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Clay v. Williams

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

June 10, 2019

REGINALD CLAY, Plaintiff,
v.
TAMMY WILLIAMS and SHANE GILBERT, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MICHAEL J. FRANK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The clerk of the court referred this case to the undersigned upon Plaintiff's failure to respond to the order to show cause issued by the undersigned on May 20, 2019. The undersigned recommends that this action be dismissed without prejudice for failure to comply with a court order and failure to prosecute.[1]

         I. Background

         On January 10, 2018, Plaintiff, appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments. On June 14, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint naming two Defendants: Doctor Tammy Williams and Nurse Shane Gilbert. (Doc. 9 at 1-3). On October 18, 2018, Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos directed service of Plaintiff's first amended complaint on Defendant's Williams and Gilbert. (Doc. 11).

         On March 15, 2019, Defendant Gilbert filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 18). On March 19, 2019, Defendant Tammy Williams filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 21). On March 28, 2019, Defendant Gilbert notified this court that Plaintiff failed to keep the clerk of the court advised of his mailing address. (Doc. 22). The Florida Department of Corrections' public website indicated that Plaintiff was released from prison on October 1, 2018, and his listed residence was “homeless Jacksonville, FL.” (Doc. 23 at 1). Plaintiff did not notify this court of his release and did not provide this court with any address to which it could send mail or otherwise contact Plaintiff.

         On March 29, 2019, to determine whether the Plaintiff was still interested in prosecuting this case, the undersigned issued an order directing the Plaintiff to file; (1) a notice with the court stating his intent to continue to prosecute this action; or (2) if he is not interested in prosecuting the case, a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case. (Doc. 23). The undersigned also directed Plaintiff to file a response to the motions to dismiss in the event that Plaintiff desired to continue to prosecute this case. The undersigned imposed a deadline of April 29, 2019 to comply. The undersigned warned Plaintiff that his failure to comply with this court's order likely would result in a dismissal of this action. This order was sent to the address provided on the summons. To date, Plaintiff has not filed a notice with the court indicating his desire to prosecute this case and he has not responded to the motions to dismiss.

         On May 17, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to explain why this action should not be dismissed for failure to comply with an order of the court and his failure to keep the court apprised of his current address. Plaintiff was given twenty-one days to comply with that order. The undersigned again warned the Plaintiff that his failure to comply with the court's order likely would result in dismissal of this action. To date, Plaintiff has not responded to that order and has not updated his address.

         II. Discussion

         “A federal court has at its disposal an array of means to enforce its orders, including dismissal in an appropriate case.” Degen v. United States, 517 U.S. 820, 827, 116 S.Ct. 1777, 1782 (1996); see e.g., N.D. Fla. Loc. R. 41.1 (“If a party fails to comply with an applicable rule or court order, the Court may strike a pleading, dismiss a claim, enter a default on a claim, take other appropriate action, or issue an order to show cause why any of these actions should not be taken.”). “Federal courts possess an inherent power to dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with a court order.” Foudy v. Indian River Cty. Sheriff's Office, 845 F.3d 1117, 1126 (11th Cir. 2017); Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. v. Florida Mowing & Landscape Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232, 1240 (11th Cir. 2009) (“The court may dismiss a claim if the plaintiff fails to prosecute it or comply with a court order.”); see Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-31, 82 S.Ct. 1386, 1388-89 (1962) (noting the inherent power of courts to dismiss an action is not precluded by Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)). Courts may sua sponte dismiss cases for failure to comply with court orders and for failure to prosecute an action. Costello v. United States, 365 U.S. 265, 286-87, 81 S.Ct. 534, 545 (1961) (noting that a district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint for a plaintiff's failure to comply with an order of the court); Snider v. Melindez, 199 F.3d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 1999) (noting that the Supreme Court has “long held that courts may dismiss actions on their own motion in a broad range of circumstances”).

         In recommending dismissal, the undersigned has taken into consideration the following seven factors, among others:

(1) The duration of the Plaintiff's failure to comply. On March 29, 2019, the undersigned issued an order directing Plaintiff to file a notice indicating his desire to prosecute this case and to respond to the motions to dismiss. Plaintiff failed to comply with the court's order. On May 17, 2019, the undersigned issued an order to show cause order and provided Plaintiff twenty-one days to respond. Plaintiff has not responded. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to comply with a court order since about April 29, 2019.
(2) The Plaintiff's failure to comply with two court orders. The Plaintiff has failed to comply with the following orders:
a. the order of March 29, ...

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