doc. 11) following the pre-service screening of Plaintiff Bobby Dwayne Williams' Amended
Complaint. According to the Amended Complaint, Williams believes his constitutional
rights were violated when a "staff report" appearing in The Northwest Arkansas Times
described a lawsuit that Williams had filed concerning the alleged violation of his religious
rights during his incarceration at the Washington County Detention Center. The article
included Williams' photograph, which was part of his criminal record, and also quoted
portions of the complaint he had filed in the underlying lawsuit, which was part of the public
record. As relief, Williams requests compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an
The Magistrate Judge appropriately recommends dismissal of this case because,
given the facts recounted in the Amended Complaint, the newspaper and its reporters did
not act under color of State law, and thus are not State actors liable for violating Williams'
constitutional rights. An individual may bring a lawsuit against a private actor for the
violation of his constitutional rights, provided that the private actor is a person or entity that
operated "under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State
or Territory .... " 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Given the facts viewed in the light most favorable to
Williams, the staff reporters of this newspaper cannot be sued for any alleged violation of
Williams' constitutional rights pursuant to § 1983. Moreover, "claims for defamation and
slander are not cognizable under§ 1983," regardless of the defendant involved, as "words
and intents do not rise to the level of constitutional deprivations." Miner v. Brackney, 719
F.2d 954, 956 (8th Cir. 1983) (internal citations and quotation omitted).
The Court undertook a de novo review of this case in light of the Objection (Doc. 12)
filed by Williams on June 24, 2015. After considering Williams' Objection, the Court finds
that it offers neither fact nor law that would justify departing from the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation. In particular, Williams fails to address the Magistrate Judge's conclusion
that the unnamed staff reporters of the newspaper did not act under color of law in merely
reporting on a lawsuit Williams filed. Williams' Objection is therefore overruled, and the
Magistrate Judge's R & R (Doc. 11) is ADOPTED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
IT IS ORDERED that the case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE due to
frivolousness or for failure to state claims upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, to the extent the Amended Complaint asserts any
State law claims, the Court in its discretion declines to retain supplemental jurisdiction over
them . See 28 U.S.C. 1367(c)(3).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all other pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the dismissal of this case will constitute a strike
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The Clerk
IT IS SO ORDERED on
to place a strike flag on the case.
this ~ day ~
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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