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Moir v. Amdahl

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 15, 2018

DREW M. MOIR, Plaintiff,



         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson by United States District David R. Herndon pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the Motion for Sanctions filed by Defendant (Doc. 30). For the reasons set forth below, it is RECOMMENDED the motion be GRANTED, the Court DISMISS this action WITH PREJUDICE, and the Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff Drew M. Moir was an inmate at Robinson Correctional Center where he alleges his First Amendment right to the free exercise of his religious beliefs was violated (Doc. 9, p. 1). Moir filed this action under to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Court conducted a preliminary review of his claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Moir was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count 1 - First Amendment claim against Amdahl for confiscating Plaintiff's prayer rug on June 29, 2017.
Count 2 - First Amendment retaliation claim against Amdahl for filing two unsubstantiated disciplinary charges against Plaintiff (June 29, 2017 and July 19, 2017) and for confiscating Plaintiff's prayer rug on June 29, 2017, after Plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit naming Amdahl as a defendant (No. 17-cv-66).

         Prior to filing the instant action, Plaintiff filed a pro se civil rights action against numerous Robinson officials, including the three individuals named in this case. See Moir v. Amdahl et al., No. 3:17-cv-66-DRH-RJD (filed January 23, 2017) (Doc. 1, p. 3). In the instant action, Moir contends Defendants are harassing him in retaliation for filing the prior lawsuit. The allegations of harassment include taking Plaintiff's property without justification (a prayer mat and a hot plate), false disciplinary charges, and a threat to remove Plaintiff from the transitions program (Doc. 9, pp. 3-5).

         In the original Complaint, Moir also raised a claim against Defendant Davis Rains. The Court dismissed Rains from the action in his individual capacity, but because Rains was the warden of Robinson Correctional Center, he remained as a defendant in his official capacity for purposes of any injunctive relief ordered by the Court (Doc. 9, p. 6).

         On October 27, 2017 Moir filed a Notice of Change of Address providing with the Court with a personal address in Iowa (Doc. 12).

         Subsequently, on March 21, 2018, Amdahl served Plaintiff with interrogatories and a request for production of documents (Doc. 28, ¶ 1). Moir did not respond to the discovery requests (Doc. 28, ¶ 1). On April 27, 2018 counsel for Defendant sent a letter to Moir giving him an extension of time up to May 9, 2018 to respond to Defendant's discovery requests and indicated a motion to compel would be filed if the plaintiff failed to respond (Doc. 28, ¶ 2). Moir again did not respond (Doc. 28, ¶ 3). As a result, Amdahl filed a Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 28), which this Court granted on May 21, 2018 (Doc. 29). In the Court's Order, Moir was ordered to respond to the outstanding discovery by June 8, 2018 and was warned that failure to respond might result in dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute (Doc. 29).

         Having received no respond to his discovery, Defendant Amdahl filed the pending Motion for Sanctions asking the Court to dismiss this action (Doc. 30, p. 3).

         Conclusions of Law

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2)(A) permits a court to sanction a party for not obeying a discovery order, including dismissal of the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v). The Court is mindful of the difficulties prisoners face in proceeding pro se, as well as the additional obstacles Moir faced when he was paroled from prison. Those difficulties, however, do not excuse Moir from complying with deadlines, following the direct Orders of the Court, or maintaining basic communication with the Court. “Once a party invokes the judicial system by filing a lawsuit, it must abide by the rules of the court; a party cannot decide for itself when it feels like pressing its action and when it feels like taking a break . . .” James v. McDonald's Corp., 417 F.3d 672, 681 (7th Cir. 2005).

         The Court finds that Moir has failed to comply with discovery in this case by failing to respond to properly propounded interrogatories and request for production of documents in violation of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33 and 34. Further, the Court finds that despite being warned of the risks, ...

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