Helms v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
ORDER directing this case be dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Signed by Honorable James R. Marschewski on January 13, 2014. (lw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MELVIN M. HELMS
CIVIL NO. 12-3158
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner
Social Security Administration
Plaintiff, Melvin Helms, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial
review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. On July 12, 2013, Plaintiff’s attorney
filed a Motion to Withdraw after Plaintiff reportedly severed communication with said attorney.
ECF No. 11. On July 16, 2013, counsel’s Motion was granted, and counsel was directed to provide
Plaintiff with a copy of the Order allowing counsel to withdraw. ECF No. 12. Further, he was
directed to provide the Court with proof of service. Plaintiff was given fourteen days (14) from the
date he received notice of counsel’s withdrawal to acquire new counsel or to advise the Court that
he would proceed pro se. The undersigned specifically stated that Plaintiff’s failure to comply with
said order within the required period of time would deem his complaint subject to summary
dismissal for failure to obey a court order.
Counsel provided proof of service on July 19, 2013, evidencing that the Plaintiff signed for
and received notification of counsel’s withdrawal on July 17, 2013, which included a copy of the
Court’s Order. ECF No. 13-1. The Court also provided Plaintiff with a copy of the Affidavit of
Service for the letter of withdrawal and Order on July 22, 2013. To date, however, the Court has
received no communication from Plaintiff or a newly appointed attorney on his behalf.
Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the involuntary dismissal of
a care for failure to prosecute or comply with a court order. Case law provides that a district court
may, in its discretion, dismiss an action on its own motion for failure to prosecute. Link v. Wabash
R. R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-632 (1962). The power to invoke this sanction is necessary to “prevent
undue delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid congestion.” Id. at 630.
Given the magnitude of the Social Security caseload in this district, we find that leaving
Plaintiff’s case on the docket, in spite of his failure to abide by the Order of this Court, would result
in further congestion. And, having given the Plaintiff ample notice of the possibility of dismissal,
we believe this remedy is warranted.
Accordingly, the undersigned directs that the case be dismissed with prejudice for failure to
prosecute pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
DATED this the 13th day of January 2014.
/s/ J. Marschewski
HONORABLE JAMES R. MARSCHEWSKI
CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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