United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Schwab United States Chief Magistrate Judge
reviewing the complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), we concluded that the complaint failed to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. Doc. 11. We
granted the plaintiff, Shamont Sapp (“Sapp”),
leave to file an amended complaint, but he failed to do so.
Id. Thus, we recommend that the Court dismiss the
complaint and close the case.
Factual Background and Procedural History.
proceeding pro se, commenced this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 case by filing a complaint and a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Docs. 1,
5. In his complaint, Sapp names Vartan Group, Inc.
(“Vartan Group”) as the defendant. Doc
1. Sapp states that he is the author of five books,
including John O. Vartan- My Multi-Millionaire
Lover, which was published in 2010. Doc. 1 at
1. Sapp asserts that he gave complimentary copies of this
book to Ralph Vartan, CEO of the Vartan Group, to establish a
potential business relationship with the Vartan Group through
its publishing division, Beacon Press. Id. at 1-2.
Sapp explains the book is a “tell all” of
Sapp's relationship with the late John O.
Vartan. Id. at 2.
states that it is a known practice in the publishing world
for the author to inform a party that he or she is writing
about him or her, and in turn, the author will give the party
a copy of the book to make the necessary corrections or the
party's counsel will send a cease and desist letter.
Id. Sapp asserts that the Vartan Group reached out
to Sapp's publisher, Morris Publishing Company
(“Morris Publishing”), asking questions regarding
the business aspect of the book. Id. Morris
Publishing refused to cooperate or answer the Vartan
Group's questions. Id. The Vartan Group then
contacted the AUSA claiming that it did not like the book and
that it could not get information from Morris. Id.
Sapp states he later reached out to Morris to get more copies
of the book printed so that he could gather supporters. But
when Sapp contacted Morris, he was told “who wants to
work with an author who has the U.S. Attorney breathing down
his neck.” Id. at 3.
Sapp believes that the Vartan Group got the AUSA to contact
Morris Publishing. Id. at 4. Sapp alleges that in
2011, because the Vartan Group told the AUSA to contact the
publisher, the AUSA then told Morris Publishing that Sapp was
attempting to extort the Vartan family with the book.
Id. Sapp also alleges that the AUSA was asking
Morris Publishing questions concerning how much Sapp was
getting paid, how many copies were printed, and how many
copies were sold. Id. According to Sapp, however,
Morris Publishing declined to cooperate unless the AUSA
issued a subpoena. Id. Sapp states that he and
Morris Publishing waited for a subpoena to issue or for
charges to be filed from 2011 to 2016, but that neither a
subpoena nor charges were filed. Id. In closing,
Sapp states that, under the terms of his agreement with
Morris, more copies of the book could be printed if desired.
complains that he must now find a new printing company to
print copies of the book. Id. Sapp also complains
that the Vartan Group injured his reputation and destroyed a
business contract through interference. Id. Sapp
seeks $5, 000, 000 in punitive damages and $5, 000, 000 in
compensatory damages for pain and suffering and emotional
distress, and tortious interference with a contract for the
pecuniary losses he has sustained. Id.
Screening of In Forma Pauperis Complaints-Standard
Court has a statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary
review of pro se complaints brought by
plaintiffs given leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Specifically, we are obliged to the amended complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) which provides:
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof,
that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at