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Premous Clinton v. Mary Sabol

February 26, 2013

PREMOUS CLINTON, PLAINTIFF
v.
MARY SABOL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Magistrate Judge Carlson)

(Judge Jones)

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case.

In its current form this case presents a singular set of circumstances. The pro se plaintiff, a prisoner at the York County Prison, has sued his jailers, alleging that they have violated his constitutional rights in a number of respects. The defendants have now moved for summary judgment in their favor on these claims, citing a profound procedural failure by the plaintiff, a failure to exhaust administrative remedies within the prison system before filing this complaint. Such administrative exhaustion is required by law before an inmate may proceed into federal court.

Having been cited by the defendants for this profound procedural shortcoming, the plaintiff has now compounded this error by failing to respond to this summary judgment motion. Thus, a plaintiff who is alleged to have ignored one set of important procedural rules, has now discounted a second set of cardinal procedural benchmarks.

In this face of this cascading array of procedural failures, we recommend that this action be dismissed.

This pro se civil rights action was initially brought by the plaintiff, a county prisoner, through the filing of a complaint on November 28, 2011. (Doc. 1.) After this initial complaint was dismissed, (Doc. 11.), Clinton filed an amended complaint on February 21, 2012, (Doc. 12.) which was also then dismissed, in part. (Doc. 14.) Throughout this screening process, as a pro se litigant the plaintiff was advised by this court of his responsibilities in this litigation. Thus, on November 28, 2011, at this outset of this lawsuit, the district court entered its Standing Practice Order which informed the plaintiff of his responsibility to reply to defense motions, and warned him in clear and precise terms of the consequences which would flow from a failure to comply with briefing schedules on motions, stating:

If the party opposing the motion does not file his or her brief and any evidentiary material within the 14-day time frame, Local Rule 7.6 provides that he or she shall be deemed not to oppose the moving party's motion. The motion may therefore be granted if: (1) the court finds it meritorious; or (2) the opposing party fails to comply with Local Rule 7.6 despite being ordered to do so by the court. (Doc. 3, p.2.)

On October 1, 2012, the corrections defendants filed a summary judgment motion in this case. (Doc. 21.) This motion raised a straightforward legal claim, arguing that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies within the prison before filing this lawsuit, something that prisoner plaintiffs are required by law to do as a prerequisite to seeking relief in federal court. See 42 U.S.C. §1997e(a). When Clinton failed to respond to this motion, the court issued an order which warned the plaintiff in clear and precise terms of the consequences which would flow from this failure to respond to this defense motion, stating that the plaintiff was required to respond to this motion by November 19, 2012, and advising Clinton that a failure to respond would result in the motion being deemed unopposed. (Doc. 25.)

Despite this explicit notice from the court, the plaintiff has not responded to this motion and the time for responding has now long since passed. Therefore, in the absence of any timely response by the plaintiff, we will deem the summary judgment motion to be ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, we recommend that this motion to dismiss be granted.

II. Discussion

A. Under The Rules of This Court This Motion to Dismiss Should

Be Deemed Unopposed and Granted

At the outset, under the Local Rules of this court the plaintiff should be deemed to concur in this summary judgment motion, since the plaintiff has failed to timely oppose the motion, or otherwise litigate this case. This procedural default completely frustrates and impedes efforts to resolve this matter in a timely and fair fashion, and under the rules of this court warrants dismissal of the action, since Local Rule 7.6 of the Rules of this court imposes an affirmative duty on the plaintiff to respond to motions and provides that:

Any party opposing any motion, other than a motion for summary judgment, shall file a brief in opposition within fourteen (14) days after service of the movant's brief, or, if a brief in support of the motion is not required under these rules, within seven (7) days after service of the motion. Any party who fails to comply with this rule shall be deemed not to oppose such motion. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to limit the authority of the court to grant any motion before expiration of the prescribed period for filing a brief in opposition. A brief in opposition to a motion for summary judgment and LR 56.1 responsive statement, together with any transcripts, affidavits or other relevant documentation, shall be filed within twenty-one (21) days after service of the movant's brief.

Local Rule 7.6 (emphasis added).

It is now well-settled that "Local Rule 7.6 can be applied to grant a motion to dismiss without analysis of the complaint's sufficiency 'if a party fails to comply with the [R]ule after a specific direction to comply from the court.' Stackhouse v. Mazurkiewicz, 951 F.2d 29, 30 (1991)." Williams v. Lebanon Farms Disposal, Inc., No. 09-1704, 2010 WL 3703808, *1 (M.D. Pa. Aug.26, 2010). In this case the plaintiff has not complied with the Local Rules, or this court's orders, by ...


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