SANDERS v. NEWARK NJ POLICE DEPARTMENT 4TH DISTRICT
OPINION. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 10/5/17. (sr, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 15-7311 (JMV)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY POLICE
DEPARTMENT, FOURTH DISTRICT, et
Bayside State Prison
P.O. BOX F-1
Leesburg, NJ 08327
Plaintiff, pro se
WILSON DAVID ANTOINE
City of Newark- Corporation Counsel's Office
Law Department, Civil Litigation
920 Broad Street, Room 316
Counsel for Defendant
Plaintiff was incarcerated in Bayside State Prison when he filed this civil rights action on
October 5, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) The Court terminated the action for failure to pay the filing fee or
submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF Nos.
2, 3.) After Plaintiff submitted a properly completed IFP application, the Complaint was filed and
served. (ECF Nos. 7-14.) Defendants answered the Complaint, and discovery commenced. (ECF
Nos. 17, 22, 23.) On January 27, 2017, counsel for Defendants Detective Jeffrey Bouie, Sergeant
Dwayne Marshall, and Captain Jose Gonzalez (“the Police Defendants”) informed the Court that
Plaintiff had contacted him concerning discovery. (ECF No. 22.) Plaintiff was in a halfway house
and expected to be released on March 7, 2017. (Id.)
On March 6, 2017, the Police Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No.
24.) Plaintiff’s response to the motion was due on March 20, 2017, but he failed to respond. On
March 15, 2017, mail that the Court sent to Plaintiff at Bayside State Prison was returned stamped
“REFUSED. UNABLE TO FORWARD.” (ECF No. 25.)
Plaintiff has not provided the Court with his new address.
Local Civil Rule 10.1(a) provides, in relevant part:
unrepresented parties must advise the Court of any change in their .
. . address within seven days . . . of such change by filing a notice of
said change with the Clerk. Failure to file a notice of change may
result in the imposition of sanctions by the Court.
Dismissing a Plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice is an appropriate remedy for
noncompliance with this rule. See Archie v. Dept. of Corr., Civ. No. 12-2466 (RBK/JS), 2015 WL
333299, at *1 (D.N.J. Jan. 23, 2015) (collecting cases).
Mail sent to Plaintiff’s last known address was returned. To date, Plaintiff has not informed
the Court of his new address. When dismissing an action as a sanction, a court should weigh the
(1) the extent of the party's personal responsibility; (2) the prejudice
to the adversary caused by the failure to meet scheduling orders and
respond to discovery; (3) a history of dilatoriness; (4) whether the
conduct of the party or the attorney was willful or in bad faith; (5)
the effectiveness of sanctions other than dismissal, which entails an
analysis of alternative sanctions; and (6) the meritoriousness of the
claim or defense.
Poulis v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 747 F.2d 863, 868 (3rd Cir. 1984).
Extent of the Party’s Personal Responsibility
Plaintiff, as an unrepresented litigant, is solely responsible for providing the Court with his
Prejudice to the Adversary
The Police Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in March 2017, and Plaintiff
failed to file an opposition to the motion. Defendants are prejudiced by the delay caused by
Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the motion for summary judgment.
History of Dilatoriness
Plaintiff does not have a history of dilatoriness.
Whether the Conduct of the Party Was Willful or in Bad Faith
The length of time since Plaintiff contacted the Court after his release, and the fact that
discovery was completed and dispositive motions were pending suggest that Plaintiff acted in bad
faith by not providing the Court with his new address.
Effectiveness of Alternative Sanctions
Sanctions other than dismissal will not be effective because the Court cannot communicate
any sanctions to Plaintiff without his current mailing address.
The Merits of the Claims or Defenses
The final factor to consider is whether the Plaintiff’s claims have merit. The Police
Defendants have filed an unopposed motion for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff’s claims
of excessive force should be dismissed because Plaintiff admitted he did not incur his injuries at
the hands of the Police Defendants. (ECF No. 24-7 at 4.) Weighing all of the factors, dismissal
as a sanction is warranted in this case.
In the accompanying Order filed herewith, this Court dismisses this action without
prejudice, pursuant to Local Civil Rule 10.1.
s/ John Michael Vazquez
JOHN MICHAEL VAZQUEZ
United States District Judge
Date: October 5, 2017
At Newark, New Jersey
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