United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
AARON L. STEPHEN, Plaintiff,
RANDY AUSTIN; RON CORBITT; ANN LEMIEUX; and GUADALUPE THOMPSON, Defendants.
ORDER and MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
who is currently incarcerated at Glynn County Detention
Center in Brunswick, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) On August 17, 2017, the
Court ordered Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint. (Doc.
3.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) In addition, I
RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without
prejudice Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to
prosecute and failure to follow this Court's Order,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case, and DENY
Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis.
filed his Complaint along with a Motion for Leave to Proceed
in forma pauperis on August 7, 2017. (Docs. 1-2.) On
August 17, 2017, the Court deferred ruling on Plaintiff's
in forma pauperis Motion and directed Plaintiff to
file an amended complaint. (Doc. 3.) Plaintiff's original
Complaint consisted solely of his Objections from a
then-ongoing case before this Court. (Id. at p. 3.)
The Court advised that “Plaintiff's Complaint in
its current form fails to state a viable claim and is due to
be dismissed.” (Id. at p. 3.) However, the
Court provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to amend and
resubmit his Complaint within fourteen (14) days. The Court
further advised Plaintiff that failing to abide by this
directive would result in dismissal of his case.
(Id. at p. 5.) Despite this warning, Plaintiff
failed to file such an amendment.
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the
filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if
the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement
of all of his assets, shows an inability to pay the filing
fee, and also includes a statement of the nature of the
action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if
the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the
action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity.
Upon such screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or
any portion thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a Complaint
on an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading that states
a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10
(requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs,
each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a
claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if
it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or
fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528,
531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251
F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).
a complaint fails to state a claim under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F.App'x 675,
678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys.”) (emphasis omitted) (quoting Hughes v.
Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However,
Plaintiff's unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes
regarding procedural rules. McNeil v. United States,
508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
for Failure to Prosecute and Failure to Follow this
district court may dismiss a plaintiff's claims sua
sponte pursuant to either Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b) (“Rule 41(b)”) or the court's
inherent authority to manage its docket. Link v. Wabash
R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626 (1962); Coleman v. St. Lucie
Cty. Jail, 433 F.App'x 716, 718 (11th Cir. 2011)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) and Betty K Agencies, Ltd. v.
M/V MONADA, 432 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2005)). In
particular, Rule 41(b) allows for the involuntary dismissal
of a plaintiff's claims where he has failed to prosecute
those claims, comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure or local rules, or follow a court order.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); see also Coleman, 433
F.App'x at 718; Sanders v. Barrett, No.
05-12660, 2005 WL 2640979, at *1 (11th Cir. Oct. 17, 2005)
(citing Kilgo v. Ricks, 983 F.2d 189, 192 (11th Cir.
1993)); cf. Local R. 41.1(b) (“[T]he assigned
Judge may, after notice to counsel of record, sua
sponte . . . dismiss any action for want of prosecution,
with or without prejudice[, ] . . . [based on] willful
disobedience or neglect of any order of the Court.”
(emphasis omitted)). Additionally, a district court's
“power to dismiss is an inherent aspect of its
authority to enforce its orders and ensure prompt disposition
of lawsuits.” Brown v. Tallahassee Police
Dep't, 205 F.App'x 802, 802 (11th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Jones v. Graham, 709 F.2d 1457, 1458 (11th
true that dismissal with prejudice for failure to prosecute
is a “sanction . . . to be utilized only in extreme
situations” and requires that a court “(1)
conclud[e] a clear record of delay or willful contempt
exists; and (2) mak[e] an implicit or explicit finding that
lesser sanctions would not suffice.” Thomas v.
Montgomery Cty. Bd. of Educ., 170 F.App'x 623,
625-26 (11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Morewitz v. West of Eng.
Ship Owners Mut. Prot. & Indem. Ass'n (Lux.), 62
F.3d 1356, 1366 (11th Cir. 1995)); see also Taylor v.
Spaziano, 251 F.App'x 616, 619 (11th Cir. 2007)
(citing Morewitz, 62 F.3d at 1366). By contrast,
dismissal without prejudice for failure to prosecute
is not an adjudication on the merits, and, therefore, courts
are afforded greater discretion in dismissing claims in this
manner. Taylor, 251 F.App'x at 619; see also
Coleman, 433 F.App'x at 719; Brown, 205
F.App'x at 802-03.
the Court exercises its discretion to dismiss cases with
caution, dismissal of this action without prejudice is
warranted. See Coleman, 433 F.App'x at 719
(upholding dismissal without prejudice for failure to
prosecute Section 1983 complaint, where plaintiff did not
respond to court order to supply defendant's current
address for purpose of service); Taylor, 251
F.App'x at 620-21 (upholding dismissal without prejudice
for failure to prosecute, because plaintiffs insisted on
going forward with deficient amended complaint rather than
complying, or seeking an extension of time to comply, with
court's order to file second amended complaint);
Brown, 205 F.App'x at 802-03 (upholding
dismissal without ...