Jamison-Means v. Colvin
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: it is ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Honorable Judge Gray M. Borden on 5/9/2017. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,
CASE NO.: 2:16-cv-732-GMB
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is the pro se complaint of Plaintiff Comoletha D’elafaye JamisonMeans, who is appealing from an adverse decision of the Social Security Administration
denying her claims for disability benefits. Doc. 1. Jamison-Means is proceeding in forma
pauperis. Doc. 3. The parties have consented to the full jurisdiction of the undersigned
United States Magistrate Judge. Docs. 9 & 10.
On September 9, 2016, the court entered an order directing the Commissioner to file
an answer to the complaint within 90 days after service, and Jamison-Means to file her
brief in support of her claims for relief within 40 days after the Commissioner filed her
answer.1 Doc. 3 at ¶¶ 1 & 2. On December 9, 2016, the Commissioner filed her answer.
The docket notes reflect that, on October 11, 2016, Jamison-Means informed the Clerk’s office that she
did not receive the court’s September 9, 2016 order. However, the docket notes also reflect that the Clerk’s
office mailed Jamison-Means a second copy of the court’s September 9, 2016 order, and there is no
evidence before the court suggesting that Jamison-Means did not receive this second attempt at delivery.
Doc. 11. Thus, Jamison-Means’ brief in support of her claims was due on January 18,
Jamison-Means did not file her brief by January 18, 2017 in accordance with the
court’s September 9, 2016 order. As a result, on April 10, 2017, the court ordered
Jamison-Means to show cause, on or before April 24, 2017, why her claims should not be
dismissed for failure to prosecute and for failure to comply with the orders of the court.2
Doc. 12. The court reminded Jamison-Means that, even though she is proceeding pro se,
she is still obligated to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court’s Local
Rules, and any other order of the court, and that her failure to do so would result in the
dismissal of her claims. Doc. 12. The record reflects that Jamison-Means signed for the
receipt of the court’s April 10, 2017 order on April 12, 2017. Doc. 13.
As of the date of this order, Jamison-Means has not filed a brief in support of her
claims for relief or otherwise responded in any way to the court’s September 9, 2016 and
April 10, 2017 orders. In fact, Jamison-Means has not communicated with the court since
consenting to the undersigned’s jurisdiction on December 1, 2016.
The Eleventh Circuit has stated that a “district court has inherent authority to
manage its own docket ‘so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.’”
Equity v. Lifestyle Props., Inc. v. Fla. Mowing & Landscape Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232,
1240 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991)). “This
authority includes the power to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute or failure to comply
The court notes that its April 10, 2017 show-cause order incorrectly stated that Jamison-Means’ brief was
due on January 23, 2017. Doc. 12. This misstatement does not impact the current analysis.
with a court order.” Higgins v. Colvin, 2015 WL 728513, at *1 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 19, 2015)
(citing Eades v. Ala. Dep’t of Human Res., 298 Fed. App’x 862, 863 (11th Cir. 2008)
(“District courts possess the ability to dismiss a case . . . for want of prosecution based on
two possible sources of authority: Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) or their inherent authority to
manage their dockets.”)). Indeed, “dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(b) is proper where a
plaintiff has failed to comply with a court order, ‘especially where the litigant has been
forewarned.’” Id. (quoting Owens v. Pinellas Cnty. Sheriff’s Dep’t, 331 Fed. App’x 654,
656 (11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam)).
Here, Jamison-Means’ failure to file a timely brief, respond to the court’s show
cause order, or communicate with the court amounts not only to a failure to prosecute but
also an abandonment of her case. See id. at *2. This is precisely the type of failure to
prosecute and to comply encompassed by Rule 41(b). Moreover, because Jamison-Means
is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court finds that a monetary sanction is not a feasible
solution and would be ineffectual. See id.
Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, it is ORDERED that this action is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. A final judgment will be entered separately.
DONE this 9th day of May, 2017.
/s/ Gray M. Borden
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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