United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
HAYDER ABDUL HUSSEIN ALMOSAWI d/b/a Alnahrain Market & Restaurant Corp.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Honorable Eli J. Richardson, District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Order entered December 10, 2018 (Docket No. 15), this civil
action was referred to the Magistrate Judge for customized
case management in accordance with Local Rule 16.01. For the
reasons set out below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
respectfully recommends that this action be dismissed.
is a Tennessee resident who asserts that he is the sole
proprietor of the Alnahrain Market & Restaurant, a
business located in Nashville, Tennessee. Plaintiff alleges
that an integral part of his business involves receiving
reimbursement from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (“SNAP”) for customer purchases made via
Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. (See Complaint
at Docket No. 1).
22, 2018, he filed this lawsuit against the United States of
America (“Defendant”), alleging that his business
had been permanently disqualified from participating in SNAP.
Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 2023(a)(13), he requests a de
novo judicial review of the Final Agency Decision on the
disqualification from SNAP. (Id.). Upon being served
with process, Defendant responded to the complaint by filing
a motion to dismiss, asserting: (1) that the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction because the lawsuit was not
timely filed; and (2) that Plaintiff fails to state a claim
for relief. (See Docket No. 13). The initial case
management conference was cancelled pending a ruling on the
motion. By Memorandum and Order entered August 5, 2019, the
Court denied Defendant's motion (as one for summary
judgment) without prejudice to being refiled. (See
Docket Nos. 23 and 24).
Plaintiff's lawsuit was filed with the benefit of counsel
and although counsel responded to the motion to dismiss,
Plaintiff's counsel filed a motion to withdraw on April
18, 2019, asserting that counsel was unable to contact
Plaintiff. (See Docket No. 20). By Order entered
August 8, 2019, the motion to withdraw was granted, and
Plaintiff was given until September 6, 2019 to either (1)
retain new counsel, as evidenced by the entry of an
appearance on behalf of Plaintiff, or (2) notify the Court of
his intention to proceed pro se. (See
Docket No. 25 at 1). Further, because of a lack of clarity as
to whether Plaintiff's business was operating as a sole
proprietorship or a corporate entity, the latter of which
would require counsel to represent the corporation, Plaintiff
was also required to demonstrate by the September 6, 2019
deadline that he legally operates as a sole proprietorship
and is the real party in interest. (Id.). Plaintiff
was specifically advised that his failure to comply with the
Court's directives would result in a recommendation for
dismissal of the case. (Id. at 2).
Clerk was directed to send a copy of the August 8, 2019 Order
to Plaintiff at the address that was listed in the complaint
for Plaintiff's business, which is the only address of
record for Plaintiff. (Id.). However, the docket
reflects that copies of the order sent to Plaintiff at the
address that he provided in his complaint were returned as
undeliverable with the notations “attempted not
known” and “unable to forward.”
(See Docket Nos. 26 and 27).
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 ... (C) fails to
obey a scheduling or other pretrial order.” One of the
sanctions set forth in Rule 37(b)(2) includes the sanction of
“dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in
part.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v). It is also well
settled that federal trial courts have the inherent power to
manage their own dockets, Link v. Wabash R.R., 370
U.S. 626 (1961), and Rule 41(b) permits the Court to dismiss
an action upon the showing of a clear record of delay,
contumacious conduct, or failure to prosecute by a plaintiff.
See Bishop v. Cross, 790 F.2d 38 (6th Cir. 1986);
Carter v. City of Memphis, Tennessee, 636 F.2d 159,
161 (6th Cir. 1980). The imposition of sanctions and the type
of sanctions imposed are matters within the sound discretion
of the Court based on the facts of each particular case.
See National Hockey League v. Metropolitan Hockey
Club, 427 U.S. 639 (1976); Regional Refuse Sys. v.
Inland Reclamation Co., 842 F.2d 150, 154 (6th Cir.
circumstances of this case warrant its dismissal. As
indicated by the return of the Court mail that was sent to
Plaintiff, his whereabouts are unknown and the Court does not
have a good mailing address for him. As a result, the Court
cannot communicate with Plaintiff and he is unaware of the
Court's directives or the progression of the case. His
lack of communication with former counsel led to counsel
being permitted to withdraw, and Plaintiff now proceeds
pro se. However, the case cannot proceed with an
the Court recognizes Plaintiffs status as a pro se
litigant affords his with some measure of leeway, proceeding
pro se does not relieve a litigant from the basic
obligations required of all parties, such as keeping the
Court informed of a good mailing address and remaining
involved in the case upon the withdrawal of counsel. See
Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991);
Davis v. Bilbrey, 2012 WL 2947587 (M.D. Tenn. July
19, 2012) (Haynes, J.) (pro se plaintiffs failure to
adhere to court-imposed deadlines warranted sanction of
dismissal); Hanners v. Jones, 2007 WL 2710694 (M.D.
Tenn. Sept. 13, 2007) (Nixon, J.) (same).
reasons set out above, the undersigned respectfully
RECOMMENDS that this case be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
under Rules 16(f) and Rule ...