United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
J. DALY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Eric Dane Mitchell filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging his constitutional rights were violated
while he was incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center.
Plaintiff is proceeding in this case on an Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Agulier,
Alfonso, and Bainaivere related to his infection and/or drug
withdrawal that occurred in November 2017.
August 12, 2019, Defendants filed a motion to compel, asking
that the Court compel Plaintiff to provide responses to
written discovery requests served on Plaintiff on March 14,
2019 (Doc. 51). The Court granted Defendants' motion to
compel (Doc. 52) and ordered Plaintiff to provide his
responses by September 18, 2019. Plaintiff was warned that
his failure to follow the order and provide discovery
responses may result in the imposition of sanctions,
including dismissal of this lawsuit. The Court's Order
was returned as undeliverable (Doc. 53).
September 19, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for sanctions
and to dismiss for failure to prosecute (Doc. 54). In their
motion, Defendants assert Plaintiff failed to provide
responses to their written discovery requests, despite being
ordered by the Court to do so. Accordingly, Defendants ask
that the Court dismiss the claims against them with prejudice
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 or 41. Plaintiff has
not responded to Defendants' motion.
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) provides for involuntary
dismissal for failure to prosecute an action or to comply
with court orders. Pursuant to Rule 41(b), an action may be
dismissed “when there is a clear record of delay or
contumacious conduct, or when other less drastic sanctions
have proven unavailing.” Maynard v. Nygren,
332 F.3d 462, 467 (7th Cir. 2003) (quoting Williams v.
Chicago Bd. of Educ., 155 F.3d 853, 857 (7th Cir. 1998)
(other citations omitted). Although there is no requirement
of graduated sanctions prior to dismissal, the Court must
provide an explicit warning before a case is dismissed.
Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. v. International Trading
Corp., 325 F.3d 903, 908 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing
Ball v. City of Chicago, 2 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir.
1993)). Dismissal is the most severe sanction that a court
may apply; as such, its use must be tempered by a careful
exercise of judicial discretion. Webber v. Eye
Corp., 721 F.2d 1067, 1069 (7th Cir. 1983).
Seventh Circuit has identified several factors a court should
consider before entering an involuntary dismissal, including:
the frequency of the plaintiff's failure to comply with
deadlines; whether the responsibility for mistakes is
attributable to the plaintiff herself or to the
plaintiff's lawyer; the effect of the mistakes on the
judge's calendar; the prejudice that the delay caused to
the defendant; the merit of the suit; and the consequences of
dismissal for the social objectives that the litigation
represents. Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. v. Int'l
Trading Corp., 325 F.3d 903, 908 (7th Cir. 2003).
is clearly warranted in this case under Rule 41(b). First,
Plaintiff has disregarded this Court's Order and failed
to provide discovery responses as ordered. Indeed, Plaintiff
has failed to provide discovery responses for approximately
ten months. As such, Defendants have been unable to engage in
discovery. Plaintiff also failed to respond to
Defendants' motion seeking sanctions and dismissal.
Further, Plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with an
updated address, despite being warned of his continuing
obligation to do so (see Doc. 19).
light of the foregoing, the Court finds that Plaintiff has
failed to prosecute this matter. The Court also finds that
Plaintiff's conduct demonstrates a record of bad faith
and delay. Plaintiff has not made any filings in this case
since April 29, 2019, and has failed to respond to court
orders, and provide written discovery responses. While the
Court notes there may be lesser sanctions available, they
would be unavailing as Plaintiff has clearly lost interest in
litigating this case.
Defendants' Motion for Sanctions and to Dismiss for
Failure to Prosecute (Doc. 54) is GRANTED.
This case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The
Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly.