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Talmadge Gilyard v. Dauphin County Work Release

December 6, 2010

TALMADGE GILYARD,
PLAINTIFF :
v.
DAUPHIN COUNTY WORK RELEASE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge

(Judge Conner)

MEMORANDUM

On August 10, 20010, plaintiff Talmadge Gilyard, an inmate presently incarcerated at the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) For the reasons set forth below, the action will be deemed abandoned and dismissed for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).

I. Procedural Background

Initially, because plaintiff indicated he would need to amend his complaint within thirty days to supply the "rest of the facts," he was afforded until October 21, 2010, to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 1, at 7; Doc. 10). He failed to take advantage of this opportunity.

Preliminary review of the complaint revealed that plaintiff included a whole host of unrelated claims against various Dauphin County entities and employees, including, but not limited to, denial of medical treatment, interference with mail, illegal incarceration, and confiscation of monies. (Doc. 1). The claims did not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences and did not involve an issue of law or fact common to all defendants. Additionally, plaintiff included a claim that is properly brought in the context of a habeas corpus action. It was therefore concluded that allowing the pleading to proceed as filed was not in the interest of judicial economy. See, FED. R. CIV. P. 8(f) ("All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice."). On November 5, 2010, he was directed to file an amended pleading on or before November 18, 2010, which strictly adhered to the mandates of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 8, General Rules of Pleading, and Rule 20, Permissive Joinder of Parties. (Doc. 12.) The deadline has passed and plaintiff has failed to file an amended complaint, as directed, or seek an extension of time in which to do so. In fact, there has been no communication from plaintiff for more than two months.

II. Discussion

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) provides that an action may be involuntarily dismissed "[i]f the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with these rules or a court order." Further, the rule permits sua sponte dismissals by the court. Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-31 (1962); Hewlett v. Davis, 844 F.2d 109, 114 (3d Cir. 1988) (same). In determining whether to exercise its discretion to dismiss as a sanction for failure to prosecute and failure to comply with court orders, a district court must balance the six factors set forth in Poulis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 747 F.2d 863, 868 (3d Cir. 1984): (1) the extent of the party's personal responsibility; (2) the prejudice to the adversary caused by the failure to meet scheduling orders and respond to discovery; (3) a history of dilatoriness; (4) whether the conduct of the party or the attorney was willful or in bad faith; (5) the effectiveness of sanctions other than dismissal, which entails an analysis of alternative sanctions; and (6) the meritoriousness of the claim or defense. Ware v. Rodale Press, Inc., 311 F.3d 218, 221 (3d Cir. 2003); see also Adams v. Trustees of N.J. Brewery Employees' Pension Trust Fund, 29 F.3d 863, 873-78 (3d Cir.1994) (applying Poulis factors to dismissal under Rule 41(b)). The court must consider all six factors. Ware, 322 F.3d at 221-22; United States v. $8,221,877.16 in United States Currency, 330 F.3d 141, 162 (3d Cir. 2003).

A. Analysis of the Poulis Factors

1. The extent of the party's personal responsibility

A pro se plaintiff is responsible for his failure to comply with a court's orders. Emerson v. Thiel Coll., 296 F.3d 184, 191 (3d Cir. 2002). The court has been waiting since August for plaintiff to move the litigation forward and can only conclude that he is personally responsible for failing to comply with court orders.

2. The prejudice to the adversary "Evidence of prejudice to an adversary would bear substantial weight in support of a dismissal or default judgment." Adams v. Trustees of N.J. Brewery Employees' Pension Trust Fund, 29 F.3d 863, 873-74 (3d Cir. 1994)(internal quotations and citations omitted.) Generally, prejudice includes "the irretrievable loss of evidence, the inevitable dimming of witnesses' memories or the excessive and possibly irremediable burdens or costs imposed on the opposing party." Id. at 874. In the matter sub judice, plaintiff's failure to move the litigation forward has resulted in no prejudice to defendants as the complaint has not yet been served.

3. A history of dilatoriness "Extensive or repeated delay or delinquency constitutes a history of dilatoriness, such as consistent non-response to interrogatories, or consistent tardiness in complying with court orders." Adams, 29 F.3d at 874; see also Ware v. Rodale Press, Inc., 322 F.3d 218, 222 (3d Cir. 2003) (finding that a history of dilatory conduct existed because the plaintiffs "failed repeatedly" to provide a damages calculation for the defendant); Emerson, 296 F.3d at 191 (finding that a history of dilatory conduct existed because the "procedural history of this case reflects continuous dilatoriness" as demonstrated by the plaintiff's multiple requests for stays and failure to comply with multiple deadlines). As is clear from the procedural background set forth supra, plaintiff failed to ...


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