Plaintiff asserts that because of defendant, he "has
essentially been tried and convicted in the eyes of his community
for a heinous act, for which he was never convicted, and has had
no procedurally safeguarded opportunity to contest." Pltf's Opp.
at 5. He has stated, at best, a claim of defamation. Defendant
asserts that plaintiff has not established his Bivens claim
because he has not satisfied the test necessary for a defamation
claim to rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
"Defamation, by itself, is a tort actionable under the laws of
most States, but not a constitutional deprivation." Siegert v.
Gilley, 500 U.S. 226
, 233 (1991). "[R]eputation alone does not
constitute a liberty interest," and "District of Columbia law
provides no special protection for reputation beyond the general
protection of tort law." Mosrie v. Barry, 718 F.2d 1151, 1159
(D.C. Cir. 1983). Defamatory statements may be elevated to a
constitutional violation, however, if it is shown that they
resulted in "a removal, extinguishment, or significant alteration
of an interest recognized and protected by state law." Id. at
1160-61 (discussing Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693
Defamation along with the loss of present or future employment
may satisfy the test required by the Constitution and the case
law. Id. As the District of Columbia Circuit stated:
For a defamation to give rise to a right to
procedural due process, it is necessary . . . that
the defamation be accompanied by a discharge from
government employment or at least a demotion in rank and pay.
The latter, more general category requires that the
government either have formally deprived one of a
legal right, such as the right to purchase liquor or
to drive, or have so severely impaired one's ability
to take advantage of a legal right, such as a right
to be considered for government contracts or
employment or a right to seek non-government
employment, that the government can be said to have
`foreclosed' one's ability to take advantage of it
and thus extinguished the right.
Mosrie v. Barry, 718 F.2d at 1161 (footnote omitted).