United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester
Ronald Franklin Ferrell (“Plaintiff”) filed this
action, he listed the Bedford County Correctional Facility as
his address, and the Court has no other address on file for
him [Doc. 1]. On April 17, 2019, the Court screened
Plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), allowing this
action to proceed only as to Plaintiff's claims of denied
prescription medication, denied opportunities for recreation,
and denied religious services [Doc. 5]. The Court further
ordered Plaintiff to “immediately inform the Court . .
. of any address changes” pursuant to Local Rule 83.13
[Doc. 5]. Plaintiff was forewarned that failure to promptly
notify the Clerk and other parties to the proceeding within
fourteen days of any changes in his address, to monitor the
progress of the case, and to prosecute or defend the action
diligently “may result in the dismissal of this
action” [Id.]. On April 25, 2019, however, the
Court's order was returned as “Undeliverable”
2, 2019, this Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause in
writing, within fourteen days, explaining why his case should
not be dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute
and/or failure to follow the orders of this Court [Doc. 7].
Plaintiff was again put on notice that failure to comply with
the terms of the Court's order will result in dismissal
of his case [Id.]. On May 13, 2019, however, this
order was returned to the Court as
“Undeliverable” along with the notation “No
longer here” [Doc 8]. Plaintiff has not filed any other
response to the Court's order and the deadline to do so
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) gives this Court the authority
to dismiss a case for “failure of the plaintiff to
prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of the
court.” See, e.g., Nye Capital Appreciation
Partners, L.L.C. v. Nemchik, 483 Fed.Appx. 1, 9 (6th
Cir. 2012); Knoll v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 176
F.3d 359, 362-63 (6th Cir. 1999). Involuntary dismissal under
Rule 41(b) “operates as an adjudication on the
merits.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); see Link v. Wabash
R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629 (1962) (“The authority
of a federal trial court to dismiss a plaintiff's action
with prejudice because of his failure to prosecute cannot
seriously be doubted.”).
Court considers four factors when considering dismissal under
(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.
Wu v. T.W. Wang, Inc., 420 F.3d 641, 643 (6th Cir.
2005); see Regional Refuse Sys., Inc. v. Inland
Reclamation Co., 842 F.2d 150, 155 (6th Cir. 1988).
the first factor, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
failure to comply with the Court's orders can be
attributed to his own willfulness or 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. Here, the record shows that Plaintiff has failed to
respond to the last two orders from this Court. The 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 last two orders by this Court set clear and firm
deadlines for Plaintiff to follow. He nevertheless failed to
adhere to those deadlines, in violation of both the local
rules and the order itself. Accordingly, the first factor
weights in favor of dismissal.
second factor, however, weighs against dismissal; since
Defendants have not yet been served, they have not been
prejudiced by Plaintiff's inactions.
contrast, the third factor clearly weighs in favor of
dismissal, as Plaintiff has failed to comply with the
Court's orders, despite being expressly warned of the
possible consequences of such a failure [Doc. 5 p. 8; Doc. 7
as to the fourth factor, the Court finds that alternative
sanctions would not be effective. Plaintiff has filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis;
therefore, the Court has no indication that Plaintiff has the
ability to pay a monetary fine. Further, Plaintiff failed to
respond to the Court's orders. Any further attempt to
prod Plaintiff into compliance through the imposition of a
lesser sanction than dismissal would appear to be futile.
There seems little purpose allowing alternative sanctions
where Plaintiff has apparently abandoned his case showing a
lack of respect for this Court's deadlines and orders,
even after threatened with its dismissal.
Court thus concludes that, in total, the factors weigh in
favor of dismissal of Plaintiff s action pursuant to Rule
41(b). For the reasons discussed herein, this action is
hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE pursuant to