United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RICHARD W. RATHKE, #315760, Plaintiff,
NURSE DYER, et al., Defendants.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint filed by Richard Rathke, an indigent state inmate.
In the instant complaint, Rathke alleges that the defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs
during his incarceration at the Russell County Jail in 2018.
Doc. 1 at 3.
to the orders of this court, the defendants filed a special
report supported by relevant evidentiary materials, including
affidavits and medical records, in which they address
Rathke's claim for relief. The reports and evidentiary
materials dispute the self-serving, conclusory allegations
presented by Rathke. Specifically, the defendants assert that
they did not violate Rathke's constitutional rights.
light of the foregoing, the court issued an order directing
Rathke to file a response to the defendants' written
report. Doc. 14. The order advised Rathke that his failure to
respond to the reports would be treated by the court
“as an abandonment of the claims set forth in the
complaint and as a failure to prosecute this action.”
Doc. 14 at 2. Additionally, the order “specifically
cautioned [the plaintiff] that [his failure] to file a
response in compliance with the directives of this
order” would result in the dismissal of this civil
action. Doc. 14 at 2. The time allotted to Rathke for filing
a response in compliance with the directives of this order
expired on February 25, 2019. As of the present date, Rathke
has failed to file a response in opposition to the
defendant's written report. The court therefore concludes
that this case should be dismissed.
court has reviewed the file to determine whether a less
drastic measure than dismissal is appropriate. After this
review, the court concludes that dismissal of this case is
the proper course of action. In sum, Rathke is an indigent
individual currently incarcerated in the Alabama prison
system, so the imposition of monetary or other punitive
sanctions against him would be ineffectual. Additionally,
Rathke's inaction in the face of the defendants'
report and evidence suggests lost interest in the continued
prosecution of this case. Finally, the evidentiary materials
submitted by the defendants, which are at this point
undisputed by the plaintiff, indicate that no violation of
the Constitution occurred. It therefore appears that any
additional effort by this court to secure Rathke's
compliance would be unavailing and a waste of this
court's scarce judicial resources. Consequently, the
court concludes that Rathke's abandonment of his claims
and his failure to comply with an order of this court warrant
dismissal. See Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837
(11th Cir. 1989) (holding that, generally, 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). This authority
empowers the courts “to manage their own affairs so as
to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of
cases.” Id. at 630-31; Mingo v. Sugar Cane
Growers Co-Op of Fla., 864 F.2d 101, 102 (11th Cir.
1989) (holding that a “district court possesses the
inherent power to police its docket”). “The
sanctions imposed [upon dilatory litigants] can range from a
simple reprimand to an order dismissing the action with or
without prejudice.” Mingo, 863 F.2d at 102.
these reasons, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate
Judge that this case be dismissed without prejudice.
before June 6, 2019, 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. Failure 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 ...