United States District Court, District of Columbia
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Seawright, a letter carrier for the United States Postal
Service, filed a form pro se Complaint in the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia in August 2014.
After the Postal Service removed the case to this Court,
Seawright filed additional documents attempting to advance
additional claims. Together, his filings list claims for
"employment discrimination, harassment, breach of
contract, abuse of process, " ECF No. 1-1, fraud,
defamation, slander, "mental anguish, "
"continually malicious malice, " conspiracy, pain
and suffering, and harassment, ECF No. 6. The Postal Service
moved to dismiss the complaint, or alternatively for summary
judgment. After Seawright largely failed to respond to the
Postal Service's arguments, the Court dismissed the
Complaint and allowed Seawright to file an amended complaint.
See Mem. Op. & Order, Feb. 11, 2015, ECF No. 14.
filed a response to the Court's order, providing only a
short statement attempting to explain a few of his claims.
See Response to Mem. Op. & Order, ECF No. 16.
Because this cursory statement was likewise insufficient to
put the Postal Service on notice of the claims he sought to
pursue, the Court held a hearing on December 3, 2015 to give
Seawright an opportunity to describe his allegations. The
Court informed Seawright of various resources available to
him as a pro se plaintiff, allowed him a further
opportunity to amend his complaint as to certain of his
claims, and warned him that failure to respond to motions by
the government could result in the dismissal of his case.
See Order, Dec. 7, 2015, ECF No. 17.
than amend his complaint, Seawright filed only a series of
letters and other documents concerning various complaints he
had lodged with his union representatives. See
Response to Order, ECF No. 18. The Postal Service has again
moved to dismiss the case, this time with prejudice and for
failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b) and Local Civil Rule 83.23. The Service
contends that it has been prejudiced by the delay created by
Seawright's failures to provide factual allegations and
to adequately respond to the Court's orders. Seawright
filed a brief response, noting only that he was unable to
obtain an attorney and conclusorily stating that he continues
to experience harassment and unfair treatment at work.
41(b) provides that "a defendant may move to dismiss
[an] action or any claim against it" if the
"plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with ... a
court order." And "[u]nless the dismissal states
otherwise, a dismissal under this subdivision, " with
certain exceptions not relevant here, "operates as an
adjudication on the merits." Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Local
Civil Rule 83.23 provides that an "order dismissing a
claim for failure to prosecute shall specify that the
dismissal is without prejudice, unless the Court determines
that the delay in prosecution of the claim has resulted in
prejudice to an opposing party."
court acts in its discretion by dismissing a complaint,
either with or without prejudice, when a plaintiff fails to
prosecute his or her case, ... or fails to follow the
court's orders." Allen v. United States.
277 F.R.D. 221, 223 (D.D.C. 2011) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b);
LCvR 83.23). Dismissal is appropriate where "the
plaintiffs conduct fails to put the defendant' on notice
of the claim or interferes with the defendant's] ability
to obtain evidence relevant to the plaintiffs claims."
B.R. ex rel. Rempson v. Dist. of Columbia. 262
F.R.D. 11, 16 (D.D.C. 2009).
is here. Seawright's failure to file a proper complaint
in response to the Court's order constitutes a failure to
put the Postal Service on notice of the claims Seawright
seeks to lodge against it, and it interferes with the
agency's ability to proceed with its defense in any way.
See Stella v. Mineta, 231 F.R.D. 44, 49 (D.D.C.
2005) (granting a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 41(b)
due to plaintiffs "failure to file a second amended
complaint, " which "precluded [defendants from
offering evidence" to support their defense, and noting
that defendants had "expended resources in order to
file" the resulting motions). Dismissal is appropriate
here notwithstanding Seawright's status as pro se.
See Allen, 277 F.R.D. at 223 ("The court's
authority to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute or
failure to follow the court's orders is not discarded
simply because a plaintiff is proceeding pro
se"). That said, even though the Court has provided
Seawright ample opportunity to correct the deficiencies in
his filings, and warned him that failure to respond to
motions by the government could result in the dismissal of
his claims, the Court will exercise its discretion and
dismiss this case without prejudice so as not to permanently
foreclose a properly fashioned suit.
foregoing reasons, it is hereby
that  Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for lack of
prosecution be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. This case
is hereby DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.