Pleasant v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Corey L Maze on 6/4/2021. (MEB2)
2021 Jun-04 AM 11:48
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
Case No. 2:19-CV-01267-CLM
For the reasons explained below, this action and all claims included in it are
due to be DISMISSED with prejudice.
On August 8, 2019, Plaintiff Pleasant filed a Complaint against Defendant
Social Security Administration (“SSA”) alleging two counts of disability
discrimination under the ADA/ADAAA. Doc 1. Pleasant filed an amended
complaint bringing the same claims on November 22, 2019. Doc. 9. Following
SSA’s motion to dismiss, the court dismissed Pleasant’s Count II failure to
accommodate claim, leaving only Count I remaining. Doc. 19. The court then
entered a scheduling order on September 29, 2020, requiring all discovery to be
completed by April 30, 2021. Doc. 13. On motion, the court later extended the
discovery deadline to May 28, 2021. Doc. 31.
On May 4, 2021, the court held a telephone status conference that had been
set by the original scheduling order. However, Pleasant’s attorney did not attend this
conference and did not respond to calls from SSA’s counsel or this court, so the court
rescheduled the conference to May 7, 2021. Doc. 32. At this conference, SSA
informed the court that it was awaiting discovery responses from Pleasant, which it
needed before it could hold its final deposition. Pleasant’s counsel assured SSA that
it would send those discovery responses and a proposed date for the deposition by
the end of the week. But Pleasant did not send either item to SSA, prompting SSA
to file a motion to compel Pleasant to do so on May 11, 2021. Doc. 33. The court
granted this motion and ordered Pleasant to submit to SSA all discovery responses,
as well as a proposed date to take the remaining deposition, by May 14, 2021. Doc.
34. Pleasant did not respond to this order, and SSA filed a second motion to compel
on May 19, 2021. Doc. 35. In this motion, SSA detailed its numerous unsuccessful
attempts to reach Pleasant’s counsel via email and telephone. Id.
Thereafter, the court entered a show cause order on May 24, 2021, giving
Pleasant until June 1, 2021 to explain to the court her failure to prosecute this case,
including why she failed to respond to SSA’s attempts to communicate, provide
discovery responses, or work with SSA to schedule a deposition. Doc. 36. The
court warned Pleasant that “[f]ailure to respond to this order shall result in the
dismissal of this action with prejudice.” Id. As of June 4, 2021, Pleasant has failed
to respond or in any way communicate with the court.
Courts have discretion to dismiss cases sua sponte when the plaintiff fails to
prosecute her case. See Link v. Wabash Railroad Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-31 (1962).
The Eleventh Circuit has held that “[d]ismissal pursuant to Rule 41(b) upon
disregard of an order, especially where the litigant has been forewarned, generally
is not an abuse of discretion.” Kelly v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., 376
F.App’x 909, 913-14 (11th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).
Pleasant has disregarded the discovery schedule and court orders, even after
the court warned her of the effect of doing so. When SSA filed multiple motions to
compel, Pleasant provided no responses, even after the court ordered her to do so. In
short, Pleasant has “utterly abandoned prosecution of this action.” Dudley v. City
of Birmingham, 2014 WL 4166773, at *3 (N.D. Ala. Feb 3, 2014).
Because Pleasant has failed to heed this court’s warnings and orders, the court
finds that this action is due to be DISMISSED with prejudice. A final judgment
will be entered contemporaneously with this memorandum opinion.
DONE this 4th day of June, 2021.
COREY L. MAZE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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