United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS AGAINST
DEFENDANT GILES-WOODEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO
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, employees of the Whiteville
Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tennessee
("WCF"), alleging violation of 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Docket Entry ("D.E.") 3.) Summonses were
issued on January 3, 2018, (D.E. 13) and service was effected
at the facility as to all Defendants (D.E. 15) except for
Giles-Wooden, who, according to a proof of service filed
January 22, 2018, was no longer employed by WCF (D.E. 14).
The docket does not reflect any subsequent attempts,
successful or otherwise, to complete service on her.
order entered March 28, 2018, the Court dismissed
Plaintiff's claims against Ford, Bonner, Murphy, and
Williams for failure to prosecute pursuant to Rule 41(b) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, leaving Giles-Wooden as
the sole Defendant. (D.E. 21.) On April 11, 2018, the Court
directed Hatcher to provide, within thirty days, any
information he might possess concerning the current address
and/or place of employment of Giles-Wooden or advise the
Court that he had no such information. (D.E. 22.) The
Plaintiff was cautioned that "[f]ailure to timely
respond to this directive will result in dismissal of his
claims against this Defendant for failure to prosecute in
accordance with Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure." (Id. at PageID 102-03.) To date, no
response has been filed.
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); see also
Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630 (1962) (the
rule does not abrogate the “power of courts, acting on
their own initiative, to clear their calendars of cases that
have remained dormant because of the inaction or dilatoriness
of the parties seeking relief”).
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
plaintiff has the burden of showing that his failure to
comply [with orders of the court] was due to inability, not
willfulness or bad faith." Id. Hatcher has
failed to respond to or follow the directives of this Court
in this matter and has offered no excuse for such failure.
There is no evidence to suggest that he did not receive the
Court's orders. Accordingly, the first factor has been
met. See Marsh v. Rhodes, No. 17-1211, 2017 WL
7833767, at *3 (6th Cir. Dec. 14, 2017) (first factor
satisfied where plaintiff failed to comply with court orders
and provided no excuse therefor).
respect to the second factor, as the remaining Defendant was
never served, there is no indication that she was prejudiced.
The third factor has been satisfied, as the Court clearly
warned the Plaintiff in its April 11, 2018, order that
failure to respond thereto would result in dismissal of his
claims against Giles-Wooden. 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 v. Beaumont
Hosp.-Wayne, No. 17-1305, 2017 WL 4182098, at *3 (6th
Cir. Sept. 12, 2017) (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).
fourth factor has also been met. Because Plaintiff appears to
have abandoned his claims against this Defendant, and,
indeed, in this case in general, the Court sees no utility in
attempting to fashion a lesser sanction with any likelihood
of convincing him to move toward a final resolution. 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).
factors to be considered by the Court under Rule 41(b) weigh
in favor of dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against
Defendant Giles-Wooden, they are hereby DISMISSED. The
dismissal shall be without ...