United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
& ORDER (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS (DKT.
43) TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S JANUARY 11, 2017 ORDER TO
SHOW CAUSE; (2) ADOPTING THE RECOMMENDATION CONTAINED IN THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S JANUARY 26, 2017 REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION (DKT. 46); (3) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS TO THE JANUARY 26, 2017 REPORT &
RECOMMENDATION (DKT. 52); (4) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR EXTRAORDINARY RELIEF (DKT. 55); (5) TERMINATING ALL OTHER
PENDING MOTIONS (DKTS. 14, 17, 21, 26, 61) AS MOOT; AND (6)
DISMISSING THE ACTION WITH PREJUDICE
A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.
April 22, 2016, Plaintiff Anitra Crawford filed this action
alleging violations of her civil rights under the First and
Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and various
federal and Michigan statutes. See generally Compl.
(Dkt. 1). The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Stephanie
Dawkins Davis for all pretrial proceedings (Dkt. 8).
Thereafter, Defendants filed motions to dismiss (Dkts. 14,
17, 21, 26, 61). On January 26, 2017, the magistrate judge
issued a report and recommendation (“R&R”),
which recommends dismissing Crawford's complaint with
prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) and
terminating the pending motions as moot. See R&R
at 9 (Dkt. 46). Neither the merits of the complaint nor those
of the motions to dismiss were at issue in the R&R.
See generally id. Crawford timely filed an objection
to the R&R (Dkt. 52). No defendant filed a response to
complaint named seven entities as defendants. See
Compl. at 3. Additionally, the complaint named three natural
persons who were employees of Defendant Beaumont Hospital and
two who were employees of Defendant Department of Human
Services (“DHS”) in Wayne County, as well as
several John Does. Id. When Crawford submitted her
request for service by U.S. Marshal, however, she did not
identify any of the individual defendants. See
generally Request for Service by Marshal (Dkt. 3);
see also 4/28/2016 Order (granting request for
service by marshal) (Dkt. 6). The U.S. Marshal Service
acknowledged receipt of these documents (Dkt. 9), and a
certificate of service issued on May 3, 2016 (Dkt. 11).
error, Defendant Oakland Family Services (“OFS”)
received the summons that was directed to Defendant DHS; this
formed one basis for OFS's motion to dismiss.
See DHS Summons, Ex. A to OFS Mot. to Dismiss (Dkt.
14-2); see generally OFS Mot. to Dismiss (raising
personal jurisdiction, subject-matter jurisdiction, and Rule
12(b)(6) arguments). To date, OFS has not been served with a
summons bearing its name, and DHS was not served until
recently. Beaumont Hospital also filed a motion to dismiss,
which noted that the summons it received did not identify its
employees by name, and that, as a result, those employees are
not properly before the Court. See Beaumont Mot. to
Dismiss at 1 n.2.
R&R recommends dismissal of Crawford's case because
of her inability to comply with deadlines set by court
orders. See id. at 1-4. After OFS and Beaumont filed
their motions to dismiss, the magistrate judge ordered
Crawford to submit response briefs by June 20, 2016 (Dkts.
15, 19). On June 15, 2016, Crawford requested an extension of
the June 20, 2016 deadline (Dkt. 23), which the magistrate
judge granted, extending the deadlines to August 5, 2016; and
on August 4, 2016, Crawford requested an extension of the
August 5 deadlines (Dkt. 28), which the magistrate granted.
At that point, Crawford's responses to four motions to
dismiss were due by September 14, 2016, and Crawford had not
yet violated any court order.
September 9, 2016, prior to the September 14 deadline,
Crawford filed an untitled document, noting that an
unspecified defendant had not yet been served. See
9/9/2016 Filing at 1-2 (Dkt. 34). This filing apparently led
the magistrate judge to scrutinize the complaint, notice that
some of the defendants named in Crawford's complaint were
never added as parties, and suspend all pending briefing
deadlines. See 9/21/2016 Text-Only Order. On
December 9, 2016, the magistrate judge noted that she had
corrected the docket; outlined how Crawford could proceed
with serving the defendants who still needed to be served;
and revived the briefing schedule, ordering Crawford to
submit her responses to four motions to dismiss by December
30, 2016 (Dkt. 35).
did not file a response to the motions by December 30, and
she did not request an extension. Accordingly, on January 11,
2017, the magistrate judge ordered Crawford to show cause why
her case should be not be dismissed. See Show Cause
Order (Dkt. 38). Crawford's response to the show cause
order, or, alternatively, her responses to the motions, was
due by January 18, 2017, and the order warned her that a
failure to respond could result in dismissal of her case.
Id. at 1-2.
January 17, 2017, Crawford objected to the show cause order.
See Pl. Show Cause Obj. (Dkt. 43); see also
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). There, Crawford claimed that she decided
not to file her responses with the Court because of her
belief that there were outstanding “issues of
[j]urisdiction/[v]enue.” See id. at 2. She
also appeared to claim, incorrectly, that the missing parties
still had not been added to the docket as defendants.
Id. (“Another issue also noted is, properly
addressing specified individual(s) as a
The Report & Recommendation
R&R invokes the authority of a district court to dismiss
a plaintiff's action with prejudice because of her
failure to prosecute. See R&R at 4-5 (citing
Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-632
(1962); Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)). It notes that the Sixth Circuit
considers four factors in reviewing the decision of a
district court to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute:
(1) whether the party's failure is due to willfulness,
bad faith, or fault; (2) whether the adversary was prejudiced
by the dismissed party's conduct; (3) whether the
dismissed party was warned that failure to cooperate could
lead to dismissal; and (4) whether less drastic sanctions
were imposed or considered before dismissal was ordered.
R&R at 6 (quoting Wu v. T.W. Wang, Inc., 420
F.3d 641, 643 (6th Cir. 2005)). First stating that “it
is not clear whether plaintiff's failure to prosecute is
due to willfulness, bad faith or fault, ” the R&R
cites Crawford's “repeated failures to respond to
the motions to dismiss” and concludes that these
failures “amount[ ] to abandonment for purposes of this
analysis.” Id. at 7 (citing White v.
Bouchard, No. 05-73718, 2008 WL 2216281, at *5 (E.D.
Mich. May 27, 2008) (“it is not clear whether
plaintiff's failure to prosecute is due to willfulness,
bad faith or fault; nonetheless, . . . defendants cannot be
expected to defend an action which plaintiff has apparently
abandoned, not to mention the investment of time and
resources expended to defend this case”). In support of
its conclusion that Crawford abandoned the case, the R&R
notes that (i) Crawford violated the order setting a December
30, 2016 deadline for responses; (ii) the final deadline was
over six months after the original June 20, 2016 deadline;
(iii) Crawford's response to the show cause order does
not identify, “nor does the court see, ” how
Crawford's responses to the ...