Filing 2


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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL ACTION PASTOR STEPHEN UKO UDOH v. COLIN MCEVOY THE EXPRESS TIMES NO. 13-7605 MEMORANDUM JONES, J. JANUARY ;) , 2014 Plaintiff Pastor Stephen Uko lJdoh brings this action against Colin Mc Evoy and the I~xpr,;:ss Times ba::;cd on his allegations that the defendants published an allegedly defamatory article about him. Ile seeks to proceed in.forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court ,..,ill grant plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dis1niss his complaint tOr failure to state a claim. I. FACTS J>laintiff alleges that he was unlawfully arrested OB a third degree harassmerit charge. On June: 3, 2011, the defer1dants published an article in the Express 1'imes of Easton about plaintitI (presumably rela·:ed to the arrest), which included his picture, and which was alsc1 available online. As a result, plaintiff claims that he was ·'psychologically traumatized," a11d that his ''go1Jd na1ne was ruined." (Compl. ~I IV.) He seeks $5 billion dollars in damage~.. JI. STANDARD OF REVIEW 1'hc Court grants plai11tiff leave to proceed in for1na 11auperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2){B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the con1plaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under§ 1915(e)(2)(!3)(ii) is governed by the san1e standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), 1 see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to deterrninc whether the cornplaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as tn1e, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroji v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitte<i). If an affirmative defense is obvious from the face of the con1p\aint, the Court may dismiss any facially invalid claims under § l 915. See Fogle v. Pierson, 435 F .3d 1252, 1258 (10th c:ir. 2006). As plaintiff is proceeding prose, the Court must construe his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 33:;, 339 (3d Cir. 2011). Ill. DISCUSSION The Court understands plaintiff to be bringing civi:_ rights claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C-. § 1983, based on damage to his reputation, as well as defamatio11 claims. Plaintiff's civil right_<.; clairr1s fail because nothing in the complaint suggests 1hat the defendants are state actors. Set! Groman v. Twp. cf Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 638 (3d Cir. 1995) ("[A] suit under§ 1983 requires the v~rongdoers to have violated federal rights of the plaintiff, and that they did so while acting unde.r color of state law."). In any event, defamation is not actionable under § 1983 unless a plairltiff can ··show a stigma to his reputation pll1S deprivation of some additional right or interest." Dee v. Borough of Dunmore, 549 F.3d 225, 233-34 (3d Cir. 2008) (quotations omi1ted). Plaintiil''s allegations of psychological dislrcss and damage to his reputation do not meet that standard. See Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S. 2:!6, 234 (1991) ("[Slo long as [the alleged] damage flows from injury caused by the defendant to a plaintiff's reputation, it may be recoverable under state tort law but it is not recoverable in a [civil rights] actio11."); Good v. Ci'ty· ofSunbury, 352 F. App'x 688, 692 (3d Cir. 2009) (allegations of emotional distress do not sati~fy the stigma-plus test). 2 ·ro the exte11t plaintiff is bringing defamation cb;Lims under state law, those c:laims arc tirne-barred. In Penrisylvania, the statute of limitations goven1ing defan1ation clairrts is one year. ,5ee 42 Pa. Cons. Stat.§ 5523. Under Pennsylvania's "single publication rule," \Vhich applies to publications in nev.rspapers as well as on the internet, tl·te statute of limitations begins to run upon the original printing of the defamatory material. Jn re 1'.Jhila. Newspapers, LLC, 690 F .3d 161, 174 (3d Cir. 2012). Herc, plaintiff alleges that the defamatory statements were n1ade on June 3, 2011. but he did n•Jt file this action until December 26, 2013, well beyond the expiration of the one-year limitatio11s period. Accordingly, his defamation claims are time barred. IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing re.:i.sons, plaintiffs complaint will be dismissed. As it does 11ot appear that plaintiff can cure the deficiencies in his complaint, he will not be given leave to arnend. See (Jra) son v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (Jd Cir. 2002). 1 follows. 3 An appropriate order

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