United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Bissoon United States District Judge.
Mark Hart filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this
Court's December 8, 2016 Memorandum Order (Doc. 12). For
the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's Motion for
Reconsideration will be DENIED.
essence, Plaintiff argues that the Court erred in its
December 8, 2016 Memorandum Order when it dismissed his
substantive due process claim against Defendants, finding
that: “Plaintiff does not satisfy the ‘plus'
prong of the [stigma-plus] test as he does not allege that he
suffered any specific harm as a result of Defendants'
alleged publication of defamatory statements on Topix.
Plaintiff does not allege that the publication of statements
on the website resulted in his being terminated from his
employment.” Doc. 10 at 7. Plaintiff cites to Hill
v. Borough of Kutztown, 455 F.3d 225 (3d Cir. 2006) for
the proposition that the “plus” prong of the
stigma-plus test is satisfied as long as “the
defamatory statements occurred in conjunction with a
discharge from public service, ” even if the statements
did not directly cause the plaintiff's
the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in
Hill that, in the public employment context,
“when an employer ‘creates and disseminates a
false and defamatory impression about the employee in
connection with his termination, ' it deprives the
employee of a protected liberty interest.”
Hill, 455 F.3d at 236 (quoting Codd v.
Velger, 429 U.S. 624, 628 (1977)). Contrary to
Plaintiff's arguments, however, Hill did not
hold that the stigma-plus test can be satisfied simply by
showing that a defendant published a stigmatizing statement
related in some way to one's termination. Rather, the
Court in Hill found that a plaintiff can assert a
stigma-plus claim if she has suffered some actual
injury as a result of the publication of stigmatizing
statements, whether that be termination from her current
employment or the actual loss of future employment
opportunities. In Hill, for instance, the Court
found that the plaintiff could bring such a claim because he
was terminated as a result of the defendant's
publication of stigmatizing statements. Likewise, in
Fouse v. Beaver Cty., No. 2:14-CV-00810, 2015 WL
1967242, at *5 (W.D. Pa. May 1, 2015), which Plaintiff cites
in his briefing, Judge Hornak found that the plaintiff could
make out the “plus” prong of the test because he
“does not simply contend that Defendant Schouppe's
stigmatizing statements had a damaging effect on his general,
future job opportunities - he takes it a step further, and
pleads that those statements actually resulted directly in
the loss of his ‘secondary' employment.”
as discussed in the Court's December 8, 2016 Memorandum
& Order, Plaintiff has not alleged that he suffered any
actual injury as a result of the Defendants' allegedly
stigmatizing statements. If anything, Plaintiff has alleged
only a generalized “possible loss of future employment
opportunities, ” which is insufficient, under current
Third Circuit law, to support a reputation-based substantive
due process claim. Simpson v. Nicklas, 500 Fed.Appx.
185, 188 (3d Cir. 2012). Because Plaintiff has not alleged that
he suffered any actual injury (i.e., loss of present
or future employment) as a result of Defendant's
allegedly stigmatizing statements, the Court finds that he
has not met the “plus” prong of the
foregoing reasons, there is no basis for reconsideration, and
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 12) is
 See also Arneault v.
O'Toole, 513 F.App'x 195, 198-99 (3d Cir. 2013)
(“Although the District Court assumed for the sake of
argument that this prong was met, Arneault has not alleged
that publication of the reports cost him an additional right
or interest. He did not lose his gaming license, nor does he
allege that he lost any particular job or job prospect.
Instead, he alleges that he lost possible career prospects
and that his legal status changed because he was required to
disclose the denial recommendation on future gaming license
applications. These are part of the stigma alleged and not an
additional lost interest or right.”).
 In addition, as the Court noted in its
Memorandum Order, Plaintiff does not allege sufficient facts
to show that Defendants even published
“stigmatizing” statements about him. In his
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that “Defendants Hoover,
Castagna and/or John and/or Jane Doe” published
statements on the social media site, Topix, related to his
“suspension” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 25) as well as
“[m]ultiple defamatory statements discussing
Plaintiff” following his termination. (Id. at
¶ 56). Plaintiff states, in conclusory fashion, that
such statements were “untrue, painted Plaintiff in a
poor and false light to members of his community and
profession and otherwise defamed Plaintiff's
character.” (Id. at ¶¶ 25, 56).
Plaintiff, however, does not provide the Court with the
actual content of the allegedly defamatory statements. Thus,
the Court has no way to assess whether the alleged statements
“infringed upon ...