United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon Petitioner Claudio
Morales's (“Morales”) failure to comply with
the Court's January 11, 2019 and February 27, 2019 Orders
and Respondent's Motion to Dismiss. Docs. 8, 17, 19. For
the following reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court
DISMISS Morales's Petition
without prejudice for failure to follow the
Court's Orders, or alternatively, GRANT
Respondent's unopposed Motion to Dismiss and DENY
as moot Morales's Petition. I also
RECOMMEND the Court DIRECT
the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and
enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal and
DENY Morales leave to appeal in forma
pauperis. I DENY as moot
Morales's Motions to Supplement. Docs. 4, 6.
September 7, 2018, Morales filed his 28 U.S.C. § 2241
Petition for writ of Habeas Corpus to challenge the denial of
placement in a community reentry center. Doc. 1 at 2. After
Morales paid the requisite filing fee, he filed two motions
to supplement his Petition. Docs. 4, 6. Morales then filed a
notice of change of address to inform the Court he was housed
at D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia.
Doc. 10. The Court directed service of Morales's Petition
on January 11, 2019, and advised Morales he was to
“immediately inform this Court in writing of any change
of address. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of this
case.” Doc. 8 at 2.
same date, the Court also administratively stayed the
proceedings in this case due to the lapse in federal
appropriations. Doc. 9. The Court's Orders for service
and the administrative stay were sent to Morales at the most
recent address the Court has for him, and Morales's mail
was returned as undeliverable with the notations
“Return to Sender, Not Deliverable as Addressed, Unable
to Forward” and “Return to Sender, Not at this
Facility, ” respectively. Docs. 11, 14. After the Court
lifted the administrative stay, doc. 15, Respondent filed his
Motion to Dismiss. Doc. 17. The Court's Order lifting the
stay was sent to Morales at the most recent address it has
for him, and this Order, too, was returned with the notation
“Return to Sender, Not at this Facility.” Doc.
18. The Court ordered Morales to respond to the Motion to
Dismiss within 14 days of that Order on February 27, 2019,
and advised Morales the Court would determine he did not
oppose the Motion and would grant it as unopposed if Morales
failed to respond. Doc. 19. This Order was also returned as
undeliverable with the notation “Return to Sender, Not
at this Facility.” Doc. 20. In addition, Morales has
made no filings in this case in over three months' time.
Court must now determine how to address Morales's failure
to comply with this Court's Orders. For the reasons set
forth below, I RECOMMEND the Court
DISMISS without prejudice Morales's
Petition. In the alternative, I RECOMMEND
the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss and DENY as moot Morales's
Petition. I also RECOMMEND the Court
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal and DENY Morales leave
to appeal in forma pauperis.
Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute and to Follow this
district court may dismiss a petitioner's claims for
failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b) (“Rule 41(b)”) and 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 Fed.Appx. 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 petitioner'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 Fed.Appx.
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 Fed.Appx.
802, 802 (11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Jones v. Graham,
709 F.2d 1457, 1458 (11th Cir. 1983)).
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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. at 619; see also
Coleman, 433 Fed.Appx. at 719; Brown, 205
Fed.Appx. at 802-03.
the Court exercises its discretion to dismiss cases with
caution, dismissal of this action without prejudice is
warranted. See Coleman, 433 Fed.Appx. at 719
(upholding dismissal without prejudice for failure to
prosecute, where plaintiff did not respond to court order to
supply defendant's current address for purpose of
service); Brown, 205 Fed.Appx. at 802-03 (upholding
dismissal without prejudice for failure to prosecute, where
plaintiff failed to follow court order to file amended
complaint and court had informed plaintiff that noncompliance
could lead to dismissal).
has not updated the Court with his current address, despite
the Court's instruction to him regarding this obligation.
Doc. 8 at 2. And Morales has failed to respond to
Defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court has no means by
which it can communicate with Morales and is unable to move
forward with this case. Thus, the Court should
DISMISS without prejudice Morales's
§ 2241 Petition. Doc. 1.
Whether Morales's Petition is Moot
III of the Constitution “extends the jurisdiction of
federal courts to only ‘Cases' and
‘Controversies.'” Strickland v.
Alexander, 772 F.3d 876, 882 (11th Cir. 2014). This
“case-or-controversy restriction imposes” what is
“generally referred to as ‘justiciability'
limitations.” Id. There are “three
strands of justiciability doctrine-standing, ripeness, and
mootness-that go to the heart of the Article III case or
controversy requirement.” Harrell v. The Fla.
Bar, 608 F.3d 1241, 1247 (11th Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks and alterations omitted). Regarding the
mootness strand, the United States Supreme Court has made
clear that “a federal court has no authority ‘to
give opinions upon moot questions or abstract propositions,
or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect
the matter in issue in the case before it.'”
Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506
U.S. 9, 12 (1992) (internal citation omitted). Accordingly,
“[a]n issue is moot when it no longer presents a live
controversy with respect to which the court can give
meaningful relief.” Friends of Everglades v. S.
Fla. Water Mgmt. Dist., 570 F.3d 1210, 1216 (11th Cir.
2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Questions of
justiciability are not answered “simply by looking to