United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
ROBERT L. LYTLE, JR., Plaintiff,
SHERIFF ZACH SCOTT, et al., Defendants.
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on a Report and Recommendation
from the Magistrate Judge recommending that Robert
Lytle's § 1983 action be dismissed for failure to
prosecute. (Doc. 25). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court ADOPTS that Report and Recommendation and dismisses
this suit with prejudice.
Lytle, a pro se inmate, filed suit under § 1983 seeking
damages for various constitutional violations stemming from
his January 16, 2014 arrest at the “Old Landmark
Bar.” (Doc. 1). Lytle named the following defendants:
Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott; Abib Mohamed, MD (the
“Franklin County Defendants”); Columbus Division
of Police officers Todd Cress, Randall Beam, Jennifer
Mancini, Tricia Zimmerman, Craig Goodman, and Matthew
Baughman, and Columbus Division of Fire
firefighters/paramedics Philip Harrow and Vincent Napier (the
“Columbus Defendants”). Lytle alleged that he was
subjected to the use of excessive force, not protected from
the use of excessive force, and denied medical treatment by
the Columbus Defendants during his arrest. He also alleged
that the Franklin County Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs in the wake of that
November 30, 2016, the Columbus Defendants moved for summary
judgment on all claims against them. (Doc. 19). After the
time for responding to that motion expired, the Magistrate
Judge entered an order directing Lytle to file an opposing
memorandum, “if any, within fourteen days of the date
of this order, ” which was docketed on January 12,
2017. (Doc. 20, PageID 180). The Magistrate Judge explicitly
warned Lytle that a failure to respond “may result
either in the motion being treated as unopposed, or in
dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute.”
(Id.). Despite this warning, Lytle never responded
to the Columbus Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
January 18, 2017, the Franklin County Defendants likewise
moved for summary judgment on all claims against them. (Doc.
23). Here again, after the twenty-one day deadline for filing
a response-in-opposition had expired, the Magistrate Judge
entered an order: (1) reminding Lytle that he failed to
respond to the Columbus Defendants' earlier motion for
summary judgment; (2) notifying Lytle that he failed timely
to respond to the Franklin County Defendants' motion for
summary judgment; and (3) warning Lytle that “[i]f he
does not respond to either motion within fourteen days, the
Court will recommend dismissal of the entire case for failure
to prosecute.” (Doc. 24, PageID 194).
month later, the Magistrate issued a Report and
Recommendation, recommending that this Court dismiss
Lytle's entire suit for failure to prosecute. (Doc. 25).
In that Report and Recommendation, the Magistrate explicitly
warned Lytle that he could file an objection to the
recommendation to dismiss within fourteen days, but that a
failure to object would operate as a waiver of de novo review
and the right to appeal the decision of the district court to
adopt the Report and Recommendation. (Id. at PageID
197 (citations omitted)). Another two months have passed, and
Lytle has failed to file an objection to the Report and
courts possess inherent authority to dismiss a
plaintiff's action with prejudice due to a failure to
prosecute. Link v. Wabash Ry. Co., 370 U.S. 626,
629-30 (1962). This longstanding power stems from the need to
prevent undue delays in disposing of cases and to
“avoid congestion in the calendars of the District
Courts.” Id. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
41(b) effectively codified this “ancient, ”
inherent power to dismiss for failure to prosecute.
Id. at 630 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)); see also
Knoll v. AT&T, 176 F.3d 359, 363 (6th Cir. 1999)
(“This measure is available to the district court as a
tool to effect management of its docket and avoidance of
unnecessary burdens on the tax-supported courts [and]
opposing parties.” (quotation omitted)). The decision
to dismiss for failure to prosecute lies in the sound
discretion of the trial court. Knoll, 176 F.3d at
28 U.S.C. § 636(b), parties must file written objections
to the proposed recommendations of a magistrate judge within
fourteen days of being served with a copy. So long as a party
was “properly informed of the consequences of failing
to object” under § 636(b), “the party waives
subsequent review by the district court . . . if it fails to
file an objection.” Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d
373, 380 (6th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted).
the Magistrate Judge properly advised Lytle of the
consequences of failing to object to the Report and
Recommendation that recommended his suit be dismissed. (Doc.
25). Lytle nevertheless opted not to file any objections.
Accordingly, he has waived any review of that recommendation
by this Court. Miller, 50 F.3d at 380; see also,
e.g., Hughes v. Wilson, 86 F. App'x 900,
901 (6th Cir. 2004) (affirming district court's dismissal
of suit after plaintiff failed to file objections to
magistrate judge's report and recommendation).
under de novo review (which Lytle waived by not objecting),
the Court agrees with the Magistrate that dismissal is
appropriate. Lytle has abandoned his own lawsuit. He has
failed to respond to the defendants' motions for summary
judgment over the past six months, despite repeated and
persistent admonishments from the Magistrate Judge to do so,
and despite clear warnings that a failure to respond could
result in dismissal. Dismissal is appropriate under these
circumstances. See, e.g., Dynes v. Army Air
Force Exchange Serv., 720 F.2d 1495, 1499 (11th Cir.
1983) (affirming dismissal for failure to prosecute where
litigant failed to file a brief ordered by the district
court); Lang v. Wyrick, 590 F.2d 257, (8th Cir.
1978) (per curiam) (affirming dismissal for failure to
prosecute where plaintiff “ignored [district
court's] repeated requests to file a response to the
defendants' motion to dismiss”); Stanley v.
Continental Oil Co., 536 F.2d 914, 916-17 (10th Cir.
1976) (affirming dismissal for failure to prosecute where
plaintiff failed to respond to defendant's motion for
summary judgment “notwithstanding the patient guidance
of the trial court and the court's obvious reluctance to
foreclose [the plaintiff's] ‘day in
court'”). The Court is sensitive to Lytle's
status as a pro se litigant. But the Court cannot hand-hold