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Galvan v. Franklin County Sheriff Department

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

May 15, 2018

ARTURO GALVAN, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          George C. Smith, Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CHELSEY M. VASCURA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the United States Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation on the Court's April 11, 2018 Order and Third Notice of Deficiency where the Court directed Plaintiff to pay the filing fee or submit proper documentation showing he is unable to pay the fee. (ECF No. 4.) For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute.

         I.

         Plaintiff filed this action on December 6, 2017. (ECF No. 1.) Because Plaintiff had not paid the filing fee, he was ordered to either pay the $400 filing fee or submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis under § 1915(a), including the required affidavit and certified trust fund statement from his prison's cashier. (January 3, 2017 Order, ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff was also cautioned that failure to comply with the Court's Order would result in dismissal of his case. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis on January 22, 2018. (ECF No. 3.) However, this application failed to comply with the Court's previous instructions. As the Court indicated in its Second Deficiency Order (ECF No. 4), Plaintiff failed to include a certified copy of his prison trust fund account statement. (Id. at 2.) In its September 25, 2017 Order, the Court directed Plaintiff to “either (1) pay the $400 filing and administrative fee; or (2) comply with this Second Notice of Deficiency by filing a completed and signed certified copy of the prison trust fund account statement ON OR BEFORE FEBRUARY 25, 2018.” (January 25, 2018 Order 2, ECF No. 4.) The Court again cautioned Plaintiff that failure to comply with its Order would result in dismissal of the case for want of prosecution. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed a second Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis on February 26, 2018. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff's documentation remained deficient because he failed to include the required statement of account showing the previous six months of transactions. Moreover, the documentation that was attached to Plaintiff's Application indicated that he had a balance of $3, 288.48 in his account as of February 11, 2018. Because Plaintiff's documentation was both deficient and indicated that he could pay the filing fee, the Court directed him to “either pay the Court's $400.00 filing fee or submit the proper documentation showing that he is unable to pay the fee WITHIN THIRTY DAYS.” (April 11, 2018 Order 2, ECF No. 9.) The Court again cautioned Plaintiff that failure to comply with its Order would result in dismissal of the case for want of prosecution. (Id.)

         To date, Plaintiff has failed to comply with the Court's April 11, 2018 Order. He has neither paid the filing fee nor submitted proper documentation showing that he is unable to pay the fee.

         II.

         Under the circumstances presented in the instant case, the Undersigned recommends dismissal of Plaintiff's action pursuant to Rule 41(b). The Court's inherent authority to dismiss a plaintiff's action with prejudice because of his failure to prosecute is expressly recognized in Rule 41(b), which provides in pertinent part: “If the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with these rules or a court order, a defendant may move to dismiss the action or any claim against it. Unless the dismissal order states otherwise, a dismissal under this subdivision (b) . . . operates as an adjudication on the merits.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Link v. Walbash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629- 31 (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, 363 (6th Cir. 1999) (internal citations omitted).

         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 contumacious ...


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