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McDougell v. Potter

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


May 19, 2010

MIKE MCDOUGELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DISMISSING THE CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE BASED ON THE PLAINTIFF'S FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

The plaintiff commenced this action on May 29, 2009. See generally Compl. The docket sheet indicates that over the following eleven months, the plaintiff took no action to prosecute his claims. Thus, on April 26, 2010, the court ordered the plaintiff to show cause on or before May 10, 2010 why this case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. See Minute Order (Apr. 26, 2010). The plaintiff failed to respond to the court's order.

"The authority of a federal trial court to dismiss a plaintiff's action with prejudice because of his failure to prosecute cannot seriously be doubted." Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629 (1962); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 41(b) (authorizing the involuntary dismissal of actions based on the plaintiff's failure to prosecute); LCvR 83.23 (providing that the court may dismiss a case sua sponte for failure to prosecute); Automated Datatron, Inc. v. Woodcock, 659 F.2d 1168, 1170 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (observing that "[i]f district court judges are to discharge their heavy responsibilities effectively, their power to dismiss . . . must be more than theoretical"). This Circuit has cautioned, however, that dismissal with prejudice for failure to prosecute is a "harsh sanction" reserved for "cases involving egregious conduct by particularly dilatory plaintiffs, after 'less dire alternatives' have been tried without success," Noble v. U.S. Postal Serv., 71 Fed. Appx. 69, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citing Trakas v. Quality Brands, Inc., 759 F.2d 185, 186-87 (D.C. Cir. 1985)).

In accordance with these principles, the court will impose the less dire sanction of dismissal without prejudice based on the plaintiff's failure to prosecute this action or respond to the court's order to show cause. An Order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion is separately and contemporaneously issued this 19th day of May, 2010.

20100519

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