United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY J. KELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is currently before the Court on a motion to dismiss
for lack of prosecution and non-compliance with the
Court's orders, ECF No. 45, filed by the remaining
defendants: the United States of America, Megan J. Brennan,
Patrick R. Donahue, Gerald Roane, Jane Doe Bello, and Jane
Doe (collectively, “Federal Defendants”). In
response, Plaintiff Raheem Muhammad, proceeding pro se, has
filed, inter alia, a motion to strike Federal Defendants'
motion, see ECF No. 49. Also pending before the Court are
several requests by Plaintiff for reasonable and meaningful
accommodations, for the appointment of counsel, and to
transfer the case. See ECF Nos. 41, 47, 50.
reasons stated herein, the Court will defer ruling on Federal
Defendants' motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff's
motions and requests for relief will be denied. Should
Plaintiff fail to confer with Federal Defendants as directed
below, Federal Defendants' motion will be granted, and
this matter will be dismissed promptly for lack of
Factual and Procedural Background
originally brought this action against Federal Defendants and
the District of Columbia. See ECF No. 1
(“Compl.”) at 1-2. He alleges that he suffered
injuries when he slipped and fell on a sidewalk outside a
Post Office in the District of Columbia. Id.
¶¶ 16-17. He seeks $1 million in compensatory
damages. Id. at 13. Plaintiff alleges negligence due
to lack of sidewalk maintenance, which he believes was
motivated by “racism and apathy.” Id.
August 12, 2016, the District of Columbia filed a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b). ECF No.
9. On December 16, 2016, Federal Defendants also filed a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b). ECF No. 16. On January
27, 2017, the Court informed Plaintiff of his obligation to
respond these motions, providing a deadline of March 3, 2017.
See ECF No. 18 at 2. He was advised of the potential
consequence of dismissal should he fail to respond. See
Id. Instead of filing an opposition, on March 1,
2017, Plaintiff filed his first motion to appoint counsel.
ECF No. 19.
April 6, 2017, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion to
appoint counsel. See ECF No. 20. At the same time, the Court
extended Plaintiff's opposition deadline to May 15, 2017.
See Id. at 2. On April 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
“Renewed Motion for an Enlargement of Time to File a
Formal Response(s) to Defendant(s)['] . . . Frivolous
Motion(s) to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint(s).” ECF
No. 21 at 2. He also filed a “Motion to Immediately
Remove [Defense] Attorneys.” ECF No. 22 at 2. On May 3,
2017, the Court issued a Minute Order granting
Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time, allowing him
an additional month to file his oppositions no later than
June 16, 2017, or, as previously advised, risk summary
dismissal. That same day, the Court issued a second Minute
Order denying Plaintiff's motion to remove
Defendants' attorneys as “baseless.” On May
12, 2017, Plaintiff moved to vacate both Minute Orders and
requested transfer of the case to the District of Maryland.
ECF No. 24. On June 26, 2017, Plaintiff then filed a renewed
motion to vacate the two Minute Orders. ECF No. 28.
September 18, 2017, the case was directly reassigned to the
undersigned. And on March 7, 2018, the Court issued a
Memorandum Opinion and Order: (1) granting the District of
Columbia's motion to dismiss in its entirety, (2)
granting Federal Defendants' motion to dismiss as to
Counts Two and Four (for violations of the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973 and the Fourteenth Amendment, respectively) but
denying the motion as to Counts One and Three (for negligence
and intentional infliction of emotion distress,
respectively), and (3) denying Plaintiff's motions to
vacate and requests to transfer the case. See ECF No. 29.
Plaintiff appealed these decisions to the District of
Columbia Circuit. See ECF No. 30.
on April 2, 2018, the Court ordered that Federal Defendants
answer the complaint. See Min. Order of Apr. 2, 2018. On
August 29, 2018, Federal Defendants filed an answer. ECF No.
35. An Initial Scheduling Conference (“ISC”) was
scheduled for October 2, 2018, and the parties were ordered
to meet and confer and to submit a joint report pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) and Local Rule 16.3 in
anticipation of that conference. See Min. Order of Aug. 30,
2018. On September 24, 2018, Federal Defendants filed a
motion for an extension of time to file the joint report, ECF
No. 38, indicating that, despite their efforts to contact
Plaintiff by letter and telephone, he had not responded to
their requests to meet and confer in advance of the ISC. To
date, he has not provided an email address to the Court or
opposing counsel. See Id. ¶ 3.
September 25, 2018, the Court issued an Order rescheduling
the ISC for November 8, 2018. ECF No. 40. In the same Order,
the Court noted that Plaintiff's conduct violated the
prior Minute Order of August 30, 2018. See Id. at 1.
The parties were again instructed to meet and confer and to
submit a joint report, and Plaintiff was specifically
directed to promptly contact opposing counsel to begin the
meet-and-confer process. See Id. He was also
explicitly warned that if he failed to meet and confer, or to
attend the rescheduled ISC, the matter may be dismissed for
want of prosecution or for violation of the Court's
orders. See id.
October 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Fourth Renewed Motion
for Reasonable and Meaningful Accommodations, for Appointment
of Counsel, and to Transfer the Case (“Fourth Combined
Motion”). ECF No. 41. On November 1, 2018, Federal
Defendants filed another motion for an extension of time to
file a joint status report in advance of the rescheduled ISC,
ECF No. 42, reporting that Plaintiff had once again failed to
respond in any manner to their repeated attempts to contact
him. The Court issued Orders on November 5, 2018, ECF No. 43,
and December 6, 2018, Min. Order of Dec. 6, 2018, vacating
the ISC and waiving the requirement to submit a joint
statement. Based on the circumstances, the Court directed
Federal Defendants to respond to Plaintiff's Fourth
Combined Motion and to file a motion to dismiss for failure
to prosecute, if they were so inclined. See ECF No. 43; Min.
Order of Dec. 6, 2018. In these Orders, the Court once again
highlighted Plaintiff's lack of compliance and the
attendant consequences. See ECF No. 43, Min. Order of Dec. 6,
Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss for lack of
prosecution and non-compliance, ECF No. 45
(“MTD”), on December 17, 2018. On December 29,
2018, Plaintiff filed a response to the Court's Orders of
November 5 and December 6, 2018, combined with a Fifth
Renewed Motion for Reasonable and Meaningful Accommodations,
for Appointment of Counsel, and to Transfer the Case
(“Fifth Combined Motion”). See ECF No. 46. On
December 31, Plaintiff filed a motion to strike, apparently
directed at Federal Defendants' motion to dismiss. See
ECF No. 49 (“MTS”). On January 2, 2019, the Court
again advised Plaintiff of his obligations to specifically
respond to Federal Defendants' pending motion to dismiss,
providing him with a deadline of January 16, 2019. ECF No.
48. On January 31, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response to the
Court's Order of January 2, 2019 (“Second
Response”). See ECF No. 50.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), “[i]f the
plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with [the Federal
Rules] or a court order, a defendant may move to dismiss the
action or any claim against it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b);
see also LCvR 83.23 (“A dismissal for failure to
prosecute may be ordered by the Court upon motion by an
adverse party, or upon the Court's own
motion.”). “A Rule 41(b) dismissal is proper
if, in view of the entire procedural history of the case, the
litigant has not manifested reasonable diligence in pursuing
the cause.” Bomate v. Ford Motor Co., 761 F.2d 713, 714
(D.C. Cir. 1985) (per curiam). Dismissal may be supported by
“evidence in the record of ‘bad faith, deliberate
misconduct, or tactical delay.'” Gardner v. United
States, 211 F.3d 1305, 1309 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting Trakas
v. Quality Brands, Inc., 759 F.2d 185, 188 (D.C. Cir. 1985)).
D.C. Circuit has further held that the considerations
relevant to the determination of a Rule 41(b) motion include:
(1) the effect of a plaintiff's conduct on the
court's docket, (2) whether the defendant has been
prejudiced by the plaintiff's conduct, and (3) whether
deterrence “is necessary to protect the integrity of
the judicial system.” Bristol Petroleum Corp. v.
Harris, 901 F.2d 165, 167 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (citation
omitted). A malfeasant party places a severe burden on the
judicial system if “the court [is required] to expend