United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO
DANIEL BREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se Plaintiff, Shamsiddeen Hatcher, initiated
this action on March 14, 2017, against the Defendant,
Kasander Dennis, alleging violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Docket Entry ("D.E.") 1.) On February 2, 2018, the
Defendant moved for dismissal of Hatcher's complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (D.E. 14.) 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 complaint should not be dismissed for
failure to prosecute under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41. (D.E. 16.) The
Plaintiff was specifically advised in the Court's order
that "[f]ailure to timely respond to this directive will
result in dismissal of the complaint." (Id. at
PageID 63.) 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 a complaint 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 Plaintiff's complaint.
respect to the second factor, Dennis's counsel assembled,
researched, and filed a motion to dismiss on the assumption
that Hatcher intended to prosecute his case against her.
"[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., Case
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 Defendant has 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 complaint. 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
a case 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 complaint, 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 his
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 complaint, it is hereby