United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
CONNIE F. MATHENY
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC. and TONYA EDWARDS
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
civil action is before the undersigned Magistrate Judge for
pretrial management in accordance with Local Rule 16.01.
See Docket No. 5. For the reasons set forth below,
the undersigned respectfully recommends that this action be
April 3, 2017, Plaintiff Connie Matheny filed this Section
1983 action against Defendants Hickman County, Tennessee,
Southern Health Partners, Inc. and Tonya Edwards. Docket No.
1. An Initial Case Management Order was entered on July 7,
2017 (Docket No. 26). Trial was set and the parties'
pretrial obligations were detailed in an order entered on
July 24, 2017 (Docket No. 31).
13, 2017, Defendant Hickman County filed a motion to dismiss
(Docket No. 27), which the Court granted as unopposed by
order entered October 30, 2017 (Docket No. 33). Following the
dismissal of Defendant Hickman County, a telephonic case
management conference was held on December 7, 2017, during
which counsel for the parties advised the Court that a
settlement was reached, and a deadline of January 31, 2018,
was imposed for submission of an agreed order of dismissal or
other filing in resolution of the case. See Order at
Docket No. 35. Prior to submission of any filing in
resolution of this case, Plaintiff's counsel moved to
withdraw (Docket Nos. 36, 37, and 38). Because of the pending
deadline for submission of the parties' settlement, the
Court scheduled a telephonic status conference on the motion
the telephonic status conference, Plaintiff's counsel was
permitted to withdraw, and a deadline of February 16, 2018
was set for new counsel to either enter an appearance on
behalf of Plaintiff or for Plaintiff to notify the Court of
her intention to proceed pro se. See Order
at Docket No. 39. Plaintiff was expressly notified that
failure to comply with this deadline, either by an appearance
of new counsel or notification of her intention to proceed
pro se, would result in a recommendation to the
District Judge for dismissal of this case. No appearance was
made on behalf of Plaintiff by the February 16 deadline. Nor
did Plaintiff file any notice by that date of her intention
to proceed pro se.
16(f)(1) 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 . . . fails to obey
a scheduling or other pretrial order.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(f)(1)(C). Pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(v), the Court
may dismiss an action as a sanction. The Court may also
dismiss an action under Rule 41(b) for a plaintiff's
failure to prosecute or to comply with the rules of procedure
or a court order. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b);
Bishop v. Cross, 790 F.2d 38 (6th Cir. 1986);
Patterson v. Township of Grand Blanc, 760 F.2d 686,
688 (6th Cir. 1985) (per curiam); Carter v. City
of Memphis, Tennessee, 636 F.2d 159, 161 (6th Cir.
1980). 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).
Court has allowed Plaintiff some indulgence in timely
compliance with the deadline imposed for her to take specific
action, given her apparent pro se status. However,
“the lenient treatment generally accorded to pro
se litigants has limits, ” Pilgrim v.
Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir. 1996), and
“pro se parties must follow the same rules of
procedure that govern other litigants, ” Aug. v.
Caruso, 2015 WL 1299888, at *6 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 23,
2015). See also, Downs v. Westphal, 78 F.3d
1252, 1257 (7th Cir. 1996) (stressing that “being a
pro se litigant does not give a party unbridled
license to disregard clearly communicated court orders,
” or to “choose which of the court's rules
and orders it will follow, and which it will wilfully
disregard”); Looper v. Educ. Credit Mgmt.
Corp., 2008 WL 2965887, at *8 (E.D. Tenn. July 30, 2008)
(plaintiff's “pro se status does not
exempt him from complying with the rules of
procedure.”); Greer v. Home Realty Co. of Memphis
Inc., 2010 WL 6512339, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. July 12, 2010)
(“Although district courts may liberally construe the
federal and local rules for pro se litigants, even
pro se litigants are obligated to follow these
rules.”). Despite the extra time allowed prior to the
Court making this recommendation, Plaintiff has not provided
the Court with any update on her efforts to comply with the
Court's orders, much less taken any action that indicates
an intention to comply.
is warranted under any of or any combination of Rule 16(f)(1)
and Rule 41(b), or the Court's inherent powers, because
of Plaintiffs' failure to comply with the specific
directive from the Court regarding either retention of new
counsel or her intention to proceed pro se, which
also evidences failure to prosecute this case. The Court
should not be required to expend further resources to direct
Plaintiff in moving this case forward, particularly when
Plaintiff has already ignored the Court's previous
clearly communicated instruction for how to proceed and the
deadline by which to do so. Plaintiff was expressly warned
that dismissal would be recommended if she failed to comply
with the Court's order. For that reason, a lesser
sanction than dismissal is not warranted.
there is some appeal to dismissing this case with prejudice,
or to letting Rule 41(b) operate as an adjudication on the
merits by not providing otherwise, this recommendation is for
dismissal without prejudice.
upon the foregoing, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
respectfully RECOMMENDS that this action be DISMISSED in its
entirety without prejudice pursuant to Rules 16(f)(1) and
41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the
Court's inherent powers.
OBJECTIONS to this Report and Recommendation must be filed
with the Clerk of Court within fourteen (14) days of receipt
of this notice and must state with particularity the specific
portions of this Report and Recommendation to which objection
is made. Failure to file written objections within the
specified time can be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal
the District Court's Order regarding the Report and
Recommendation. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 106
S.Ct. 466, 88 L.Ed.2d 435 (1985); United States v.
Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). Any other party
wishing to respond to the ...