United States District Court, D. Delaware
Kennard Lane, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Clement Handlon, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department
of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant.
Robinson, District Judge
Kennard Lane ("plaintiff"), an inmate at the James
T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware, proceeds pro
se and was granted leave to proceed in forma paupers. He
filed this civil action on October 27, 2015. (D.I. 1) The
court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Before the court are defendant's motion for summary
judgment and motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute.
(D.I. 12, 16) The court will grant the motion to dismiss for
failure to prosecute and will deny as moot the motion for
alleges that, on September 14, 2015, defendant violated his
constitutional rights by reason of excessive force. On April
28, 2016, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.
(D.I. 12) Plaintiff sent a letter to the court, received, May
3, 2016, asking if the case was still on the docket and
seeking a copy of a disciplinary report. (D.I. 14) A response
was sent to plaintiff the same day. (D.I. 15) Plaintiff did
not respond to the motion for summary judgment. On December
12, 2016, defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
prosecute. (D.I. 16) To date, plaintiff has not filed a
response to the motion.
FAILURE TO PROSECUTE
court turns to the issue of plaintiff's failure to
prosecute, given that he has taken no action since May 3,
2016, and he did not file responses to the motion for summary
judgment and the motion to dismiss. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(b), a court may dismiss an action "[f]or failure of
the plaintiff to prosecute or to comply with [the Federal
Rules] or any order of court. . . ." Although dismissal
is an extreme sanction that should only be used in limited
circumstances, dismissal is appropriate if a party fails to
prosecute the action. Harris v. City of
Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1311, 1330 (3d Cir. 1995).
following six factors determine whether dismissal is
warranted: (1) the extent of the party's personal
responsibility; (2) the prejudice to the adversary caused by
the failure to meet scheduling orders and respond to
discovery; (3) a history of dilatoriness; (4) whether the
conduct of the party was willful or in bad faith; (5) the
effectiveness of sanctions other than dismissal, which
entails an analysis of other sanctions; and (6) the
meritoriousness of the claim or defense. Poulis v. State
Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 747 F.2d 863, 868 (3d Cir.
1984); see also Emerson v. Thiel Coll., 296 F.3d
184, 190 (3d Cir. 2002); Huertas v. United States
Dep't of Educ, 408 F.App'x 639 (3d Cir, 2010)
court must balance the factors and need not find that all of
them weigh against plaintiff to dismiss the action.
Emerson, 296 F.3d at 190 (3d Cir. 2002). Because
dismissal for failure to prosecute involves a factual
inquiry, it can be appropriate even if some of the
Poulis factors are not satisfied. Hicks v.
Feeney, 850 F.2d 152, 156 (3d Cir. 1988); Curtis T.
Bedwell & Sons, Inc. v. International Fidelity Ins.
Co., 843 F.2d 683, 696 (3d Cir. 1988) (holding that not
all Poulis factors must weigh in favor of
court finds that the Poulis factors warrant
dismissal of plaintiff's case. First, as a pro se
litigant, plaintiff is solely responsible for prosecuting his
claim. Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Co., 980
F.2d 912, 920 (3d Cir. 1992). Second, defendant is prejudiced
by plaintiff's failure to prosecute. Prejudice occurs
when a plaintiff's failure to prosecute burdens a
defendant's ability to prepare for trial. Ware v.
Rodale Press, Inc., 322 F.3d 218, 222-23 (3d Cir. 2003).
Plaintiff's failure to take any action impedes
defendant's ability to prepare a trial strategy or
otherwise resolve the dispute.
regard to the third factor, the court notes that plaintiff
has failed to respond to the dispositive motions filed by
defendant. This leads to the conclusion that, as to the third
factor, there is a history of dilatoriness. As to the fourth
factor, the facts to date lead to a conclusion that
plaintiffs failure to prosecute is willful or in bad faith.
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit yet failed to respond to ...