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Lyles v. Grant

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

April 13, 2018

Kenyatte Lyles, Plaintiff,
v.
Anthony Grant, Rotundra Hughley, Jennifer Doe, Candice Makins, Tyanna Hardy, Chandra Grant, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff brought this action in the Northern District of Georgia, and it was transferred to this Court on December 1, 2017. On December 11, 2017, Defendants Chandra Grant and Tyanna Hardy ("the Moving Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss. [Doc. 23.] By Order of this Court filed December 12, 2017, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was advised of the summary judgment/dismissal procedure and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately. [Doc. 24.] Despite the explanation regarding the consequences for failing to respond, Plaintiff failed to respond to the motion.

         As Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court filed an Order on January 19, 2018, giving Plaintiff through February 8, 2018, to respond to the Moving Defendants' motion to dismiss. [Doc. 30.] Plaintiff was specifically advised that if he failed to respond, this action would be dismissed with respect to the Moving Defendants for failure to prosecute. [Id.] On February 9, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff an extension until February 28, 2018, to respond to the motion, again reminding Plaintiff that the action would be dismissed with respect to the Moving Defendants for failure to prosecute if he failed to respond. [Doc. 35.] On March 1, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion to stay his opposition to the motion to dismiss. [Doc. 38.] On March 16, 2018, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion to stay his opposition and ordered Plaintiff to respond to the Moving Defendants' motion to dismiss by April 5, 2018. [Doc. 45.] Plaintiff was again reminded that the action would be dismissed with respect to the Moving Defendants for failure to prosecute if he failed to respond. [Id.] However, Plaintiff has failed to respond to the Moving Defendants' motion to dismiss.[*]

         Based on the foregoing, it appears Plaintiff no longer wishes to pursue this action against the Moving Defendants. “The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure recognize that courts must have the authority to control litigation before them, and this authority includes the power to order dismissal of an action for failure to comply with court orders.” Ballard v. Carlson, 882 F.2d 93, 95 (4th Cir. 1989) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)). “Federal courts possess an inherent authority to dismiss cases with prejudice sua sponte.” Gantt v. Md. Div. of Corr., 894 F.Supp. 226, 229 (D. Md. 1995) (citing Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626 (1962); White v. Raymark Indust., Inc., 783 F.2d 1175 (4th Cir. 1986); Zaczek v. Fauquier Cnty., Va., 764 F.Supp. 1071, 1074 (E.D. Va.1991)).

         The Fourth Circuit, in Davis v. Williams, recognizing that dismissal with prejudice is a harsh sanction that should not be invoked lightly, set forth four factors for determining whether Rule 41(b) dismissal is appropriate:

(1) the degree of personal responsibility on the part of the plaintiff;
(2) the amount of prejudice to the defendant caused by the delay;
(3) the presence or absence of a drawn out history of deliberately proceeding in a dilatory fashion; and
(4) the effectiveness of sanctions less drastic than dismissal.

588 F.2d 69, 70 (4th Cir. 1978) (citing McCargo v. Hedrick, 545 F.2d 393, 396 (4th Cir. 1976)). Subsequently, however, the Fourth Circuit noted that “the four factors . . . are not a rigid four-pronged test, ” and whether to dismiss depends on the particular circumstances of the case. Ballard, 882 F.2d at 95. For example, in Ballard, the court reasoned that “the Magistrate's explicit warning that a recommendation of dismissal would result from failure to obey his order is a critical fact that distinguishes this case from those cited by appellant. . . . In view of the warning, the district court had little alternative to dismissal. Any other course would have placed the credibility of the court in doubt and invited abuse.” Id. at 95-96.

         As Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he is personally responsible for his failure to respond to the motion to dismiss. Plaintiff has had over four months to respond to the Moving Defendant's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff's initial response was due by January 12, 2018; despite being advised of the possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond, Plaintiff elected not to respond to the motion. The Court filed another Order, reminding Plaintiff a response was due and giving him additional time-until February 8, 2018, and extended to February 28, 2018-to respond. Rather than filing a response to the motion to dismiss, Plaintiff filed a motion to stay his opposition. The Court denied Plaintiff's motion to stay his opposition and extended Plaintiff's deadline to respond to the Moving Defendants' motion to dismiss until April 5, 2018. The Court has warned Plaintiff multiple times that the case would be dismissed with respect to the Moving Defendants pursuant to Rule 41(b) if Plaintiff failed to file a response. Despite these explanations, Plaintiff has elected not to respond. Because Plaintiff has already ignored Court Orders and deadlines, sanctions less drastic than dismissal would not be effective.

         Wherefore, based upon the foregoing, the Court recommends the case be DISMISSED as to Defendants Chandra Grant and Tyanna Hardy pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).

         IT IS ...


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