United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is a pro se civil rights action filed by
state prisoner Curtis Ward (“Ward”). The case was
opened on August 5, 2016, when the Clerk of the Court
received a written Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC)
grievance from Ward. The grievance stated that Ward told
“Dr. Lacy” and “Ms. G.” that they
could not cut off his water, but they did it anyway. Ward
complained that he could not brush his teeth, wash his face,
or use his faucet. (Dkt. # 1.) The Clerk of the Court filed
the form as a prisoner civil rights complaint with “Dr.
Lacy” and “Ms. G.” as the defendants.
August 22, 2016, Ward submitted two more MDOC grievances to
the Court. One stated that Ward asked correctional officer
Maida whether Ms. Gosciniak had made her rounds for legal
mail and that Maida responded, “No.” Plaintiff
alleged in his grievance that Ms. Gosciniak failed to send
out the mail and that she should be arrested for playing with
the mail. (Dkt. # 3.) The other stated that he had asked Dr.
Lacy some questions about water restrictions and meals, and
“she got them wrong.” (Id.)
August 24, 2016, Ward filed another MDOC grievance
complaining that he was on a “phoney” water
restriction and could not flush his own toilet. (Dkt. # 4.)
Ward went on to say that Ms. Miller refused to flush his
toilet for him. (Id.)
did not pay a filing fee or apply for leave to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee and costs. Accordingly,
on October 12, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge R. Steven
Whalen ordered Ward to prepay the filing fee of $350.00 plus
an administrative fee of $50.00 or to submit a completed
application to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs
and a certified statement of Ward's trust fund account at
the correctional facility where he was confined. (Dkt. # 5.)
Magistrate Judge Whalen also ordered Ward to complete and
submit to the Clerk of the Court a civil complaint listing
the persons that Ward wished to sue and what each defendant
did to violate his rights. (Id.) Magistrate Judge
Whalen warned Ward that failure to comply with his order
within thirty days of the date of his order could result in
the dismissal of this action. (Id.)
November 14, 2016, Ward filed a certified statement of his
trust fund account at the Woodland Center Correctional
Facility where he is confined. (Dkt. # 7.) The same day, Ward
filed a single piece of paper with no heading, caption, or
case number. The printing on the document is faint and
difficult to read, but it appears to say:
Y'all have been steady lying by saying to me fill out
forms[.] [T]hat's a lie[.] Quit lying [or I will] have
the whole district court arrested for breaking the law.
(Dkt. # 6.)
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), federal district
courts may dismiss an action sua sponte when a
pro se litigant has engaged in a clear pattern of
delay. Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 109-10 (6th
Cir. 1991). As explained in Link v. Wabash R. Co.,
370 U.S. 626 (1962), “[n]either the permissive language
of the Rule - which merely authorizes a motion by the
defendant - nor its policy requires us to conclude that it
was the purpose of the Rule to abrogate the power of courts,
acting on their own initiative, to clear their calendars of
cases that have remained dormant because of the inaction or
dilatoriness of the parties seeking relief.”
Id. at 630. The power to dismiss an action for
failure to prosecute is necessary “to prevent undue
delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid
congestion in the calendars of the District Courts.”
Id. at 629-30.
District's Local Rules also provide for sua
sponte dismissal of a civil action. Under Rule 41.2,
“the Court may, on its own motion after reasonable
notice or on application of a party, enter an order
dismissing . . . the case” when a party has
“taken no action for a reasonable time, ” unless
the party shows “good cause” for the inaction. LR
41.2 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 2, 1998).
[I]t is axiomatic that the Court possesses inherent power to
dismiss sua sponte, without notice or hearing,
“to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of
cases”. See Schwarzer, Tashima &
Wagstaffe, Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, ch. 16,
§ 431. See also Link v. Wabash Railroad Co.,
370 U.S. 626, 630-632, 82 S.Ct. 1386, 1388-1389, 8 L.Ed.2d
734 (1962); Sturgeon v. Airborne Freight Corp., 778
F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1985).
Branham v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 225 F.Supp.2d
762, 769 n. 4 (E.D. Mich. 2002) (Rosen, J.) Thus, under Local
Rule 41.2 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), the
Court may dismiss a complaint for failure to prosecute.
Mulbah v. Detroit Bd. of Educ., 261 F.3d 586, 589
(6th Cir. 2001).
Judge Whalen notified Ward of the deficiencies in his filings
and gave Ward an opportunity to cure the deficiencies. Ward,
however, failed to comply with the Magistrate Judge's
order. He has not paid the filing fee or submitted an
application to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee.
Neither has he filed a complaint or a short and plain
statement of all his claims and a list of the persons that he
wishes to sue. Ward obviously understood the magistrate
judge's order because his recent note to the Court (Dkt.
# 6) complains about having to fill out forms.
court recognizes that the allegations of a pro se
litigant are held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Hai ...