United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lynn Hilburn, an indigent inmate, initiated this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 civil rights action on January 11, 2017. In the
instant complaint, Hilburn challenges actions which occurred
at the Kilby Correctional Facility on November 10, 2016. Doc.
1 at 3.
order of procedure entered on June 12, 2017 instructed
Hilburn to immediately inform the court of any new address.
Doc. 4 at 4, ¶7 (“The plaintiff shall immediately
inform the court and the defendants or, if counsel has
appeared on behalf of the defendants, counsel of record of
any change in his address. Failure to provide a correct
address to this court within ten (10) days following any
change of address will result in the dismissal of this
action.”). The docket indicates Hilburn received a copy
of this order. However, the court recently obtained
information that Hilburn is no longer at the last address he
provided to the court.
on the foregoing, the court entered an order requiring
Hilburn to inform the court of his current address on or
before May 29, 2018. Doc. 17 at 1. This order directed
Hilburn to “show cause why this case should not be
dismissed for his failure to comply with the orders of this
court and his failure to adequately prosecute this
action.” Doc. 17 at 1-2. The court noted that
“this case cannot properly proceed . . . if the
whereabouts of the plaintiff remain unknown . . . [and]
specifically cautioned [the plaintiff] that if he fails to
respond to this order the Magistrate Judge will recommend
that this case be dismissed.” Doc. 17 at 1-2. As of the
present date, Hilburn has failed to provide the court with
his current address pursuant to the directives of the orders
entered in this case. Under these circumstances, the court
finds that dismissal of this case is warranted.
accordance with Eleventh Circuit law, the court has reviewed
the file to determine whether a less drastic measure than
dismissal is appropriate. See Abreu-Velez v. Board of
Regents of Univ. System of Georgia, 248 Fed.Appx. 116,
117-18 (11th Cir. 2007). After such review, the court finds
that dismissal of this case is the proper course of action.
Initially, the court notes that Hilburn is an indigent
individual and the imposition of monetary or other punitive
sanctions against him would be ineffectual. Moreover, Hilburn
has failed to comply with the directives of the orders
entered by this court regarding provision of a current
address. It likewise appears that Hilburn is simply no longer
interested in the prosecution of this case and any additional
effort to secure his compliance would be unavailing and a
waste of this court's scarce resources. Finally, as
previously stated, this case cannot properly proceed when
Hilburn's whereabouts are unknown.
the court concludes that this case is due to be dismissed.
See Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir.
1989) (holding that, as a general rule, where a litigant has
been forewarned, dismissal for failure to obey a court order
is not an abuse of discretion.). The authority of courts to
impose sanctions for failure to prosecute or obey an order is
longstanding and acknowledged by Rule 41(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See Link v. Wabash R.R.
Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-30 (1962). “The district
court possesses the inherent power to police its
docket.” Mingo v. Sugar Cane Growers Co-Op of
Fla., 864 F.2d 101, 102 (11th Cir. 1989). This authority
empowers the co urts “to manage their own affairs so as
to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of
cases.” Link, 370 U.S. at 630-31. “The
sanctions imposed [upon dilatory litigants] can range from a
simple reprimand to an order dismissing the action with or
without prejudice.” Mingo, 864 F.2d at 102.
above stated reasons, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the
Magistrate Judge that this case be dismissed without
before June 29, 2018 the parties may file
objections to the Recommendation. A party must specifically
identify the factual findings and legal conclusions in the
Recommendation to which the objection is made. Frivolous,
conclusive, or general objections to the Recommendation will
not be considered.
to file written objections to the Magistrate Judge's
findings and recommendations in accordance with the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) shall bar a party
from a de novo determination by the District Court of legal
and factual issues covered in the Recommendation and waives
the right of the party to challenge on appeal the District
Court's order based on unobjected-to factual and legal
conclusions accepted or adopted by the District Court except
upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. 11TH Cir.
R. 3-1; see Resolution Trust Co. v. Hallmark Builders,
Inc., 996 F.2d 1144, 1149 (11th Cir. 1993); Henley
v. Johnson, 885 F.2d 790, 794 (11th Cir. 1989).
The last address Hilburn submitted to
the court is Kilby Correctional Facility. A search of the
inmate database maintained by the Alabama Department of
Corrections, http://doc.state.al.us/InmateSearch, indicates
that Hilburn is no ...