United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BRIAN K. EPFS JUDGE.
formerly detained at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification
State Prison in Jackson, Georgia, commenced the
above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
allegedly occurring at McDuffie County Detention Center in
Thompson, Georgia. He is pro se and is currently proceeding
in forma pauperis (“IFP”). The Court has been
informed the Clerk of Court's Notice that Defendant
Crowder filed a motion for summary judgment sent on June 12,
2019, has been returned; Plaintiff is no longer located at
the address he has on file with the Court. (See doc. no. 24.)
Plaintiff was directed in the Court's July 25, 2018 and
January 16, 2019 Orders to immediately inform the Court of
any change in address, and he was told that the failure to do
so would result in the dismissal of his case. (Doc. no. 3,
pp. 3-4; doc. no. 20.)
fact, this is the second time Plaintiff failed to update the
Court of his address. (See doc. no. 20.) On December 24,
2018, Defendant Crowder filed her answer to Plaintiff's
complaint and addressed the certificate of service to
Plaintiff at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State
Prison in Jackson, Georgia. (Doc. no. 17.) On December 26,
2018, the Clerk of Court issued a scheduling notice to
Plaintiff at McDuffie County Jail to inform him of the
discovery deadlines in this case. (Doc. no. 18.) On January
3, 2019, the scheduling notice mailed to Plaintiff was
returned with the initials for return to sender, “RTS,
” on the envelope. (Doc. no. 19.) Plaintiff did not
file a notice of change of address with the Court, and his
address remained listed as McDuffie County Jail. However,
because Defendant Crowder served her answer on Plaintiff at
Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, the Court
directed the clerk to update Plaintiff's address. (Doc.
no. 20.) The Court further stressed to Plaintiff the
importance of keeping the Court abreast of his current
address or face dismissal. (Doc. no. 20, pp. 2-3.)
district court has authority to manage its docket to
expeditiously resolve cases, and this authority includes the
power to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute or failure
to comply with a court order. Equity Lifestyle Props., Inc.
v. Fla. Mowing & Landscape Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232,
1240 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)); see also
Eades v. Ala. Dep't of Human Res., 298 Fed.Appx. 862, 863
(11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (“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] [w]illful disobedience or neglect of
any order of the Court; or [a]ny other failure to prosecute a
civil action with reasonable promptness.” Loc. R.
41.1(c). Finally, dismissal without prejudice is generally
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
Cty. Sheriff's Dep't, 331 Fed.Appx. 654, 655 (11th
Cir. 2009) (per curiam) (citing Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d
835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989)); see also Loc. R. 41.1(b) (Court
may dismiss an action sua sponte for “willful
disobedience or neglect of any order of the Court”).
Plaintiff's failure to keep the Court informed of his
address is a direct violation of the Court's July 25,
2018 and January 16, 2019 Orders and saddles the Court with a
stagnant case in which no communication with Plaintiff seems
possible. Indeed, the Court has previously tried to
communicate with Plaintiff about the importance of informing
the Court of his current address, but his address is not
current. (See doc. no. 20.) Plaintiff has not communicated
with the Court since filing a motion on October 3, 2018. (See
doc. no. 10.) Plaintiff was warned twice that failure to
immediately notify the Court of any change of address would
result in dismissal of his case. This is precisely the type
of neglect contemplated by the Local Rules. The Court also
finds that the imposition of monetary sanctions is not a
feasible sanction because Plaintiff is proceeding IFP and no
portion of the filing fee has been paid. Therefore, dismissal
for want of prosecution is appropriate.
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. See, e.g., Gormley v. Nix, No.
04-12374, 2005 WL 2090282, at *3-4 (11th Cir. Aug. 31, 2005)
(per curiam); Dickson v. Ga. State Bd. of Pardons and
Paroles, No. 1:06-CV-1310-JTC, 2007 WL 2904168, at *6
(N.D.Ga. Oct. 3, 2007). Thus, the Court is simply
recommending dismissal without prejudice until such time as
Plaintiff is willing to file his case and pursue it.
Accordingly, the Court REPORTS and
RECOMMENDS this case be
DISMISSED without prejudice and
REPORTED and RECOMMENDED.
Unless the Court specifies otherwise, a
dismissal for failure to prosecute operates as an
adjudication on the merits. See ...