United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are the following motions filed by Defendant
Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P. (“Wal-Mart”):
• Motion To Compel (doc. 18) (the “Compel
Motion”) filed on August 22, 2017;
• Motion To Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution (doc. 19)
(the “Dismissal Motion”) filed on August 22,
2017; and !
• Motion To Strike Plaintiff's Expert Disclosures
Pursuant to Rule 26, as Untimely (doc 24) (the “Strike
Motion”) filed on September 8, 2017.
Stephanie Schillaci (“Ms. Schillaci”) (who is
represented by counsel) has not responded to any of these
motions under the schedule provided for under the Court's
Uniform Initial Order (the “UIO”). (Doc. 9 at 22
§ B.2); (Doc. 29 at 1-2).
October 3, 2017, the Court entered an Order requiring Ms.
Schillaci to show cause why each motion should not be granted
in light of her failure to comply with the Court's UIO.
(Doc. 29 at 2). The Court expressly cautioned Ms. Schillaci
that “her failure to timely and adequately respond
to th[at] Order may result in a dismissal of her lawsuit with
or without prejudice.” (Doc. 29 at 2).
7-day deadline for Ms. Schillaci to demonstrate good cause
expired on October 10, 2017. That deadline has passed without
any show cause response (or a request for an extension of
time in which to respond) from Ms. Schillaci. Given the
procedural history set out above and the authorities
discussed below, Wal-Mart's Dismissal Motion is due to be
seeks a with-prejudice dismissal of Ms. Schillaci's case
for three reasons: (i) Ms. Schillaci has never provided
initial disclosures under Rule 26 (doc. 19 at 4 ¶ 12);
(ii) Ms. Schillaci has never provided responses to
Wal-Mart's requests for production of documents
(id. ¶ 13); and (iii) Ms. Schillaci has never
given her deposition despite it having “been scheduled
and canceled four times.” (Id. ¶ 14).
Schillaci first had an opportunity to oppose these reasons
under the UIO. Ms. Schillaci had a second chance to do so by
responding to the Court's Order entered on October 3,
2017. Ms. Schillaci failed to comply with both of these
deadlines and her inactions have left Wal-Mart's reasons
for dismissal uncontested.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[i]f the
plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with these rules or
a court order, a defendant may move to dismiss the action or
any claim against it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b).
Additionally, case law reinforces that, as a result of Ms.
Schillaci's pattern of non-compliance with deadlines and
disregard for orders, the Court possesses the inherent power
to dismiss her entire case sua sponte. See Link
v. Wabash Railroad Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-31, 82 S.Ct.
1386, 1389, 8 L.Ed.2d 734 (1962) (“The authority of a
court to dismiss sua sponte for lack of prosecution
has generally been considered an ‘inherent power, '
governed not by rule or statute but by the control
necessarily vested in courts to manage their own affairs so
as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of
cases.”); see also Goforth v. Owens, 766 F.2d
1533, 1535 (11th Cir. 1985) (“The court's power to
dismiss is an inherent aspect of its authority to enforce its
orders and [e]nsure prompt disposition of lawsuits.”
(citing Link, 370 U.S. at 630-31, 82 S.Ct. at
1388-89)); cf. Gratton v. Great American
Communications, 178 F.3d 1373, 1374 (11th Cir. 1999)
(recognizing that court has broad authority under Rule 37 to
control discovery and enforce its orders); cf. also
Fed. R. Civ. P. 1 (“[These rules] should be construed,
administered, and employed by the court and the parties to
secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive
determination of every action and proceeding.”)
dismissal is an extraordinary remedy, dismissal upon
disregard of an order, especially where the litigant has
been forewarned, generally is not an abuse of
discretion.” Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835,
837 (11th Cir. 1989) (emphasis added) (citing State
Exchange Bank v. Hartline, 693 F.2d 1350, 1352 (11th
Cir. 1982)). Here, Ms. Schillaci was put on unambiguous
notice that the Court would consider dismissing her case
with prejudice against Wal-Mart if she did not
timely and adequately show good ...