United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S
CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS FORD, BONNER, MURPHY, AND WILLIAMS
FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE
DANIEL BREEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se Plaintiff, Shamsiddeen Hatcher, initiated
this action on March 14, 2017, against the Defendants, Tammy
Ford, Kumetrus Bonner, Erin Giles-Wooden, Keishawana Murphy,
and Jennifer Williams, alleging violation of 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Docket Entry ("D.E.") 3.) On February 2,
2018, Defendants Ford, Bonner, Murphy, and Williams (the
"Movants") moved for dismissal of Hatcher's
claims against them pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (D.E. 18.) After the Plaintiff
failed to respond to the motion to dismiss within the time
prescribed in the local rules of this district, the Court, on
March 7, 2018, entered an order directing Hatcher to show
cause within eleven days why his claims against the Movants
should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). (D.E. 20.) The Plaintiff was specifically
advised in the Court's order that "[f]ailure to
timely respond to this directive will result in dismissal of
those claims." (Id. at PageID 96.) The period
for response to the show cause order has expired with no
filing by the Plaintiff.
permits a district court to dismiss an action if a plaintiff
fails to prosecute or comply with court orders. Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(b). While the Rule does not expressly provide for a
sua sponte dismissal, "[i]t is well settled
that a district court has the authority to dismiss sua
sponte a lawsuit for failure to prosecute."
Carpenter v. City of Flint, 723 F.3d 700, 704 (6th
Cir. 2013). "The rule allows district courts to manage
their dockets and avoid unnecessary burdens on both courts
and opposing parties." Shavers v. Bergh, 516
Fed.Appx. 568, 569 (6th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). The factors
relevant to a determination under Rule 41(b) include
(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 of the action.
United States v. $506, 069.09 Seized from First Merit
Bank, 664 Fed.Appx. 422, 427 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Carpenter, 723 F.3d at 703-04), cert. denied sub
nom. Akhtar-Zaidi v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 2249
(2017). Even though dismissal is a "harsh sanction,
" "[w]hen a pro se plaintiff has failed to
adhere to readily comprehended court deadlines of which he is
well-aware, a Rule 41(b) dismissal is appropriate."
Nationwide Life Ins. Co. v. Penn-Mont Benefit Servs.,
Inc., No. 16-4707, 2018 WL 1124133, at *6 (6th Cir. Jan.
31, 2018) (quoting Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108,
110 (6th Cir. 1991) & Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d
451, 454 (6th Cir. 1991)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
'willfulness, bad faith, or fault' have often been
described in . . . terms of 'a clear record of delay or
contumacious conduct, ' that construction has more
recently been supplemented by a requirement of 'either an
intent to thwart judicial proceedings or a reckless disregard
for the effect of his conduct on those
proceedings.'" Prime Finish, LLC v. ITW Deltar
IPAC, 608 Fed.Appx. 310, 314 (6th Cir. 2015). A
party's failure to respond in the face of a warning by
the court that such failure could result in dismissal of
claims tips the scale in favor of dismissal on the first
factor. See Daniels v. Napoleon, Civ. Action No.
14-10609, 2014 WL 6669116, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 24, 2014)
(first factor weighed in favor of dismissal where litigant
ignored warning that failure to file response would result in
dismissal of his case). Even where there is no clear evidence
of bad faith, failure to respond to a show cause order is
indicative of willfulness and fault. See Demara v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., Civ. Action No. 15-12634, 2016
WL 1604700, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 31, 2016), report
& recommendation adopted by 2016 WL 1594423 (E.D.
Mich. Apr. 21, 2016). This factor supports dismissal of
claims against the Movants.
respect to the second factor, the Movants assembled,
researched, and filed a motion to dismiss on the assumption
that Hatcher intended to prosecute his case against them.
"[A]bandoning claims, which can occur when a litigant
does not respond to a motion, causes prejudice to the
opposing party in the context of a Rule 41(b)
dismissal." Crawford v. Beaumont Hosp., No.
16-cv-11461, 2017 WL 744242, at *7 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 27, 2017)
(internal citation omitted), aff'd Crawford v.
Beaumont Hosp.-Wayne, No. 17-1305, 2017 WL 4182098 (6th
Cir. Sept. 12, 2017). Thus, the Movants have suffered some
third factor has been satisfied, as the Court clearly warned
the Plaintiff in its show cause order that failure to respond
thereto would result in dismissal of his claims as to the
Movants. See $506, 069.09, 664 Fed.Appx. at 430
("prior notice, or the lack thereof, is a key
consideration when determining whether a district court
abuses its discretion in dismissing [claims] pursuant to Rule
41(b)"); see also Crawford, 2017 WL 4182098, at
*3 (third factor weighed in favor of dismissal where
plaintiff failed to timely respond to a show cause order
after receiving warning that failure to respond could result
in Rule 41(b) dismissal). The fourth factor has also been
met. Because Plaintiff appears to have abandoned his claims
against the Movants, the Court sees no utility in attempting
to fashion a lesser sanction with any likelihood of
convincing him to move toward a final resolution of those
claims. See Hines v. D&S Residential Servs., No.
14-1266, 2015 WL 9239007, at *3 (W.D. Tenn. Dec. 17, 2015)
(where plaintiff appeared to have abandoned his claim, fourth
component weighed in favor of dismissal).
the factors to be considered by the Court under Rule 41(b)
support dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against
Defendants Ford, Bonner, Murphy, and Williams, they are