United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
a pro se prisoner's civil rights action brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 by Braddie Sullivan
(“Plaintiff”) against Defendants Lisa Allen, Dave
Baker and Randy Jones. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that he
was terminated from his prison work position in retaliation
for having filed a grievance alleging that an
African-American inmate with less seniority had received a
work position that Plaintiff had sought [Doc. 1].
15, 2017, the Court issued a scheduling order setting this
case for trial on April 17, 2018, and establishing firm
deadlines for discovery, dispositive motions and pretrial
statements [Doc. 27]. Pursuant to that order, Plaintiff was
directed to file a Pretrial Narrative Statement on or before
February 13, 2018, and was advised explicitly that his
“failure to file a Pretrial Narrative Statement will
result in dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint for failure
to prosecute and to comply with the orders of this
Court” [Doc. 27 ¶ 6].
February 13, 2018, deadline has passed and Plaintiff has not
filed a Pretrial Narrative Statement. Accordingly, this
action will be DISMISSED for want of
prosecution under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).
Rule 41(b) Analysis
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) provides for involuntary
dismissal of a complaint if “the plaintiff fails to
prosecute or to comply with these rules or a court order . .
. .” See, e.g., Knoll v. Am. Tel.
& Tel. Co., 176 F.3d 359, 362-63 (6th Cir. 1999).
Dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) may be sua
sponte. Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 109 (6th
Cir. 1991). In determining whether involuntary dismissal is
warranted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) for failure to prosecute,
a court is to consider four factors:
(1) whether the party's failure is due to willfulness,
bad faith, or fault; (2) whether the adversary was prejudiced
by the dismissed party's conduct; (3) whether the
dismissed party was warned that failure to cooperate could
lead to dismissal; and (4) whether less drastic sanctions
were imposed or considered before dismissal was ordered.
Schafer v. City of Defiance Police Dep't, 529
F.3d 731, 737 (6th Cir. 2008).
the first factor, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
failure to comply with the Court's scheduling order is
due to his own willfulness and fault. Local Rule 83.13
imposes upon a pro se litigant the obligation to both monitor
the progress of his case and to prosecute it diligently.
Moreover, that same rule provides that the failure of a pro
se Plaintiff to timely respond to an order sent to the last
address provided to the Clerk may result in dismissal of the
case. Here, the docket entry for the scheduling order bears
the notation “c/m” [Doc. 27], indicating that a
copy was mailed to Plaintiff at his reported address, and
there is no indication in the record that the order was
returned as undeliverable or that he did not receive it.
case law is clear that “while pro se litigants may be
entitled to some latitude when dealing with sophisticated
legal issues, acknowledging their lack of formal training,
there is no cause for extending this margin to
straightforward procedural requirements that a layperson can
comprehend as easily as a lawyer.” Jourdan,
951 F.2d at 109. The Court's scheduling order set a clear
and firm deadline for the filing of a Pretrial Narrative
Statement and Plaintiff nevertheless failed to adhere to that
deadline, in violation of both the local rules and the
scheduling order itself. Accordingly, the first factor weighs
in favor of dismissal.
the second factor, the Court finds that there is some
prejudice to Defendants as Plaintiff's failure to comply
timely with the Court's order will impact their ability
to prepare for trial.
the third factor, the record reflects that Plaintiff
expressly was warned that a failure to file a Pretrial
Narrative Statement by February 13, 2018, as directed
would result in dismissal of his complaint for
failure to prosecute and to comply with the orders of this
Court. [Doc. 27 ¶ 6]. In addition, Local Rule 83.13 also
cautions that the failure of a pro se party to timely respond
to an order may result in dismissal of the case or other
appropriate action. Thus, Plaintiff's failure to adhere
to the scheduling order despite being placed on notice of the
consequences of non-compliance also weighs in favor of
as to the fourth factor, the Court finds that any alternative
sanctions would not be effective. The Court already placed
Plaintiff on notice that his failure to comply with the
Court's scheduling order would be grounds for dismissal.
Nevertheless, Plaintiff failed to file a Pretrial Narrative
Statement within the allotted time and otherwise has not
monitored the progress of the case. Moreover, Plaintiff's
non-compliance with the Court's scheduling order is not
limited to his failure to file a Pretrial Narrative
Statement, but ...