United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Kevin Castel, United States District Judge
moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 41(b),
Fed.R.Civ.P. on April 14, 2017, (ECF Doc. # 34), and orally
renewed the motion on July 14, 2017, for failure to prosecute
the action. For the reasons stated below, the motion is
granted and the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
Sophia Robinson, by and through her then attorneys Levine
& Blit, commenced this action on September 4, 2015 by
filing a complaint alleging discrimination and harassment
based on race, color, disability, and retaliation in
violation of federal, state, and city law. (ECF Doc. # 3.)
The case was initially assigned to then Judge Scheindlin.
Plaintiff did not serve her complaint on defendants until
December 10, 2015. In lieu of an answer to the complaint,
defendants submitted a pre-motion letter to Judge Scheindlin
requesting permission to move to dismiss several counts of
the complaint for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff's
counsel subsequently advised the court that it needed to
withdraw its representation of plaintiff and requested
permission to file a formal motion to withdraw. By order
dated February 19, 2016, Judge Scheindlin granted the motion
and Levine & Blit was relieved as counsel for plaintiff.
(ECF Doc. # 15.)
letter to Judge Sheindlin dated March 9, 2016, plaintiff, on
her own behalf, requested that the court “please allow
me to have some time to research, interview, and hire new
counsel if that is indeed what I need to do to have
representation which I cannot be without.” (ECF Doc. #
17.) Plaintiff represented to the court that she had a
serious medical condition but should be able to find new
counsel by April 15, 2016. Judge Sheindlin granted the
plaintiff's request, rescheduling the initial conference
for April 15, 2016 and directing that plaintiff “appear
through (or with) counsel if she obtains new representation,
or to appear pro se if she does not obtain counsel
by this date. (Id.)
April 12, 2016, the case was reassigned to Judge Hellerstein
following Judge Scheindlin's retirement. Judge
Hellerstein scheduled an initial conference for May 6, 2016
which was subsequently rescheduled for June 24, 2016. (ECF
Doc. # 19, 21.) By email dated June 22, 2016 (ECF Doc. # 22),
plaintiff advised the court that although she had obtained
new representation, that counsel “is no longer
representing me in this matter.” Plaintiff requested
another adjournment of the initial conference and Judge
Hellerstein adjourned the conference until August 5, 2016.
again, on the eve of the initial conference, plaintiff
emailed Judge Hellerstein, requesting yet another adjournment
in order to find an attorney. The conference was again
rescheduled for September 9, 2016. (ECF Doc. # 23.) However,
on September 8, 2016, plaintiff faxed Judge Hellerstein
seeking yet another adjournment in order to find an attorney.
Judge Hellerstein granted “one last adjournment to Oct.
14, 2016.” (ECF Doc. # 24.) Plaintiff did appear before
Judge Hellerstein on October 14, 2016, but only to request
yet another extension to find an attorney. Once again, Judge
Hellerstein granted an adjournment, this time until November
4, 2016. (ECF Docket Minute Entry, October 14, 2016.) On
November 3, 2016, Plaintiff submitted another request for
adjournment to Judge Hellerstein. Judge Hellerstein adjourned
the conference to January 13, 2017, marking it as “Last
adjournment.” (ECF Doc. # 25.)
January 20, 2017, this case was reassigned to the
undersigned. That same day, defendants requested that they be
allowed to proceed with their motion to dismiss and that
plaintiff be given a final directive and deadline to appear
by counsel or pro se. (ECF Doc. # 27.) The Court
then issued an order setting a briefing schedule for the
motion to dismiss. (ECF Doc. # 28.) Defendants filed their
motion to dismiss and plaintiff did not respond. By letter
dated April 14, 2017, defendants informed the court that
plaintiff had not responded and requested that the complaint
be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice. (ECF Doc. # 34.)
order dated June 6, 2017, plaintiff was advised as follows:
PLAINTIFF SOPHIA ROBINSON IS ADVISED TO CONSIDER RETAINING
COUNSEL. HOWEVER, AS A NATURAL PERSON MS. ROBINSON IS
ENTITLED TO PROCEED WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY. . . . ALL PARTIES
MUST APPEAR FOR A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE ON JULY 5, 2017. . . .
SOPHIA ROBINSON MUST APPEAR EITHER IN PERSON OR BY COUNSEL.
IF SOPHIA ROBINSON FAILS TO APPEAR AT THE JULY 5, 2017
CONFERNCE, SHE WILL HAVE HER CASE DISMISSED.
(ECF Doc. # 36.) Defendants were instructed to serve the
order on Ms. Robinson and file an affidavit, and defendants
did so. (ECF Doc. # 36.)
as ordered, appeared at the July 5, 2017 conference.
Plaintiff did not. Instead, on July 3 or 4, plaintiff sent an
ex parte communication to the Court requesting yet
another adjournment. By Order dated July 5, 2017, the Court
adjourned the conference to July 14, 2017. Once again, the
Court ordered that:
ALL PERSONS MUST APPEAR FOR A CONTINUATION OF TODAY'S
PRETRIAL CONFRENCE ON JULY 14, 2017 AT 1:45 p.m. . . . SOPHIA
ROBINSON MUST APPEAR EITHER IN PERSON OR BY COUNSEL. IF
SOPHIA ROBINSON FAILS TO APPEAR AT THE JULY 14, 2017
CONFERNCE, SHE WILL HAVE HER CASE DISMISSED.
(ECF Doc. # 38.) Defendants were instructed to serve the
order on Ms. Robinson and defendants complied ...