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Harris v. Danforth

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

March 5, 2015

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM DANFORTH, et al., Defendants.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility in Alamo, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this action. On January 27, 2015, the Court reviewed Plaintiff's complaint in conformity with the IFP statute. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) & 1915A. Because of pleading deficiencies in Plaintiff's complaint, the Court ordered him to amend his complaint. (Doc. no. 8.) Plaintiff was given twenty-one days to comply, and he was warned that, if he wanted to proceed with his case, he must file an amended complaint. (See id.) In addition, the Court specifically advised Plaintiff that if he failed to amend his complaint as instructed, the Court would presume that he desired to have his case voluntarily dismissed and would recommend dismissal of his case without prejudice. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff has not responded to the Court's January 27th Order.

The Eleventh Circuit has stated that "[a] district court has inherent authority to manage its own docket so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.'" Equity Lifestyle Props., Inc. v. Fla. Mowing & Landscape Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232, 1240 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991)). This authority includes the power to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute or failure to comply with a court order. Id . (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)); see also Eades v. Alabama Dep't of Human Res., 298 F.Appx. 862, 863 (11th Cir. 2008) ("District courts possess the ability to dismiss a case... for want of prosecution based on two possible sources of authority: Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) or their inherent authority to manage their dockets."). Moreover, the Local Rules of the Southern District of Georgia dictate that an "assigned Judge may, after notice to counsel of record, sua sponte ... dismiss any action for want of prosecution, with or without prejudice... [for] failure to prosecute a civil action with reasonable promptness." Loc. R. 41.1(c). Finally, "dismissal without prejudice [is] appropriate" pursuant to Rule 41(b) where a plaintiff has failed to comply with a court order, "especially where the litigant has been forewarned." Owens v. Pinellas Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 331 F.Appx. 654, 655 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989)).

Here, Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's Order, or even to provide the Court with an explanation for his failure to amend his complaint, amounts not only to a failure to prosecute, but also an abandonment of his case. This is precisely the type of neglect contemplated by the Local Rules. Furthermore, because Plaintiff is proceeding IFP, the Court finds that the imposition of monetary sanctions is not a feasible sanction.

The Court recognizes that Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and acknowledges that courts have voiced a dislike for the harshness of dismissing a pro se case with prejudice prior to an adjudication on the merits.[1] See, e.g., Minnette v. Time Warner, 997 F.2d 1023, 1027 (2d Cir. 1993); Dickson v. Ga. State Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, No. 1:06-CV-1310-JTC, 2007 WL 2904168, at *6 (N.D.Ga. Oct. 3, 2007). Thus, the Court is not persuaded that it would be appropriate to dismiss the instant action with prejudice. The Court is not permanently barring Plaintiff from bringing a meritorious claim. It is simply recommending dismissal of the case without prejudice until such time as Plaintiff is willing to file his case and pursue it.

For the reasons set forth herein, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS that this case be DISMISSED without prejudice under Loc. R. 41.1 for want of ...


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