Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morales v. Edge

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

April 24, 2019

CLAUDIO MORALES, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN EDGE, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This 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.[1] I DENY as moot Morales's Motions to Supplement. Docs. 4, 6.

         BACKGROUND

         On 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.

         On this 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.

         DISCUSSION

         The 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.

         I. Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute and to Follow this Court's Orders

         A 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);[2] 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)).

         It is 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.

         While 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).

         Morales 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.

         II. Whether Morales's Petition is Moot

         Article 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 ‚Äúsimply by looking to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.