United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
NAYTHEN P. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
ANDERSON CO. DETENTION FACILITY, SHERIFF PAUL WHITE, JAIL ADMINISTRATOR AVERY JOHNSON, MEDICAL SUPERVISOR DEPUTY SCOTT, and RIDGEVIEW MENTAL HEALTH and Agents, Defendants.
a pro se prisoner's civil rights action brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 by Naythen P. Edwards
(“Plaintiff”). Upon initial screening, the Court
granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis but declined to issue process at that time,
finding that Plaintiff did not set forth facts sufficient to
establish that any of the named defendants, through their own
actions, deprived Plaintiff of a constitutional right, and
therefore failed to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 554 (2007) [Doc. 4 p. 8].
the case was subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A), the Court
nevertheless granted Plaintiff an opportunity to cure the
deficiency in his original complaint by filing, within
fourteen (14) days from the date of entry of the Court's
memorandum and order, an amended complaint setting forth
precisely how his constitutional rights were violated
and the specific individual(s) who deprived him of
those rights under color of state law [Doc. 4 p. 9].
Plaintiff was cautioned, however, that his failure to timely
comply would result in the dismissal of his complaint for
failure to state a claim and that this case would be
dismissed for failure to prosecute and for failure to follow
the orders of this Court [Id.]
than fourteen days now have passed since the entry of the
Court's deficiency order on March 9, 2018, and Plaintiff
has failed to file an amended complaint or to respond in any
way to that order, this action will be
DISMISSED pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b) for want of prosecution and for failure to
comply with the Court's deficiency order and the local
rules of court.
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 Rule 41(b) may be sua sponte.
Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 109 (6th Cir. 1991).
In determining whether a Rule 41(b) involuntary dismissal is
warranted, 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 deficiency 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. In this case, the docket entry for the deficiency order
bears a notation indicating that a copy of the memorandum and
order was mailed to Plaintiff at his last reported address at
the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex [Doc. 4], and there
is no indication in the record that the order was returned as
undeliverable or that he otherwise 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 deficiency order set a clear
and firm deadline for filing an amended complaint but
Plaintiff nevertheless has failed to adhere to that deadline,
in violation of both the local rules and the deficiency order
itself. Accordingly, the first factor weighs in favor of
the second factor, because service was not issued the Court
can discern no significant prejudice to Respondents based on
Petitioner's failure to comply with the Court's
order, and this factor in and of itself would not weigh in
favor of dismissal.
the third factor, the record reflects that Plaintiff
expressly was warned that should he fail to timely comply
with the Court's deficiency order his original complaint
would be dismissed for failure to prosecute and for failure
to follow the orders of the Court [Doc. 4 p. 9]. In addition,
Local Rule 83.13, which requires pro se litigants to be
familiar with and follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and the local rules, 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 file an amended complaint or
otherwise to respond to the deficiency order within the
allotted time, 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. Plaintiff already received
one reprieve from dismissal of this case when the Court
offered him an opportunity to remedy the initial deficiency
in his complaint. Nevertheless, he failed to file an amended
complaint within the allotted time and otherwise has not
monitored the progress of the case. Plaintiff's failure
to respond to the deficiency order strongly suggests that any
further attempts to prod him into compliance with the
Court's orders and the local rules through the imposition
of a lesser sanction than dismissal would be futile.
foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that the relevant
factors weigh in favor of an involuntary dismissal of this
action pursuant to Rule 41(b) based upon Petitioner's
non-compliance with the Court's previous order and the
local rules of court. Schafer, 529 F.3d at 736
(district court has authority to dismiss an action for