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Scott v. Newsome

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division

July 31, 2019

KEITH ALAN SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON NEWSOME, et al., 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 undersigned's order to show cause (Doc. 12). For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends that the present action be dismissed without prejudice for failure to comply with two court orders.[1]

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 28, 2019. Plaintiff did not pay the filing fee or move for leave to proceed in forma pauperis at that time. Consequently, on March 6, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff, by April 5, 2019, to either pay the filing fee or properly move for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff did not comply with that order within the deadline set by the undersigned.

         On April 19, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to explain his failure to comply with the undersigned's previous order. (Doc. 7). On April 22, 2019, the clerk of the court received Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis along with a notice of change of address.

         Plaintiff's in forma pauperis motion suffered from two major defects: (1) it did not contain all the information needed to rule on such a motion;[2] and (2) Plaintiff's notice of change of address indicated that he no longer was a prisoner. Consequently, Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis-on a form approved by the District Court for use only by prisoners-did not include the information a court would need to grant such a motion. The undersigned, therefore, denied Plaintiff's motion without prejudice, and the clerk of the court sent to Plaintiff the proper form to be used by non-prisoners seeking to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 11). On April 29, 2019, the undersigned again ordered Plaintiff to pay the filing fee or properly resubmit his motion and set a new deadline of May 30, 2019. (Id.). To this date, Plaintiff has not complied with this order.

         On June 13, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to explain his failure to comply with the undersigned's previous orders. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff was given until July 15, 2019 to comply. To this date, Plaintiff also has not complied with that order.

         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). “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 April 29, 2019, the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to pay the filing fee or properly move for leave to proceed in forma pauperis within thirty days. Plaintiff still has not complied with that order.

         (2) The Plaintiff's failure to comply with ...


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