United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
P. Mehta United States District Judge.
case involves “egregious conduct by [a] particularly
dilatory plaintiff.” See Peterson v. Archstone
Cmtys. LLC, 637 F.3d 416, 418 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Defendants have renewed their
motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. See
Defs.' Renewed Mot. to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution,
ECF No. 48 [hereinafter Defs.' Renewed Mot.]. Despite
several warnings, Plaintiff has refused to participate fully
in discovery and abide by the court's directives. For the
reasons explained below, Defendants' Motion will be
granted in part and denied in part.
appearing pro se, filed this action on August 4, 2015,
concerning her treatment while residing at a halfway house in
the District of Columbia operated by Defendants. According to
her Complaint, Defendants allegedly deprived Plaintiff of her
constitutional rights under the First, Fifth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments during her time at the halfway house.
Compl., ECF No. 1, at 6-8. As pertinent to this Memorandum
Opinion, Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated the Eighth
Amendment by refusing to allow her to leave the halfway house
to seek medical treatment and obtain medication from the drug
store. Id. at 6.
Defendants answered the Complaint, the court set this matter
for an initial scheduling conference (“ISC”) on
January 5, 2016. Order, ECF No. 15. The same Order informed
the parties about the requirement to confer and submit a
statement addressing all topics listed in Local Civil Rule
16.3(c) no fewer than seven (7) days prior to the date of the
ISC. Id. The parties did not, however, file a Rule
16.3 statement in advance of the ISC. Defendants appeared for
the Status Hearing on January 5, 2016, but Plaintiff did not.
The court nevertheless held the ISC, extended the deadline
for filing the Rule 16.3 statement to February 4, 2016, and
warned Plaintiff by minute order that if she failed to
satisfy her obligations to meet and confer with opposing
counsel by that date, then the court would consider a motion
to dismiss for want of prosecution. See Minute
Order, Jan. 5, 2016.
March 24, 2016, having yet to receive a joint Rule 16.3
statement, the court set a deadline of April 7, 2016, for the
parties to file a joint status report as to their efforts to
meet and confer. See Minute Order, Mar. 24, 2016.
The court again warned that if Plaintiff did not cooperate in
the filing of the statement, then the court would entertain a
motion to dismiss for want of prosecution. See id.
On April 12, 2016, the court extended the deadline for the
status report to April 14, 2016, and gave the parties the
option of filing separate status reports if they were unable
to file jointly. See Minute Order, Apr. 12, 2016.
April 14, 2016, Defendants filed their first Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute after making several
unsuccessful efforts to contact Plaintiff. See
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 23. In their Motion,
Defendants explained that they “had made repeated
attempts to contact [Plaintiff]” in November 2015, as
well as in January and February 2016, in order to comply with
Rule 16.3, but were unsuccessful in reaching her.
Id. ¶ 4. In addition, following the court's
March 24, 2016 Order, Defendants' counsel sent Plaintiff
“a fourth letter reminding her of the obligation to
contact him and discuss the matters to be raised in Local
Rule 16.3, ” and adding that a motion to dismiss would
be filed if she did not respond. Id. ¶ 6.
Plaintiff did not respond. Before moving to dismiss, counsel
“made a final [unsuccessful] attempt to contact . . .
Plaintiff by telephone on Friday, April 1.”
Id. ¶ 7.
court ordered Plaintiff to respond to Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss by May 6, 2016. Order, ECF No. 24. On May 9, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a motion to stay the proceedings pending her
release from D.C. Jail on June 30, 2016. Pl.'s Mot. to
Stay, ECF 26. The court granted Plaintiff's Motion on May
20, 2016, and gave her until August 16, 2016, either to
respond to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or comply with
Rule 16.3's requirements by conferring with
Defendants' counsel and filing a joint statement.
See Minute Order, Aug. 5, 2016; Minute Order, May
20, 2016. Plaintiff responded by filing a Motion to Strike
and a Motion to Set an Initial Scheduling Conference on
August 15 and 16, respectively. See Pl.'s Mot.
to Strike, ECF No. 30; Pl.'s Mot. to Set Scheduling
Conference, ECF No. 32.
August 17, 2016, Defendants filed a Supplemental Motion to
Dismiss. See Defs.' Suppl. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF
No. 31. Defendants' counsel explained that after several
attempts to contact Plaintiff, the parties finally spoke by
telephone on August 15, 2016, but Plaintiff cut the call
short at item 6 of Rule 16.3(c), “stat[ing] that she
needed to think more about her strategy” and
“would have to call back.” Id. ¶ 7.
In response to Plaintiff's Motions, Defendants asserted
that Plaintiff “has repeatedly ignored and expressly
flouted good faith attempts by undersigned counsel to discuss
the requirements of Rule 16.3 per the Court's orders[,
]” and “it is clear that [she] has no interest in
clarifying her claims or complying with the rule.”
Id. ¶ 9.
court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Set a Scheduling
Conference and set an ISC for September 22, 2016, at 10:30
a.m. See Minute Order, Aug. 24, 2016. When Plaintiff
failed to appear at the ISC at the designated time, the court
proceeded with defense counsel alone. After the proceedings
had concluded and defense counsel had left, however,
Plaintiff appeared in the courtroom. The case was recalled
and Plaintiff was admonished “for her failure to appear
for this hearing and the court's previously scheduled
[ISC], as well as for her failure to communicate with defense
counsel as previously ordered by the court.” Minute
Order, Sept. 22, 2016. Plaintiff was ordered to contact
defense counsel within 24 hours to develop a discovery plan.
Id. Defense counsel was ordered to report to the
court by 5 p.m. the next day on whether Plaintiff had
contacted him and, if so, whether they were able to agree to
a discovery plan. Id.
litigation initially seemed to progress. Plaintiff did indeed
contact defendant counsel, and in light of Plaintiff's
compliance, the court set a September 28, 2016, deadline for
the parties to submit a joint Rule 16.3 statement.
See Minute Order, Sept. 26, 2016. The parties timely
filed a joint Rule 16.3 statement. See Meet &
Confer Stmt., ECF No. 37. As a result, the court denied
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Supplemental Motion to
Dismiss for lack of prosecution, and denied as moot
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike. See Min. Order,
Sept. 30, 2016. On October 1, 2016, the court issued a
scheduling order, under which discovery was to conclude by
December 27, 2016, and a post-discovery Status Conference was
set for January 10, 2017. See Order, ECF No. 38.
Status Conference, the parties indicated that more time was
needed to complete discovery. Plaintiff had not disclosed
requested medical information, and she questioned whether
Defendant had disclosed all the sign-in/sign-out sheets that
she had requested. Therefore, the court extended discovery to
February 21, 2017. See Order, ECF No. 42. Defendant
was ordered to submit a proposed Protective Order to cover
the medical records by January 18, 2017, and to disclose any
additional sign-in/sign-out sheets concerning Plaintiff.
Id. Plaintiff was ordered to disclose, subject to
the Protective Order, the requested names of doctors and
prescriptions and any related medical records. Id.
The court issued the Protective Order on January 18, 2017,
ECF No. 44. The Protective Order makes clear that the parties
agree that the requested medical information “is
confidential[, ] . . . is of a personal character[, ] and
should be revealed only in a designated way, ” as set
out in the Order. Id. at 1.
did not comply with the court's Order, leading Defendants
to file a Motion to Compel disclosure of Plaintiff's
medical provider information and requested medical records.
See Defs.' Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 45. In their
Motion, Defendants recounted Plaintiff's refusal to
provide the information during her deposition. Id.
¶ 2. In addition, Defendants stated that Plaintiff did
not respond to either their Rule 34 request for production of
documents or their e-mails and letter requesting such
information. See Id. ¶¶ 4-6.
February 28, 2017, the court granted Defendants' Motion,
ordered Plaintiff to produce the requested medical
information by March 10, 2017, and warned Plaintiff of
potential consequences, including dismissal for failure to
prosecute, if she failed to comply. See Order, ECF
No. 46. The court noted that all materials produced would be
subject to the Protective Order and ordered Defendants'
counsel to notify the court by March 13, 2017, whether
Plaintiff had complied with the Order. See id.
reported on March 15, 2017, that, “[t]o date,
[Plaintiff] has produced no documentation, nor has she
responded to undersigned counsel's e-mail in which the
Order of February 28, 2017 was supplied.” Defs.'
Status Report, ECF No. 47. In light of that Status Report,
the court informed the parties that it would consider a
motion to dismiss under Rule 41(b), see Minute