Goines v. Cooks et al
Order DISMISSING this action without prejudice. This action is before the Court on sua sponte review of the docket, and is dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute. Separate final judgment to follow. Copy mailed to Plaintiff. Signed by District Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 5/10/2022. (meh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
COURTNEY DEVON GOINES,
WARDEN COOKS, et al.,
Civil Action No. 20-00070-KD-B
This action is before the Court on sua sponte review of the docket. Upon consideration,
and for the reasons set forth herein, this action is dismissed without prejudice.
Plaintiff Courtney Devon Goines, an Alabama prison inmate proceeding pro se, filed an
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants Cook and Dixon violated his rights under
the Eighth Amendment by failing to protect him from an inmate-on-inmate attack at Fountain
Correctional Facility (doc. 1). In April 2021, the Magistrate Judge entered an order converting
Defendants’ answer and special report into a motion for summary judgment (doc. 33). The
Magistrate Judge ascertained that Goines had been transferred to Limestone Correctional Facility
and sent the conversion order to that address. In the conversion order, Goines was advised of the
June 1, 2021 deadline for his response. He was also ordered to advise the Court whether he
wanted to proceed with the action and warned that failure to respond may result in dismissal
without prejudice. Since Goines had not given notice of the new address, he was also warned
that failure to provide a change of address may result in dismissal without prejudice.
Goines did not respond. The Magistrate Judge entered a report and recommendation for
dismissal without prejudice for failure to prosecute and comply with the Court’s orders (doc. 34).
The report and recommendation were mailed to Goines. He did not file an objection. In October
2021, the Court adopted the report and recommendation, and the action was dismissed without
prejudice (docs. 35, 36). The Order and Judgment were mailed to Goines at Limestone.
Approximately six weeks later, Goines moved to reopen this action (doc. 37). He sought
an opportunity to respond to the motion for summary judgment. Defendants stated that if the
action was reopened, they had no objection to Goines filing his response out of time (doc. 39).
On February 14, 2022, the Court vacated the Order and Judgment, again converted the answer
and special report into a motion for summary judgment, and granted Goines until March 31,
2022, to respond to the motion (doc. 40). The Court warned of the consequence of failing to
respond. Specifically, “if Goines fails to respond by the specified date, March 31, 2022, his
failure will be considered by the Court as an abandonment of the prosecution of this case, and the
motion for summary judgment will be treated as unopposed” (doc. 40, p. 4).
The Order reopening the action was mailed to Goines at his address of record, Limestone
Correctional Facility. To date, the Order has not been returned and Goines has not filed a
response to the motion for summary judgment. Thus, Goines again abandoned the prosecution
of his case.
Pursuant to the Court’s inherent authority, an action may be dismissed sua sponte if the
plaintiff fails to prosecute or comply with the court’s order. Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S.
626, 630–631 (1962). Additionally, Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
authorizes a court to dismiss an action sua sponte for a plaintiff’s failure to prosecute or
obey a court order. Betty K Agencies, Ltd. v. M/V Monada, 432 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir.
2005). In this procedural posture, dismissal without prejudice is warranted by Goines’ failure to
prosecute and to comply with the Court’s orders after the action was reopened specifically so
that he may respond to the motion for summary judgment.
The Court acknowledges that dismissal of this action without prejudice is tantamount to a
dismissal with prejudice since Goines will likely be precluded from filing another action based
on claims that arose in August 2018. Stephenson v. Warden, Doe, 554 Fed. Appx. 835, 837
(11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (“[W]here a dismissal without prejudice has the effect of
precluding the plaintiff from re-filing his claim due to the running of the statute of limitations, it
is tantamount to a dismissal with prejudice.”); see also Jones v. Preuit & Mauldin, 876 F.2d
1480, 1483 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc) (Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for Section
1983 actions). However, the Court finds that Goines consistent failure to comply with the
Court’s orders and consistent failure to prosecute this action, even when given a second
opportunity, renders lesser sanctions inadequate. See Betty K Agencies, 432 F. 3d at 1339.
Accordingly, this action is dismissed without prejudice. Final judgment shall enter by
separate order as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 58(a).
The Clerk is also directed to mail a copy of this Order to Goines.
DONE and ORDERED this 10th day of May 2022.
s / Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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