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Carr v. Noble

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

December 12, 2017

JAMES M. CARR, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
JEFF NOBLE, et al., Defendants.

          Algenon L. Marbley Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, James M. Carr, Sr., an Ohio inmate who is proceeding without the assistance of counsel, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“ODRC”) and London Correctional Institution (“LoCI”), alleging that Defendants impeded his ability to exercise his religion in violation of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”). This matter is before the Court for consideration of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute (ECF No. 142). For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that Defendants' Motion be GRANTED and that Plaintiff's action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute.

         I.

         On April 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint, naming eleven Defendants. (ECF No. 124.) On June 24, 2016, Plaintiff moved to stay this case because of his possible release from LoCI. (ECF No. 135.) The Court granted Plaintiff's request to stay the cause until December 28, 2016, and directed him to file a written status report by January 4, 2017. (ECF No. 137.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff reported that he had been released from LoCI and requested an additional ninety days to hire competent legal counsel to assist him in this litigation. (ECF Nos. 138, 140.) The Court granted Plaintiff's request and stayed the case for an additional ninety days and directed him to file a written status report on or before April 24, 2017. (ECF No. 139.) Despite the stay and additional time, Plaintiff did not file a written status report.

         On May 9, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute based on Plaintiff's failure to file a status report in accordance with the Court's Order. (ECF No. 142.) Plaintiff did not respond to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.

         On November 27, 2017, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a written status report on or before December 8, 2017. (ECF No. 143.) The Court specifically cautioned Plaintiff that the Court would likely dismiss the case for failure to prosecute if he failed to file a written status report. (Id.) Plaintiff has not filed the required status report.

         II.

         Under the circumstances presented in the instant case, the Undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss be granted and that this action be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Rule 41(b). The Court's inherent authority to dismiss a plaintiff's action because of his or her failure to prosecute is expressly recognized in Rule 41(b), which authorizes involuntary dismissal for failure to prosecute or to comply with rules of procedure or court orders. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b); Chambers v. Nasco, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 49 (1991) (noting that “a federal district court has the inherent power to dismiss a case sua sponte for failure to prosecute” as recognized in Link v. Walbash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-32 (1962)). “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.” Knoll v. AT & T, 176 F.3d 359, 63 (6th Cir. 1999).

         The Sixth Circuit directs the district courts to consider the following four factors in deciding whether to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute under Rule 41(b):

(1) whether the party's failure is due to willfulness, bad faith, or fault; (2) whether the adversary was prejudiced by the dismissed party's conduct; (3) whether the dismissed party was warned that failure to cooperate could lead to dismissal; and (4) whether less drastic sanctions were imposed or considered before dismissal was ordered.

Schafer v. City of Defiance Police Dep't, 529 F.3d 731, 737 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Knoll, 176 F.3d at 363). “‘Although typically none of the factors is outcome dispositive, . . . a case is properly dismissed by the district court where there is a clear record of delay or ...


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