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Dalie v. Matthews

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 16, 2018

GEORGE DALIE, Plaintiff,
v.
FNU MATHEWS, CO II and ROBERT L. KENNEDY, CO III, Defendants.

          GEORGE DALIE HC-9826 SCI Rockview Yana L. Warshafsky Office of the Attorney General

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING CASE [1]

          Cynthia Reed Eddy, United States Magistrate Judge

         On April 19, 2018, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to show cause by May 9, 2018, why this case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute and for Plaintiff's non-compliance with Court Orders. ECF No. 60.

         The time for responding to the Order to Show Cause has now passed. Therefore, consistent with the April 19, 2018, Order, and pursuant to Poulis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 747, F.2d 863 (3d Cir. 1984), the case now is subject to dismissal.

         A district court has inherent power to dismiss a complaint, sua sponte, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for a plaintiff's failure to comply with an order of court. Adams v. Trustees of New Jersey Brewery Employees' Pension Trust Fund, 29 F.3d 863, 871 (3d Cir. 1994) (“The Supreme Court affirmed, stating that a court could dismiss sua sponte under Rule 41(b).”); Guyer v. Beard, 907 F.2d 1424, 1429 (3d Cir. 1990). Furthermore, a court's decision to dismiss for failure to prosecute is committed to the court's sound discretion. See Collinsgru v. Palmyra Bd. of Educ., 161 F.3d 225, 230 (3d Cir. 1998) (“We review for abuse of discretion a district court's dismissal for failure to prosecute pursuant to Rule 41(b).”), abrogated on other grounds by Winkelman ex rel. Winkelman v. Parma City School Dist., 550 U.S. 516 (2007). In exercising that discretion, a district court should, to the extent applicable, consider the six factors identified in Poulis v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 747 F.2d 868 (3d Cir. 1984), when it levies the sanction of dismissal of an action for failure to obey discovery schedules, failure to prosecute, or to comply with other procedural rules. Harris v. City of Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1311, 1330 n.18 (3d Cir. 1995).

         In Poulis, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit set forth the following six factors to be weighed in considering whether dismissal is proper:

(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. These factors must be balanced in determining whether dismissal is an appropriate sanction, although not all need to weigh in favor of dismissal before dismissal is warranted. Hicks v. Feeney, 850 F.2d 152 (3d Cir. 1988). Consideration of these factors follows.

         1. The extent of the party's personal responsibility.

         Plaintiff is proceeding in this matter pro se. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on February 16, 2018. Plaintiff was ordered to respond by March 22, 2018. There is no indication that Plaintiff failed to receive the motion or any of the Orders the Court has mailed him. The responsibility for his failure to comply is Plaintiff's alone.

         2. Prejudice to the adversary.

         Plaintiff has prejudiced Defendants since his failure to respond to the motion has made it difficult for this Court to determine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact. Plaintiff's complaint forced Defendant to retain attorneys and expend time and energy to resolve this matter. By failing to respond to the Defendant's motion for summary judgment, a decision on this matter has been unduly delayed.

         3. A history of dilatoriness.

         Plaintiff has made no effort to move this case forward and has ignored this Court's Order to respond to Defendant's motion and well as the Court's Order to Show Cause. This is sufficient evidence, in the Court's view, ...


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