United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
RONALD B. GRAY, Plaintiff,
ANDRIA MAYBERRY; MYA KAY DOUGLAS; and THE TMG FIRM, LLC, Defendants.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
incarcerated at Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo,
Georgia, is proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis (“IFP”). On December 17, 2018, the
Court issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) recommending dismissal of
Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. (Doc.
no. 17.) On January 9, 2019, Plaintiff objected to the
Court's R&R and alleged new facts not included in his
second amended complaint. (Doc. no. 19.) The Court construed
Plaintiff's objections to include a motion for leave to
file a third amended complaint, which the Court granted.
(Doc. no. 20.) On January 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed his third
amended complaint. (Doc. no. 21.) The Court vacates its
December 17th R&R in a simultaneously filed order.
Plaintiff's third amended complaint is before the Court
for screening. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782,
785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald, 165
Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).
SCREENING OF THE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
names as Defendants (1) Andria Mayberry; (2) Mya Kay Douglas;
and (3) The TMG Firm, LLC (“TMG”). (Doc. no.
21-1, p. 1.) Taking all of Plaintiff's factual
allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the
present screening, the facts are as follows.
Mayberry disclosed private facts to the public in the book
titled “Before Empire: Raising Bryshere ‘Yazz The
Greatest' Gray.” (Id. at 2.) Defendant
Mayberry's disclosure of information in the book amounted
to defamation, intentional infliction of emotion distress,
invasion of privacy, and negligence. (Id.) Defendant
Mayberry is quoted in the book as stating facts about
Plaintiff she knew were false, defamatory, and malicious.
(Id.) Specifically, in the book, she stated
[h]e brutally assaulted me while I was at his
grandmother's house while laying on his bed (my face was
disfigured and my front tooth was missing). I was seven
months pregnant carrying his son Bryshere during the assault.
The assault induced my labor. His mother and grandmother
heard me scream for help, but they were unable to get the
door unlocked. He assaulted me again after I delivered our
son by kicking and punching me because I did not want to
co-parent with him. His family said that he is diagnosed with
(Id.) This incident allegedly occurred in 1995,
Defendant Mayberry provided her statement sometime in 2016,
and the book was published in April of 2017. (Id. at
2-3.) Ms. Mayberry is the only person who knew and provided
this false, defamatory, and malicious information.
is no medical evidence to support her allegations, and no one
from Plaintiff's family knew of this information until
the book was published. (Id. 2-3.) Defendant
Mayberry's statements defame Plaintiff's mother and
grandmother, both of whom are deceased. (Id. at 3.)
Plaintiff's mother and grandmother cared for Defendant
Mayberry during and after she was pregnant with
Plaintiff's son. (Id.)
result of Defendant Mayberry's false and outrageous
statements about Plaintiff in the book, Plaintiff suffered
severe distress from media attention when the book was
published and marketed through social media outlets,
websites, and television programs like “The View”
and “The Real.” (Id.) The release of the
information through the media is public disclosure of
embarrassing facts. (Id.) The book describes raising
Plaintiff's son, who was a star on the Fox television
show “Empire.” (Id.)
of the published lies about him, Plaintiff has lost his
relationship with his son, siblings, and associates.
(Id.) Plaintiff is ridiculed and harassed in prison
by inmates. (Id.) The statements tarnished his
reputation, causing him to eventually have trouble finding a
job and social life. (Id.) Further, he is
characterized and surrounded by negative publicity, which
places him in a false light and requires counseling sessions.
Mya Kay Douglas is the co-author of the book. (Id.
at 4.) She purposely and intentionally quoted the statements
of Defendant Mayberry with knowledge the statements were not
true. (Id.) She had the specific intent to cause
harm to Plaintiff in quoting the statements. (Id.)
She is liable for libel and defamation, and her acts took
place in 2016 causing the book to be printed in April 2017.
April 2017, Defendant TMG published the Book. (Id.)
Defendant TMG failed to supervise and verify the statements
of Defendants Mayberry and Douglas, and it failed to
investigate the defamatory speech for truthfulness by
researching medical records and police reports.
(Id.) Defendant TMG is also liable for the actions
of Defendants Mayberry and Douglas based on the respondeat
superior doctrine. (Id.)