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Cook v. Mdoc-Muskegon Correctional Facility

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 26, 2015

MALCOLM P. COOK, Plaintiff,
v.
MDOC - MUSKEGON CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 41(b) [1]

DAVID R. GRAND, Magistrate Judge.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Malcolm Cook commenced this pro se action against defendant Michigan Department of Corrections for employment discrimination on June 12, 2014. [1]. Upon receipt of Cook's handwritten complaint, defendant moved for a more definite statement [12] on the ground that its allegations were "incoherent and virtually illegible." [ Id. at 2]. The Court granted the motion by order dated August 27, 2014 [15], and directed Cook to file either a more definite statement or an amended complaint no later than September 26, 2014. [ Id. at 2]. A day before the deadline, Cook filed a document entitled "Defined Statement Amended Complaint." [16]. Therein, Cook asserted that defendant's counsel contacted him via phone and informed him that they were unable to read his handwriting. To this end, Cook requested that defendant's counsel identify which documents should be resubmitted in a legible format. [ Id. at 2].

To clarify what was expected of Cook, the Court issued an order, dated October 29, 2014 [18], requiring him:

to submit a type-written or legible hand-written statement, or amended complaint, that complies with the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, includes the factual allegations and specific claims he is making against MDOC, and attaches (if available) a copy of the EEOC charge he allegedly filed (which he references in his original hand-written complaint).

[18 at 2]. The Court also directed Cook to file the aforesaid materials no later than November 26, 2014 and warned him that failure to comply with the order could result in the dismissal of the action. [ Id. ]. Cook then responded to the Court's order on November 25, 2014 by filing a document entitled "Order Granting Defendant's Motion for a More Definite Statement." [19]. Again, Cook requested that the "AG office mail me the documents that cannot be interpreted or deciphered. I will resubmit typewritten." [ Id. ]. He did not comply with any of the directives specified in the Court's October 29, 2014 order.

In light of Cook's pro se status, the Court then issued yet another order, dated December 2, 2014, and entitled "Final Order Regarding Order for More Definite Statement [12]", directing Cook to "strictly comply" with the terms of the Court's October 29, 2014 order by no later than December 23, 2014. [20]. The Court made clear that Cook was to comply with the Court's orders, not look to defendant for instruction:

To dispel any further confusion, plaintiff is advised that his obligation at this time is to comply with the Court's orders. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff shall strictly comply with the Court's October 29, 2014 order [18] by submitting a type-written or legible hand-written statement, or amended complaint, that complies with the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, includes the factual allegations and specific claims he is making against defendant, and attaches (if available) a copy of the EEOC charge he allegedly filed (which he references in his original hand-written complaint). Plaintiff shall file these materials with the Court on or before Tuesday, December 23, 2014.

[20 at 2] (emphasis in original).

The Court further advised Cook that his failure to comply with the order would result in a recommendation to dismiss the case. Unfortunately, rather than submitting "a type-written or legible hand-written statement, or amended complaint, that complies with the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8..." as he had been ordered by the Court to do, Cook submitted another handwritten statement which merely asserted that the "AG office was to mail me the documents that they could not read, interpret or decipher." [21].

II. ANALYSIS

In view of Cook's repeated noncompliance with the Court's orders, his complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). This rule governing involuntary dismissals provides:

If the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with these rules or a court order, a defendant may move to dismiss the ...

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