ALBERTO JIMENEZ, VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF MANUEL M. JIMENEZ-RODOLI, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT 15 MACHINISTS' UNION, Defendant.
PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge.
This action arises from the claim by original plaintiff Manuel M. Jimenez-Rodoli ("Manuel") that the District 15 Machinists' Union ("defendant") failed to pay him the pension benefits to which he was entitled. On December 29, 2010, Manuel filed an Amended Complaint, which the Court construed as a cause of action under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. Dkt. 4.
On July 31, 2013, the Honorable Kevin N. Fox, United States Magistrate Judge, issued a Report & Recommendation (Dkt. 43) (the "Report"), recommending that the Court dismiss the action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b).
For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation in its entirety, save that the Court dismisses the action without prejudice, not with prejudice, as the Report & Recommendation recommended.
I. Procedural History
On May 23, 2011, the Court received a letter from the current plaintiff and Manuel's son, Alberto Jimenez ("Alberto"). In that letter, Alberto stated that Manuel had died in January 2011 and that Alberto had been named the Administrator of his father's estate. As such, Alberto requested that the Court allow him to substitute as plaintiff in the case and to continue to prosecute the action. On June 29, 2011, Jimenez filed a motion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(a)(3), to be substituted as plaintiff. Dkt. 14. Defendant did not oppose that motion. By order dated September 27, 2011, Judge Fox granted the motion. Dkt. 15.
On December 26, 2012, defendant filed a motion to compel joinder of the IAM National Pension Fund, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 19. Dkt. 28. On January 10, 2013, Judge Fox issued an order directing Alberto to submit evidence to the Court indicating whether any other creditors or beneficiaries of Manuel's estate existed, in order to determine whether Alberto could proceed pro se or would need to obtain counsel to represent him in prosecuting the action. Dkt. 30.
On February 27, 2013, Alberto submitted documentation indicating that the estate had an additional beneficiary, Daris F. Garcia. Dkt. 32. Accordingly, on March 21, 2013, Judge Fox issued an order advising Alberto that, because he was not the sole beneficiary of the estate, he was prohibited from prosecuting the action pro se. Dkt. 33. The order stated that Alberto should obtain counsel to represent him by April 23, 2013; it stated that failure to do so could result in dismissal of the action. Id.
On April 22, 2013, Alberto submitted a letter to the Court, asking for an extension of time to obtain counsel. Dkt. 35. On May 2, 2013, Judge Fox granted an extension until May 21, 2013, again stating that failure to obtain counsel could result in dismissal of the action. Dkt. 36. On May 20, 2013, Alberto requested an additional six weeks of time to obtain counsel "by reason of missing documents needed to support [his] case." Dkt. 37. On May 30, 2013, Judge Fox granted that extension, enlarging his time to obtain counsel to July 2, 2013 and once more instructing him that failure to obtain counsel could result in dismissal of the action. Dkt. 38.
On July 1, 2013, Alberto requested an extension of an additional four weeks. Dkt. 39. On July 3, 2013, defendant submitted a letter opposing that request. Dkt. 40. By order dated July 10, 2013, Judge Fox denied that motion, on the grounds that the Court had provided Alberto with a reasonable amount of time to obtain counsel and had granted two requests for enlargement of time in order for him to do so. Dkt. 41.
On July 31, 2013, Judge Fox issued his Report. Dkt. 43. The Report stated that the parties had fourteen days within which to file objections. On August 15, 2013, the Court received Alberto's objections to the Report. Dkt. 44 ("Objections").
On August 19, 2013, Alberto filed an application requesting that the Court appoint pro bono counsel. Dkt. 45.
A. Applicable Legal ...