Rodriguez v. Curry County Detention Center
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER by District Judge James O. Browning dismissing without prejudice 1 Complaint. (arp)
Case 2:22-cv-00772-JB-KBM Document 4 Filed 01/19/23 Page 1 of 4
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
No. CIV 22-0772 JB/KBM
CURRY COUNTY DETENTION CENTER,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff Chris Rodriguez’s failure to
prosecute his Letter-Complaint Regarding Conditions of Confinement, filed October 17, 2022
(Doc. 1)(“Letter-Complaint”). The Honorable Karen Molzen, United States Magistrate Judge for
the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, directed Rodriguez to file a civil
complaint on the proper form and address the civil filing fee. See Order to Cure Deficiencies,
filed November 3, 2022 (Doc. 3)(“Cure Order”). Because Rodriguez has not complied with the
Cure Order, the Court, having reviewed applicable law and the record, will dismiss the LetterComplaint without prejudice.
Rodriguez was detained at the Curry County Detention Center. See Letter-Complaint at
2. He initiated this case on October 17, 2022, by filing the handwritten Letter-Complaint. See
Letter-Complaint at 1. The Letter-Complaint alleges that a fellow inmate attacked Rodriguez,
resulting in Rodriguez suffering a broken nose and two black eyes. See Letter-Complaint at 1.
The Court referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Molzen for recommended findings and
disposition, and to enter non-dispositive orders. See Order of Reference Relating to Prisoner
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Cases, filed November 2, 2022 (Doc. 2). Magistrate Judge Molzen entered the Cure Order on
November 3, 2022. See Cure Order at 1. The Cure Order explains:
The Letter[-Complaint] includes some factual allegations, but it does not identify
defendants or raise any causes of action. The Clerk’s Office will mail Plaintiff a
blank civil rights complaint along with a blank in forma pauperis motion. Plaintiff
must return the completed civil rights complaint within thirty (30) days of entry of
this Order. By the same deadline, Plaintiff must also prepay the $402 filing fee or,
alternatively, file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis along with an inmate
account statement reflecting transitions for a six-month period.
Cure Order at 1. The Cure Order warns that the failure to comply timely with both directives will
result in dismissal of this case without further notice. See Cure Order at 1.
The deadline to file a civil rights complaint on the proper form and address the civil filing
fee was December 3, 2022. See Cure Order at 1-2. Rodriguez has not complied, shown cause
for his noncompliance with the Cure Order, or otherwise responded to the Cure Order. The Court
will analyze whether to dismiss this case for failure to prosecute and to comply with Cure Order.
Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the involuntary dismissal of
an action “[i]f the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with the [Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure] or a court order.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b). See AdvantEdge Bus. Grp. v. Thomas E.
Mestmaker & Assocs., Inc., 552 F.3d 1233, 1236 (10th Cir. 2009)(“‘A district court undoubtedly
has discretion to sanction a party for failing to prosecute or defend a case, or for failing to comply
with local or federal procedural rules.’”)(quoting Reed v. Bennett, 312 F.3d 1190, 1195 (10th Cir.
2002)). As the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has explained, “the need to
prosecute one’s claim (or face dismissal) is a fundamental precept of modern litigation . . . .” See
Rogers v. Andrus Transp. Servs., 502 F.3d 1147, 1152 (10th Cir. 2007). “Although the language
of Rule 41(b) requires that the defendant file a motion to dismiss, the Rule has long been
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interpreted to permit courts to dismiss actions sua sponte for a plaintiff’s failure to prosecute or
comply with the rules of civil procedure or court’s orders.” Olsen v. Mapes, 333 F.3d 1199, 1204
n.3 (10th Cir. 2003).
“Dismissals pursuant to Rule 41(b) may be made with or without prejudice.” Davis v.
Miller, 571 F.3d 1058, 1061 (10th Cir. 2009). If dismissal is made without prejudice, “a district
court may, without abusing its discretion, enter such an order without attention to any particular
procedures.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, at Arapahoe Cty. Just. Ctr., 492 F.3d
1158, 1162 (10th Cir. 2016).
Because “[d]ismissing a case with prejudice, however, is a
significantly harsher remedy -- the death penalty of pleading punishments -- [the Tenth Circuit
has] held that, for a district court to exercise soundly its discretion in imposing such a result, it
must first consider certain criteria.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, at Arapahoe Cty.
Just. Ctr., 492 F.3d at 1162. Those criteria include: (i) the degree of actual prejudice to the
defendant; (ii) the amount of interference with the judicial process; (iii) the culpability of the
litigant; (iv) whether the court warned the party in advance that dismissal of the action would be a
likely sanction for noncompliance; and (v) the efficacy of lesser sanctions. Nasious v. Two
Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, at Arapahoe Cty. Just. Ctr., 492 F.3d at 1162 (citing Olsen v. Mapes,
333 F.3d at 1204).
Here, Rodriguez has not filed a pleading on the proper form or addressed the civil filing
fee, as 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and the Cure Order require. In light of these failures, the Court will
dismiss this case pursuant to rule 41(b) for failure to prosecute. See Olsen v. Mapes, 333 F.3d at
1204. The dismissal will be without prejudice, after considering the factors in Nasious v. Two
Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, at Arapahoe County Justice Center.
IT IS ORDERED that: (i) Plaintiff’s Letter-Complaint Regarding Conditions of
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Confinement, filed October 17, 2022 (Doc. 1), is dismissed without prejudice; and (ii) the Court
will enter a separate Final Judgment disposing of this case.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Clovis, New Mexico
Plaintiff Pro Se
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