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Cripe v. Glidden

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 16, 2018

TYLER D. CRIPE, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN GLIDDEN, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tyler Cripe, acting pro se, filed the present lawsuit alleging violations of his constitutional rights during his detention at Fayette County Jail. This matter is before the Court on an oral Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution (Doc. 24). As discussed below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the district judge DISMISS Plaintiff's suit with prejudice for failure to prosecute.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action on July 17, 2017. (Doc. 1). At that time, Plaintiff was being held at the Fayette County Jail. (Id.). Beginning on February 13, 2018, the Court received notice that documents being sent by the Court to Plaintiff were being returned as undeliverable. (See Docs. 19, 21, and 25). On February 16, 2018, the Court set this matter for a telephone status conference to take place on March 9, 2018. (Doc. 20). The notice of hearing contained the following language: “PLAINTIFF'S APPEARANCE IS MANDATORY. FAILURE TO APPEAR MAY RESULT IN DISMISSAL AND/OR SANCTIONS.” (Id.). On March 7, 2018, the Court sent notice of new call-in information regarding the status conference. (Doc. 22). Plaintiff failed to appear for the March 9th conference. (Doc. 23). At that conference, defense counsel indicated that he sent written discovery to Plaintiff that had come back as undeliverable. Counsel also stated that he had yet to receive Plaintiff's initial disclosures. On March 13, 2018, the notice of hearing for the March 9th status conference was returned to the Court as undeliverable. (Doc. 25).

         No notice of change of address has been filed by Plaintiff. In his merits review order, Judge Gilbert informed Plaintiff that he was under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of Court and opposing parties notified of any change of address, and that such notification should take place within seven (7) days after an address change. (Doc. 11, p. 10). Plaintiff was also informed that failure to notify of an address change could result in dismissal for want of prosecution. (Id.).

         ANALYSIS

         Under Rule 41(b), a court may dismiss an action with prejudice “if the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with [the Federal Rules] or a court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). A district court should dismiss a suit under Rule 41(b) “when there is a clear record of delay or contumacious conduct, or when other less drastic sanctions have proven unavailing.” Salata v. Weyerhauser Co., 757 F.3d 695, 699 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Webber v. Eye Corp., 721 F.2d 1067, 1069 (7th Cir. 1983)) (internal quotations omitted). In addition, district courts have an inherent power to dismiss suits due to a plaintiff's failure to prosecute. Link v. Wabash Railroad Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629, 82 S.Ct. 1386, 8L.Ed.2d 734 (1962). This power is necessary in order to prevent unnecessary delays in disposing of pending cases and to avoid clogging the district courts' calendars. Id. at 629 - 30.

         Plaintiff has shown no interest in prosecuting his suit. It is clear that Plaintiff has failed to file a notice of change of address as required by the Court's merits review order, thus resulting in his failure to appear for the status conference. Though Plaintiff may not have received the Court's notice of the hearing (due to his own neglect), the notice for the conference was viewable to the public, and it warned Plaintiff of the consequences for failing to appear. Importantly, the threshold order also specifically indicated that failure to notify the Court of a change of address could result in a dismissal for failure to prosecute. Therefore, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff had adequate warning of the consequences of failing to notify the Court of a new address and of failing to appear at the hearing. See Ball v. City of Chicago, 2 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir. 1993) (holding “there must be an explicit warning before the case is dismissed” for failure to prosecute). As such, the Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute should be granted..

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons discussed above, Plaintiff has failed to diligently prosecute his suit. For these reasons, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the district judge GRANT the oral Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 24) and DISMISS all claims in this matter with prejudice.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.1(b), the parties may object to any or all of the proposed dispositive findings in this Recommendation. The failure to file a timely objection may result in the waiver of the right to challenge this Recommendation before either the District Court or the Court of Appeals. See, e.g., Snyder v. Nolen, 380 F.3d 279, 284 (7th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, Objections to this Report and Recommendation must be filed on or before April 2, 2018.

         IT ...


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