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Young v. Rogers

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 6, 2018

TRENT YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
ROGERS, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Acting pro se, Plaintiff Trent Young filed the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights while incarcerated as a state inmate. This matter is before the Court on two oral motions to dismiss for want of prosecution raised by Defendants at a summary judgment hearing. For the reasons discussed below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the district judge GRANT the motions.

         Background

         Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit on April 24, 2017. (Doc. 1). At the time, he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). (Id. at 1). On June 14, 2017, Chief District Judge Reagan entered an Order conducting a merits review of Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 11). In that Order, Plaintiff was advised that he was under a continuing obligation to keep the Clerk of Court and each opposing party informed of any change in his address. (Id. at 12).

         On December 5, 2017, Defendant Scott filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Doc. 45). On May 23, 2018, that motion was set for hearing by the Court to take place on July 6, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. (Doc. 63). After setting the hearing, the Court was informed by prison officials that Plaintiff had been paroled. The Court then entered a notice informing Plaintiff that his appearance was mandatory, and that “[f]ailure to appear may result in dismissal and/or sanctions.” (Doc. 66). The Court held the evidentiary hearing on July 6th, as scheduled; however, Plaintiff did not appear. Both counsel for Defendants orally moved to dismiss this matter for want of prosecution.

         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.

         Dismissal of Plaintiff's claims is appropriate. Plaintiff has not followed the Court's directives and has not shown an interest in pursuing his case. Not only did Plaintiff fail to update his address as instructed, he also failed to appear for the evidentiary hearing. Though Plaintiff likely did not receive notice of the hearing, as the notice was sent to his last known address at Pickneyville, his lack of notice is by his own design of failing to notify the Court of his new address. Moreover, the docket for this matter is viewable to the public, and Plaintiff could have accessed it to view the notice. Finally, Plaintiff was informed ahead of the hearing that failing to appear could result in dismissal of his suit. 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). The undersigned can only conclude that Plaintiff has abandoned his interest in this case. Dismissal is therefore appropriate.

         Conclusion

         As Plaintiff has failed to update his address and pursue his case, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the district judge GRANT the motions to dismiss and DISMISS Plaintiff's 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 July 23, 2018.

         IT ...


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