United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM I. BACKGROUND
H. RAMBO United States District Judge.
21, 2017, Plaintiff Michael Rinaldi (“Rinaldi”),
a former federal inmate previously incarcerated at the United
States Penitentiary Canaan in Waymart, Pennsylvania
(“USP-Canaan”), commenced this
Bivens action against two John Doe Bureau of
Prison (“BOP”) staff members and Defendant Juan
Baltazar (“Baltazar”). (Doc. No. 1.) Rinaldi
alleges that he was improperly forced to provide a saliva
sample while at USP-Canaan and that he was threatened with
disciplinary sanctions should he fail to provide the same.
Orders dated August 8, 2017 and September 28, 2017, the Court
directed service of the complaint on Defendants. (Doc. Nos.
7, 18.) On October 6, 2017, Baltazar filed a motion to
dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. (Doc.
No. 16.) Baltazar subsequently filed a brief in support (Doc.
No. 23), along with a statement of facts (Doc. No. 24), on
November 8, 2017. Pursuant to M.D. Pa. Local Rule 7.6,
Rinaldi had twenty-one (21) days from the service of the
brief in support of the motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment, to file a brief in
opposition. On December 5, 2017, Baltazar filed a revised
certificate regarding service, advising the Court that he has
been unable to serve Rinaldi with his motion and supporting
documents at the most current address provided by Rinaldi.
(Doc. No. 30.)
March 29, 2018, this Court issued an Order, affording Rinaldi
the opportunity to file an oppositional brief by April 12,
2018, and cautioned him that his failure to file a brief
would result in the motion being deemed unopposed and granted
without an analysis on the merits. (Doc. No. 32.) The Court
further advised Rinaldi that he is responsible for notifying
the Court of any change in address through the course of this
litigation. (Id.; Doc. Nos. 3, 7.) He was further
cautioned that his failure to do so would result in the
dismissal of his action for failure to prosecute if the Court
and/or parties are unable to serve pleadings, orders, or
otherwise communicate with him. (Id.)
date, Rinaldi has failed to file an oppositional brief or
update his address as directed. For the reasons set forth
below, the matter will be dismissed for failure to prosecute
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).
the Local Rules of this Court, Rinaldi should be deemed to
concur in Defendant's motion since he 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 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
Local Rule 7.6 (emphasis added).
a dispositive motion may not be granted merely because it is
unopposed because Local Rules of Court must be
“construed and applied in a manner consistent with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Anchorage Assoc.
v. Virgin Islands Bd. of Tax Review, 922 F.2d 168, 174
(3d Cir. 1990) (the disposition of an unopposed motion
ordinarily requires a merits analysis). The Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit has stated, however, 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 rule after a specific direction to
comply from the court.” Stackhouse v.
Mazurkiewicz, 951 F.2d 29, 30 (3d Cir.1991).
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) allows for the dismissal of an
action for “failure of the plaintiff to prosecute or
comply with these rules or order of court.” District
courts have the inherent power to dismiss an action for
failure to prosecute sua sponte. Chambers v.
NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 44 (1991). In the instant
case, Plaintiff has failed to both prosecute this action and
to comply with the June 23, 2017, August 8, 2017, and March
29, 2018 Orders of this Court by failing to keep the Court
apprised of his current address and failing to file an
oppositional brief. When determining whether to dismiss an
action for a plaintiff's failure to prosecute under Rule
41(b), the Court must balance six (6) factors set forth in
Poulis v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 747 F.2d
863 (3d Cir. 1984). These factors include:
(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.
Id. at 868. Not all of the Poulis factors
need be satisfied to dismiss a complaint. See Mindek v.
Rigatti, 964 F.2d 1369, 1373 (3d Cir. 1992); Shahin
v. Delaware, 345 Fed.Appx. 815, 817 (3d Cir. 2009).
the first factor, it is Rinaldi's sole responsibility to
comply with Court orders. See Emerson v. Thiel
Coll., 296 F.3d 184, 191 (3d Cir. 2002); Winston v.
Lindsey, Civ. No. 09-224, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137022,
at *6 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 30, 2011) (concluding that a pro
se litigant “bears all of the responsibility for
any failure to prosecute his claims”). Rinaldi was
specifically warned that his failure to keep the Court
apprised of his current address and failure to file an
oppositional brief would result in the dismissal ...