United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
TIFFANY REDMOND, Individually and As Next Friend for J.R., a minor child; KENYA NORTHINGTON, Individually and As Next Friend for D.V., a minor child
DICKSON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge.
matter was set for a case management conference on February
27, 2017 (Docket No. 38). At the scheduled hour, Plaintiffs
did not appear and the Court has had no communication with
them. Counsel for Defendant did appear, and prior to
appearing had submitted a proposed case management order
(Docket No. 39). Following the case management conference,
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss (Docket No. 41). By
subsequent Order (Docket No. 42), Plaintiffs were directed to
respond to the pending motion to dismiss by March 20, 2017,
which they failed to do.
reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
respectfully recommends that this case be dismissed with
prejudice for failure to prosecute and to obey court orders.
lawsuit was brought under 20 U.S.C. § 1703 and 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000c-8 and 1983 to redress the deprivation of
the constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United State Constitution of four minors who were alleged
victims of ongoing racially motivated or gender motivated
male-on-male harassment and bullying while at school. When
the lawsuit was originally filed on November 19, 2015, there
were four named Plaintiffs-Tiffany Redmond, Christie Baker,
Kevin Stringer, and Kenya Northington-who brought suit
individually and as next friends for their minor children.
Docket No. 1. Plaintiffs were represented by counsel. After
an initial case management conference held with Judge Trauger
on February 8, 2016, pretrial activity occurred as provided
for in the initial management order. See Docket Nos.
8 and 9.
October 14, 2016, discovery disputes arose (Docket Nos. 12
and 13), which were then referred to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge. See Order at Docket No. 14. On
November 2, 2016, a motion to intervene was also filed by the
next friend of non-party minor student from whom discovery
was sought. (Docket No. 20). That motion was also referred to
the undersigned Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 21). On January
3, 2017, in the course of resolution of the pending contested
matters, two of the original plaintiffs-Kevin Stringer and
Christie Baker-requested that they be dismissed in both their
individual and next friend capacities (Docket No. 33). Those
Plaintiffs were dismissed by Order entered on January 9,
2017. See Order at Docket No. 36.
January 3, 2017, Plaintiffs' counsel, Roland Mumford,
also moved to withdraw as counsel for the remaining
plaintiffs-Tiffany Redmond and Kenya Northington. Docket No.
35. Mr. Mumford was permitted to withdraw by Order entered on
January 9, 2017, and Plaintiffs Redmond and Northington were
given until February 10, 2017 to retain new counsel.
See Docket No. 37. Plaintiffs were notified that if
they failed to obtain new counsel by this date, they would be
deemed to be proceeding pro se as to their individual claims
only. Plaintiffs were further notified that, because they
cannot appear pro se for their minor children, they were
required to retain counsel to represent them in their
respective capacities as next friends, and failure to do so
would result in a recommendation that the claims of the minor
children be dismissed. Id. at 2. By separate order,
all parties were directed to appear at the February 27 case
management conference, either in person or through counsel.
See Order at Docket No. 38. No counsel has entered
an appearance for Plaintiffs either in their individual or
next friend capacities.
noted, Plaintiffs did not appear at the February 27 case
management conference, nor did any counsel appear on their
individual behalf or on their behalf as next friends.
Following the February 27 case management conference,
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on Plaintiffs'
failure to prosecute (including noncompliance with the
Court's orders) and their inability to represent the
minors as pro se next friends. By Order entered March 7,
2017, Plaintiffs were given until March 20, 2017 to file a
response to Defendant's motion to dismiss, and were
cautioned that failure to file a timely response would be
deemed to be no opposition to the requested dismissal.
See Docket No. 42 at 2. Plaintiffs have not
responded to the motion to dismiss in any manner.
16(f)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that “on motion or on its own, the Court may issue any
just orders, including those authorized by Rule
37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii), if a party . . . (C) fails to obey a
scheduling or other pretrial order.” Pursuant to Rule
37(b)(2)(A)(v), the Court may dismiss an action as a
sanction. In addition, it is well-settled that federal trial
courts have the inherent power to manage their own dockets.
Link v. Wabash R.R., 370 U.S. 626, 82 S.Ct. 1386, 8
L.Ed.2d 734 (1961). This Court cannot proceed if Plaintiffs
will not participate in the litigation process they
initiated. Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
permits the Court to dismiss an action upon a showing of a
clear record of delay, contumacious conduct, or failure to
prosecute by a plaintiff. See Carter v. City of Memphis,
Tennessee, 636 F.2d 159, 161 (6th Cir. 1980).
dismissal with or without prejudice is a drastic remedy, and
before the Court contemplates dismissing an action under Rule
41(b), the Court must specifically consider:
(1) whether the party's failure to cooperate is due to