Williams v. Department of Children and Family Services State of Louisiana et al
OPINION: IT IS ORDERED that the 16 , 22 motions requesting leave to submit evidence into the record are DISMISSED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the 17 motion apparently requesting oral argument is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff' s apparent 19 motion for summary judgment is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS PREMATURE. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the 25 motions for default judgment and 26 for final judgment are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as set forth in document. Signed by Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle on 3/9/2017. (mmv)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
GARLAND E. WILLIAMS
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY
SERVICES STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL.
Before the Court are several motions filed by pro se Plaintiff
Garland Williams, including a “Leave of Affidavit-Writ Motion of
Evidence Submittal Request” (Rec. Doc. 16), “Leave of Affidavit
Affidavit-Writ Motions for Summary Judgment/on the Oral Argument
Decree” (Rec. Doc. 19), “Leave of Affidavit-Writ Motion of Evidence
Submittal Request” (Rec. Doc. 22), “Leave of Affidavit-Writ Motion
Affidavit-Writ Motions for Final Judgment” (Rec. Doc. 26).
Plaintiff filed his complaint on October 25, 2016. Rec. Doc.
1. On October 28, 2016, he issued summonses for each Defendant,
the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”),
Marketa Garner Wlaters (Secretary of the DCFS), and Mandy Pierre
(an employee of the DCFS). Rec. Doc. 4. On February 2, 2017,
counsel for Defendants filed a motion to enroll, which was promptly
granted. Rec. Docs. 23-24. Nonetheless, several of the motions
recited above (Rec. Docs. 16, 17, 19, and 22) were filed by
Plaintiff before Defendants appeared in the case. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that the motions requesting leave to submit
evidence into the record
Plaintiff seeks to admit several exhibits, including, for example,
an exhibit and witness list; a Taco Bell pay stub; an affidavit of
arrearages listing the support that Plaintiff owed to Latayia
Johnson from 2009 through 2016; service of process receipts; a
withholding statement from Wal-Mart. See Rec. Doc. 16-2. It is
unclear to the Court the purposes for which these documents were
submitted; however, those attached to his first motion were filed
the same day that Plaintiff filed his “Leave of Affidavit-Writ
Motions for Summary Judgment/on the Oral Argument Decree.” See
Rec. Doc. 19. Even assuming that Plaintiff sought to attach these
documents in support of his motion for summary judgment or to
supplement that motion, his motion for summary judgment is denied
without prejudice below.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion apparently requesting
oral argument (Rec. Doc. 17) is DENIED. The motion refers to
Plaintiff’s amended complaint
(Rec. Doc. 18), as well as to
Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 19). To the
extent the motion requests oral argument on Plaintiff’s amended
complaint, it is inappropriate; to the extent it requests oral
argument on the motion for summary judgment, it is denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s apparent motion for
summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 19) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS
PREMATURE. “Even though the motion is technically timely under
[Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 56, Courts are permitted to
dismiss such a motion without prejudice if it is filed before any
party answers.” Kuperman v. ICF Int’l, No. 08-565, 2008 WL 647557,
at *1 (E.D. La. Mar. 5, 2008) (citing 10A CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, ET
AL., FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 2717, at 298-99 (1998)); see
also Gonzalez v. Seal, No. 09-7707, 2010 WL 1717111, at *2 (E.D.
La. Mar. 31, 2010), report and recommendation adopted, 2010 WL
1729402 (E.D. La. Apr. 26, 2010). The motion was filed before
Defendants appeared in the case, presumably before discovery was
exchanged, before a scheduling conference pursuant to Rule 16 has
been ordered, and before Defendants answered.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motions for default judgment
(Rec. Doc. 25) and for final judgment (Rec. Doc. 26) are DISMISSED
judgment must proceed through two steps. First, the plaintiff must
move for an entry of default, which is simply “a notation of the
party’s default on the clerk’s record of the case.” Dow Chem. Pac.
Ltd. v. Rascator Mar. S.A., 782 F.2d 329, 335 (2d Cir. 1986).
Before the clerk may enter a default, the plaintiff must show “by
affidavit or otherwise” that the defendant “failed to plead or
otherwise defend . . . .” FED. R. CIV. P. 55(a). Second, after a
default has been entered, the plaintiff may move for a default
judgment. FED. R. CIV. P. 55(b). However, according to the Fifth
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are designed for
the just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of cases
on their merits, not for the termination of litigation
by procedural maneuver. Default judgments are a drastic
remedy, not favored by the Federal Rules and resorted to
by courts only in extreme situations.
Sun Bank of Ocala v. Pelican Homestead & Sav. Ass’n, 874 F.2d 274,
276 (5th Cir. 1989) (emphasis added). Consequently, “[a] party is
not entitled to a default judgment as a matter of right, even where
the defendant is technically in default” (Ganther v. Ingle, 75
F.3d 207, 212 (5th Cir. 1996)) and “the entry of [a] default
judgment is committed to the discretion of the district judge”
(Mason v. Lister, 562 F.2d 343, 345 (5th Cir. 1977)). Here, a
preliminary default has not been entered against Defendants, so
entry of a default judgment or final judgment would be premature.
It is incredibly difficult to comprehend Plaintiff’s motions.
In fact, it is sometimes impossible to understand the relief that
Plaintiff is requesting. It appears that many of his motions may
irrelevant statutes and contain superfluous
language. Even though briefs submitted by pro se parties will be
construed liberally, the Court cannot “invent, out of whole cloth,
novel arguments on behalf of a pro se plaintiff in the absence of
meaningful, albeit imperfect, briefing.” Orrill v. Mortg. Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc., No. 06-10012, 2010 WL 2696965, at *2 (E.D.
La. July 1, 2010) (citations omitted). On that note, Plaintiff is
again reminded that “pro se litigants, like all other parties,
‘must abide by’ the rules that govern the federal courts.” Frazier
v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 541 F. App’x 419, (5th Cir. 2013)
(citing United States v. Wilkes, 20 F.3d 651, 653 (5th Cir. 1994)).
Further, the filing of numerous frivolous and unnecessary motions
may lead to sanctions. See, e.g. United States v. Odeh, 185 F.
App’x 346, 346-47 (5th Cir. 2006) (unpublished) (where a pro se
defendant “filed numerous frivolous and unnecessary motions,”
including motions suggesting that a judge and the court’s clerk
were deceitful and manipulative, and was consequently ordered to
show cause why he should not be sanctioned).
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 9th day of March, 2017.
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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