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Valdez v. Suffolk County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 2, 2018

STEPHAN LOUIS VALDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
SUFFOLK COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOSEPH F. BIANCO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Report and Recommendation dated August 18, 2017 from Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke (the "R&R"), recommending that the Court dismiss this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). (Dkt. No. 39.) A copy of the R&R was served on pro se plaintiff Stephan Louis Valdez ("plaintiff) on August 21, 2017. (See Dkt No. 40.) The R&R instructed that any objections be submitted within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the R&R. (Dkt. No. 39 at 4-5.) The date for filing any objections has since expired, and plaintiff has not filed any objection to the R&R. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R&R and dismisses plaintiffs complaint.

         Where there are no objections, the Court may adopt the report and recommendation without de novo review. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985) ("It does not appear that Congress intended to require district court review of a magistrate's factual or legal conclusions, under a de novo or any other standard, when neither party objects to those findings."); see also Mario v. P & C Food Mkts., Inc., 313 F.3d 758, 766 (2d Cir. 2002) ("Where parties receive clear notice of the consequences, failure timely to object to a magistrate's report and recommendation operates as a waiver of further judicial review of the magistrate's decision."); cf. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3) (requiring de novo review after objections). However, because the failure to file timely objections is not jurisdictional, a district judge may still excuse the failure to object in a timely manner and exercise its discretion to decide the case on the merits to, for example, prevent plain error. See Cephas v. Nash, 328 F.3d 98, 107 (2d Cir. 2003) ("[B]ecause the waiver rule is non jurisdictional, we 'may excuse the default in the interests of justice.'" (quoting Thomas, 474 U.S. at 155)).

         Rule 41(b) authorizes a district court to "dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with a court order, treating the noncompliance as a failure to prosecute." Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 87 (2d Cir. 1995) (citing Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 633 (1962)); see Lucas v. Miles, 84 F.3d 532, 535 (2d Cir. 1996) ("[Dismissal [pursuant to Rule 41(b)] is a harsh remedy and is appropriate only in extreme situations."); Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73, 79 (2d Cir. 2004) ("Rule [41(b)] is intended to serve as a rarely employed, but useful, tool of judicial administration available to district courts in managing their specific cases and general caseload."). Moreover, it is well settled that a district court "may act sua sponte to dismiss a suit for failure to prosecute." Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 44 (1991) (citing Link, 370 U.S. at 630-31); see also Le Sane v. Hall's Sec. Analyst, Inc., 239 F.3d 206, 209 (2d Cir. 2001) ("Although the text of Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) expressly addresses only the case in which a defendant moves for dismissal of an action, it is unquestioned that Rule 41(b) also gives the district court authority to dismiss a plaintiffs case sua sponte for failure to prosecute.").

         Courts have repeatedly found that "[dismissal of an action is warranted when a litigant, whether represented or instead proceeding pro se, fails to comply with legitimate court directives." Yulle v. Barkley, No. 9:05-CV-0802, 2007 WL 2156644, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. July 25, 2007) (citations omitted). A district court contemplating dismissal of a plaintiffs claim for failure to prosecute and/or to comply with a court order pursuant to Rule 41(b) must consider:

1) the duration of plaintiff s failures or non-compliance; 2) whether plaintiff had notice that such conduct would result in dismissal; 3) whether prejudice to the defendant is likely to result; 4) whether the court balanced its interest in managing its docket against plaintiffs interest in receiving an opportunity to be heard; and 5) whether the court adequately considered the efficacy of a sanction less draconian than dismissal.

Baffa v. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp., 222 F.3d 52, 63 (2d Cir. 2000). In deciding whether dismissal is appropriate, "[generally, no one factor is dispositive." Nita v. Conn. Dep't of Env. Prot., 16 F.3d 482, 485 (2d Cir. 1994); see also Peart v. City of New York, 992 F.2d 458, 461 (2d Cir. 1993) ("[Dismissal for want of prosecution is a matter committed to the discretion of the trial judge [and] the judge's undoubtedly wide latitude is conditioned by certain minimal requirements.") (quoting Merker v. Rice, 649 F.2d 171, 173-74 (2d Cir. 1981)).

         Although plaintiff has waived any objection to the R&R and thus de novo review is not required, the Court has conducted a de novo review of the R&R in an abundance of caution. Having conducted a review of the full record and the applicable law, and having reviewed the R&R de novo, the Court adopts the findings and recommendation contained in the well-reasoned R&R in their entirety.

         Accordingly, the Court dismisses this action pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment accordingly and close this case. The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is ...


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