United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
Alistair E. Newbern United States Magistrate Judge.
Defendant James B. Garrett and pro se Plaintiff Larry Crim
have filed motions to ascertain the status of this action.
(Doc. Nos. 85, 86.) Garrett's motion (Doc. No. 85) and
Crim's motion (Doc. No. 86) are GRANTED.
status of this case is as follows:
initiated this action on April 5, 2019, when he filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants
Garrett, Scott Golden, Michael Sullivan, the Tennessee
Republican Party (TNRP), Marsha Blackburn, Mark Goins, John
Doe, and Jane Doe. (Doc. No. 1.) Garrett answered Crim's
complaint (Doc. No. 20). Golden, Sullivan, the TNRP,
Blackburn, and Goins filed motions to dismiss (Doc. Nos. 17,
21, 33). On August 19, 2019, Crim filed an amended complaint
as of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1),
adding the TNRP's State Executive Committee as a
defendant and alleging that all of the defendants violated
his constitutional rights in his attempts to secure the
TNRP's nomination to run for a seat in the United States
Senate. (Doc. No. 38.) The Court found the defendants'
motions to dismiss the original complaint moot in light of
the amended complaint and directed the Clerk's Office to
administratively terminate those motions. (Doc. No. 44.)
Golden, Sullivan, Blackburn, Goins, and the TNRP and its
State Executive Committee (collectively, the TNRP) filed
motions to dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 40, 45,
47, 49.) On October 18, 2019, Crim filed a motion to amend
his complaint a second time (Doc. No. 61), and a motion to
seal parts of the proposed second amended complaint (Doc. No.
59). Garrett, Golden, Sullivan, the TNRP, Blackburn, and
Goins opposed the motion to amend. (Doc. Nos. 65, 66, 68,
71.) At Crim's request, the Court extended his deadline
to respond to the defendants' legal arguments in support
of their motions to dismiss the amended complaint until
November 1, 2019. (Doc. No. 63.) On October 31, 2019, the
Court denied Crim's motion to stay all deadlines in this
action while he sought counsel. (Doc. No. 73.)
November 1, 2019, Crim filed a notice of voluntary dismissal
“of the entire action and case . . . against all
Defendants pursuant to FRCP Rule 41 (a)(1)(A)(i).”
(Doc. No. 79.) On November 4, 2019, Garrett filed a response
to Crim's notice, stating that he had “no
objections to the Court dismissing this action based upon the
Plaintiff's Notice of Voluntary Dismissal[, ]” but
arguing that “this action should be dismissed with
prejudice as an adjudication on the merits” under Rule
41(a)(1)(B) because Crim had previously dismissed the same
claims against different defendants in another federal case.
(Doc. No. 80, PageID# 640.) The next day, Garrett changed his
position and filed a “motion for involuntary dismissal
of this action” stating that his request for voluntary
dismissal with prejudice under Rule 41(a)(1)(B) “was
mistaken” and arguing that the Court should dismiss
Crim's claims involuntarily under Rule 41(b) for
failure to comply with the Court's order setting November
1, 2019, as his deadline to respond to the defendants'
motions to dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. No. 81,
PageID# 644.) On November 8, 2019, Crim filed a memorandum of
law in support of his notice of voluntary dismissal. (Doc.
No. 83.) Due to an administrative backlog, Crim's
memorandum was not docketed until November 13, 2019.
meantime, on November 12, 2019, the Court issued an order
finding that Crim could voluntarily dismiss his claims
against all of the defendants except Garrett because Garrett
had answered Crim's original complaint. (Doc. No. 82.)
See Kensu v. Corizon, Inc., No. 19-10616, 2019 WL
5578057, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 29, 2019) (collecting
authority for the principle that a “plaintiff loses the
ability to voluntarily dismiss under Rule 41(a)(1) when the
defendant has filed an answer or summary judgment motion to
the original complaint, even where an amended complaint is
then filed”). The Court acknowledged that Crim's
claims against all defendants except Garrett had been
dismissed without prejudice and ordered Crim to respond to
Garrett's motion for involuntary dismissal by November
27, 2019. (Doc. No. 82.)
November 14, 2019, the day after Crim's memorandum of law
in support of his motion for voluntary dismissal was
docketed, the Court referred Garrett's motion for
involuntary dismissal to the Magistrate Judge for a report
and recommendation. (Doc. No. 84.) On the same day, Crim
filed a motion to ascertain status asking the Court to
clarify whether he could still file a response to
Garrett's motion by November 27, 2019. (Doc. No. 86.)
Court ORDERS that Crim may file a response to Garrett's
motion for involuntary dismissal under Rule 41(b) (Doc. No.
81) by November 27, 2019.
the Court has dismissed Golden, Sullivan, Blackburn, Goins,
and the TNRP from this action, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED
to ADMINISTRATIVELY TERMINATE their motions to dismiss the
amended complaint (Doc. Nos. 40, 45, 47).
only motions that remain pending in this action are
Garrett's motion to dismiss the amended complaint under
Rule 12(b)(6) (Doc. No. 49), Crim's motion to seal (Doc.
No. 59) and motion to amend (Doc. No. 61), and Garrett's