United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
QUINCY L. WEST, Plaintiff,
JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, et. al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. Purcell, Judge
a state prisoner appearing pro se and in forma
pauperis, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The matter has been referred to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28
initiated this action on November 19, 2018. Doc. No. 1. On
January 10, 2019, the undersigned issued an Order explaining
that following the screening of Plaintiff's Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and 28 U.S.C. § 1915
(e)(2)(B), the undersigned concluded Plaintiff's claims
were deficient in several respects. Doc. No. 14. Plaintiff
appears to be attempting to assert three Eighth Amendment
claims related to conditions of confinement, excessive force,
and medical care. Id. at 2-3. However, as explained
in the Court's Order, his allegations are insufficient
standing alone to support his claims. Id. at 3-7.
Additionally, Plaintiff's factual allegations supporting
his claims do not refer to any actions by, or omissions of,
an individual defendant. Id. at 7-8. After detailing
the deficiencies, the undersigned granted Plaintiff an
opportunity to file an amended complaint to allege plausible
constitutional claims and ordered him to do so no later than
February 11, 2019. Id. at 10.
of filing an amended pleading, Plaintiff filed a letter with
the Court that, even construed broadly, did not cure the
deficiencies explained in the Court's previous Order.
Doc. No. 15. On February 20, 2019, the undersigned provided
Plaintiff another opportunity to file an amended complaint no
later than March 5, 2019, and also enclosed a court-approved
form for 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions. Doc. No. 16.
Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's Order,
the undersigned issued an Order to Show Cause on March 15,
2019, directing Plaintiff to show cause why his action should
not be dismissed for failure to prosecute and/or failure to
comply with the Court's orders. Doc. No. 17. To date,
Plaintiff has neither filed an amended pleading, nor
responded to the Court's Order to Show Cause.
Standard for Dismissal
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b), the Court may dismiss an action, sua
sponte, if “the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to
comply with . . . a court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b);
see also Olsen v. Mapes, 333 F.3d 1199, 1204 n.3
(10th Cir. 2003) (holding that despite Rule 41(b)'s
reference to a defendant's motion, “the Rule has
long been interpreted to permit courts to dismiss actions
sua sponte for a plaintiff's failure to
prosecute or comply with the rules of civil procedure or
court's orders”). “The ‘authority of a
court to dismiss sua sponte for lack of prosecution
has generally been considered an inherent power, governed . .
. by the control necessarily vested in courts to manage their
own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious
disposition of cases.'” U.S. ex rel. Jimenez v.
Health Net, Inc., 400 F.3d 853, 855 (10th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626,
630-31 (1962)). “The federal courts are not a
playground for the petulant or absent-minded; our rules and
orders exist, in part, to ensure that the administration of
justice occurs in a manner that most efficiently utilizes
limited judicial resources.” Id. at 856.
court should impose “dismissal for failure to prosecute
. . . only after careful exercise of judicial discretion,
” “dismissal is an appropriate disposition
against a party who disregards court orders and fails to
proceed as required by court rules.” Id. at
855. However, because dismissal with prejudice is an
“extreme sanction, ” appropriate only in cases of
willful misconduct, the court must consider: (1) “the
degree of actual prejudice” to defendants; (2)
“the amount of interference with the judicial
process”; (3) Plaintiff's
“culpability”; (4) “whether the court
warned [Plaintiff] in advance that dismissal of the action
would be a likely sanction for noncompliance”; and (5)
if “lesser sanctions” would be more effective.
Ehrenhaus v. Reynolds, 965 F.2d 916, 921 (10th Cir.
1992) (quotations omitted); see also Gripe v. City of
Enid, 312 F.3d 1184, 1188 (10th Cir. 2002) (holding that
when a court dismisses a complaint with prejudice under Rule
41(b), it should consider the
(quoting Mobley v. McCormick, 40 F.3d 337, 340-41
(10th Cir. 1997)).
plaintiff proceeds without an attorney, he bears the
responsibility of prosecuting this case with due diligence.
The Court must liberally construe pro se filings;
however, pro se status does not excuse the
obligation of any litigant to comply with the same rules of
procedure that govern other litigants. Green v.
Dorrell, 969 F.2d 915, 917 (10th Cir. 1992); see
also Nielsen v. Price, 17 F.3d 1276, 1277 (10th Cir.
1994). Plaintiff has disregarded this Court's explicit
Orders regarding the filing of an amended complaint, thereby
unduly delaying resolution of this matter.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give a district court ample
tools to deal with a recalcitrant litigant, including
dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(b). Jones v. Thompson,
996 F.2d 261, 264 (10th Cir. 1993). Applying the
Ehrenhaus factors, supra., the undersigned
finds Plaintiff's failure to prosecute and comply with
the Court's Order warrants dismissal.
the first factor, Plaintiff's failure to file a pleading
conforming to the Order for an amended complaint adversely
affects potential defendants in this matter by keeping the
lawsuit in limbo and depriving them of the opportunity to
defend against claims asserted against them. Additionally,
the absence of a pleading complying with the Court's
Order impedes the Court's ability to review pleadings
from Plaintiff and future defendants for consideration in
reaching a fair and just conclusion of Plaintiff's
claims. Plaintiff's inaction is inconsistent with the
true adjudication of an adverse and non-frivolous dispute.
continued noncompliance with the judicial process by failing
to comply with the Court's Orders flouts the Court's
authority, similar to the Tenth Circuit's determination
in Ehrenhaus. Ehrenhaus, 965 F.2d at 921.
Additionally, Plaintiff's persistent failure to comply
with the Court's Orders compels the Court's
continuous monitoring of this matter and unnecessary issuance
of orders, in turn ...