United States District Court, D. Delaware
CHRISTOPHER N. CHAPPEL, Plaintiff,
STATE OF DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, Defendant.
Christopher N. Chappel, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
B. Marinelli, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of
Justice, Wilmington, Delaware; Counsel for Defendant.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Christopher N. Chappel, a former employee of Defendant
Delaware Department of Correction, filed this employment
discrimination action on September 15, 2017. (D.I. 1). He
proceeds pro se. Defendant moves to dismiss for
failure to prosecute. (D.I. 15). A briefing schedule was
entered on June 1, 2018, and it gave Plaintiff until June 14,
2018 to file a response to the motion. (D.I. 16). Plaintiff
did not file a response.
commenced this action on September 15, 2017. (D.I. 1). The
scheduling order provided a discovery deadline of May 9,
2018, and a dispositive motion deadline of September 10,
2018. (D.I. 8). The last acts taken by Plaintiff in this
matter occurred on April 26, 2018, when he left a voicemail
with defense counsel's office stating that he would not
be attending his deposition scheduled for that day. (D. I.
15). Later that day, Plaintiff advised defense counsel that
he planned on withdrawing the case. (Id.).
8, 2018, Defendant filed motion to dismiss. (D.I. 15). When
Plaintiff did not file a response to the motion, the Court
entered an order giving Plaintiff until June 14, 2018 to do
so. (D.I 16). Plaintiff did not file a response to
Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute.
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. See
Harris v. City of Philadelphia, 47 F.3d 1311, 1330 (3d
Court considers the following factors to 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. See Poulis v.
State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 747 F.2d 863, 868 (3d
Cir. 1984); see also Emerson v. Thiel Coll., 296
F.3d 184, 190 (3d Cir. 2002).
Court must balance the factors and may dismiss the action
even if all of them do not weigh against Plaintiff. See
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. See Hicks v.
Feeney, 850 F.2d 152, 156 (3d Cir. 1998); 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 Plaintiffs claims. First, as a pro se
litigant, Plaintiff is solely responsible for prosecuting his
claim. See 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
the defendant's ability to prepare for trial. Ware v.
Rodale Press, Inc., 322 F.3d 218, 222-23 (3d Cir. 2003).
Here, Plaintiff's failure to take any action impedes
Defendant's ability to conduct discovery and/or develop
trial strategy. Notably, Plaintiff did not appear for his
deposition. Nor has Plaintiff responded to Defendant's
the third factor, there is a history of dilatoriness given
that Plaintiff failed to attend his deposition, failed to
respond to discovery requests, and failed to respond to the
motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. As to the fourth
factor, because Plaintiff has taken no action for
approximately eight months, the Court is unable to discern
whether his failure to prosecute is willful or in bad faith,
but notes that Plaintiff failed to respond to the motion to
dismiss for failure to prosecute and appears to have
abandoned his case. As to the fifth factor, it is doubtful