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Collura v. White

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 14, 2013

JASON COLLURA, Plaintiff,
v.
P/O CEDRIC WHITE, P/O JOSEPH CORVI, and P/O DANIEL DAVIS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

DuBOIS, JAN E., J.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case arises out of the arrest of pro se plaintiff Jason Collura on July 22, 2010. Presently before the Court is plaintiff’s Motion for Postponement of Non Jurisdictional Hearing (Document No. 79, filed September 24, 2013). With respect to that Motion, after receiving defendants’ response to the motion and plaintiff’s reply, the Court, by Order dated October 16, 2013, directed pro se plaintiff to submit medical documentation in support of his contention that he was medically unable to appear for the September 24, 2013 hearing, which he failed to do. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies plaintiff’s Motion and sua sponte dismisses with prejudice plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint pursuant to the Court’s inherent power to dismiss actions for lack of prosecution and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).

II. BACKGROUND

In July 2012, plaintiff filed a Complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, asserting both federal and state claims against defendants City of Philadelphia; Police Officers Cedric White, Joseph Corvi, and Daniel Davis; Sergeant Maria Ortiz-Rodriguez; and Allied Barton Securities Services, LLC (Allied Barton). After removal of the case to this Court, [1]defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff’s Complaint, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and to strike impertinent and scandalous allegations in plaintiff’s Complaint, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). In doing so, defendants pointed to “numerous disparaging and threatening statements” in plaintiff’s Complaint, including references to defendants as “scumbag[s], ” “creep[s], ” “coward[s], ” “filthy, ” and “scum.” Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss & to Strike Impertinent and Scandalous Allegations at 22 (Document No. 16, filed August 24, 2012).

By Memorandum and Order dated December 20, 2012, the Court dismissed a number of plaintiff’s claims under Rule 12(b)(6). Noting that plaintiff’s “entirely inappropriate language and ad hominem attacks . . . . serve[] only to disparage the defendants and to detract from the dignity of the Court, ” the Court also dismissed the remainder of plaintiff’s Complaint without prejudice to plaintiff’s right to file an amended complaint within thirty days.

Plaintiff responded to the Memorandum and Order with four submissions. First, plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Document No. 28, filed December 28, 2012), which included a request to file an interlocutory appeal. Second, plaintiff filed a Notice to Stand on Complaint, in which he “announc[ed] [his] intention to stand on his complaint and disavow[ed] any intention to reinstitute the litigation.” Pl.’s Notice to Stand on Compl. at 1 (Document No. 31, January 17, 2013). Third, plaintiff filed a Motion to Stay Proceedings on the ground that “[a]n appeal has been taken in this matter to correct all of discretion [sic] this court abused.” Mot. to Stay Proceedings at 1 (Document No. 32, filed January 17, 2013). Fourth, plaintiff filed a Motion for Recusal (Document No. 33, filed January 17, 2013), in which he alleged that the Court’s Memorandum and Order dated December 20, 2012 were products of judicial bias.

Notwithstanding his Notice to Stand on Complaint, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on January 18, 2013. In plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, plaintiff replaced most of the offensive language in the initial Complaint with the words “what Plaintiff said before.” 1st Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7-17, 19-23, 29, 31 (Document No. 36, filed January 18, 2013). Directly after filing his First Amended Complaint, plaintiff filed a Motion to Stay Amended Complaint (Document No. 37, filed January 18, 2013). On February 1, 2013, the City Defendants[2] filed an Answer to Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint with Affirmative Defenses (Document No. 42, filed February 1, 2013), and all defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint. On February 20, 2013, plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses in Defendant City of Philadelphia’s Answer (Document No. 46, filed February 20, 2013).

The Court, by Memorandum and Order dated March 1, 2013, dismissed all claims in the First Amended Complaint without prejudice to plaintiff’s right to file a second amended complaint, citing the fact that plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint was largely unchanged in any material way from plaintiff’s initial Complaint and consisted of a tirade and threats against defendants. The Court also, inter alia, denied plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration; denied plaintiff’s request for permission to file an interlocutory appeal; and denied as moot defendants’ motions to dismiss, Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay Amended Complaint, plaintiff’s Motion to Stay Proceedings, and Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike Affirmative Defenses in Defendant City of Philadelphia’s Answer. By a separate Order dated March 1, 2013, the Court also denied plaintiff’s Motion for Recusal.

On March 28, 2013, plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint, in which he alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution and state-law claims of false arrest, illegal imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Contemporaneously, plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand to Court of Common Pleas (Document No. 54, filed March 28, 2013). On April 4, 2013, plaintiff filed a Response to Memorandum and Order, calling the Court’s prior opinions “joke[s], ” “disgrace[s], ” and “favor[s].” Resp. to Mem. & Order at 2 (Document No. 55, filed April 4, 2013). Plaintiff stated that he would not appear for hearings in front of the Court and if the Court failed to remand the case, “[p]laintiff w[ould] have to put it in civil suspense.” Id. at 3. Before the Court could rule on plaintiff’s March 28, 2013 Motion to Remand to Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff filed another Motion to Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction, in which plaintiff called defendants “manipulators” and defense counsel “an excuse of an attorney.” See Mot. to Decline Supp. Jurisdictionand [sic] Remand Under 28 U.S.C [sic] 1367 (c)/and [sic] Reply to Br. in Opp. to Remand at 11, 13 (Document No. 59, filed April 16, 2013) [hereinafter Mot. to Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction]. On April 18, 2013, defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint.

By Memorandum and Order dated July 31, 2013, the court issued four rulings: (1) the Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand to Court of Common Pleas; (2) the Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion to Decline Supplemental Jurisdiction; (3) the Court dismissed with prejudice all claims against Allied Barton, Rosiello, and Kowalksi; and (4) the Court dismissed all claims with prejudice against the City Defendants, except for the false-arrest and false-imprisonment claims asserted against Police Officers Cedric White, Joseph Corvi, and Daniel Davis. Although the Court did not dismiss plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint in its entirety, it warned that continued ad hominem attacks on the Court or the parties appearing before it would result in sanctions, including dismissal of the case with prejudice. Finally, the Court ordered that plaintiff and counsel for the remaining defendants “meet and confer and provide the Court with a Case Management Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) on or before August 30, 2013.” The Court admonished that “[f]ailure to comply with this directive will result in consideration by the Court of the imposition of appropriate sanctions . . ., including dismissal of the case with prejudice.” Pursuant to this Order, defense counsel sent plaintiff correspondence on August 2, 9, and 26, 2013 “to schedule a telephonic Rule 26(f) conference at a mutually convenient time.” Letter from Oleg V. Nudelman (Document No. 70, filed August 30, 2013). Plaintiff did not respond. Id. Rather, on August 28, 2013, plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal of this Court’s July 31, 2013 Order.[3] Id. Later that day, plaintiff sent defense counsel an email enclosing his Notice of Appeal. Id. In his cover email, plaintiff wrote, “As you know this stops everything. . . . As you also know there will be no discovery on this claim . . . .” Id.

In response to plaintiff’s email, defense counsel wrote a letter to the Court, dated August 30, 2013, enclosing the parties’ correspondence and advising the Court of defense counsel’s unsuccessful efforts to meet and confer with plaintiff. The Court thereafter scheduled a hearing on September 24, 2013 and directed plaintiff to appear and show cause why appropriate sanctions, including dismissal of the action with prejudice, should not be imposed by reason of plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Court’s Order dated July 31, 2013. Plaintiff thereafter filed a Motion to Stay Non Jurisdictional Proceedings (Document No. 73, filed September 11, 2013), which the Court denied by Order dated September 18, 2013.

Plaintiff failed to appear for the September 24, 2013 hearing. Instead, approximately one half hour before the hearing was to commence, plaintiff filed three motions: (1) Plaintiff’s Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 77, filed September 24, 2013), (2)

Renewed Motion to Stay (Document No. 78, filed September 24, 2013), and (3) Motion for Postponement of Non Jurisdictional Hearing. In plaintiff’s Motion for Postponement of Non Jurisdictional Hearing, he wrote:

First, the hearing is void on its face . . ., but second, nothing can be accomplished by a hearing in such circumstances. Also, Plaintiff has developed a flesh eating disease that is highly contagious to anyone within 35 feet, like a courtroom. It is expected to last 3-6 months, so the ...

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