Grogg v. Clark et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss [Doc. 40] is GRANTED and this action will be DISMISSED for failure to prosecute. Signed by District Judge J Ronnie Greer on 01/12/2017. (C/M to pro se Plaintiff) (AMP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
WENDALL CLARK, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This is a prisoner’s pro se civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On December
7, 2016, Plaintiff was ordered to show cause as to why the Court should not grant summary
judgment in favor of Defendants [Doc. 38]. Plaintiff’s copy of that order, which was mailed to
him at his last known address of Sullivan County Detention Center, P.O. Box 610, Blountville,
Tennessee 37617, was returned undeliverable on January 3, 2017, with the notation “no longer at
this facility” [Doc. 39]. On January 5, 2017, Defendants filed a “motion to dismiss for failure to
notify the Court of address changes and failure to maintain a valid address” [Doc. 40].
A plaintiff has an affirmative duty to notify the Court of any change in address. See
Barber v. Runyon, 1994 WL 163765, at *1 (6th Cir. May 2, 1994) (“If [pro se plaintiff’s] address
changed, she had an affirmative duty to supply the court with notice of any and all changes in her
address.”); see also Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 109 (6th Cir. 1991) (“[W]hile pro se litigants
may be entitled to some latitude when dealing with sophisticated legal issues . . . there is no
cause for extending this margin to straightforward procedural requirements that a layperson can
comprehend.”); Walker v. Cognis Oleo Chem., LLC, 2010 WL 717275, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 26,
2010) (“By failing to keep the court apprised of his current address, petitioner demonstrates a
lack of prosecution of his action.”). Local Rule 83.13 not only requires pro se litigants, such as
Plaintiff, to file a written notice with the Clerk, but also requires written notice to be given to all
parties, within fourteen (14) days of any change of address.
A plaintiff’s failure to supply the Court with an updated address subjects the action to
dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) (providing for
dismissal where “the plaintiff fails to prosecute”); see also Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626,
630-31 (1962) (recognizing court’s authority to dismiss a case sua sponte for lack of
prosecution); White v. City of Grand Rapids, 34 F. App’x 210, 211 (6th Cir. 2002) (finding pro
se prisoner’s complaint “was subject to dismissal for want of prosecution because he failed to
keep the district court apprised of his current address”). The Court forewarned Plaintiff that
failure to notify the Court of any address change within fourteen (14) days will result in the
dismissal of this lawsuit for failure to prosecute under Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure [Doc. 4, at 7].
The Court finds that Plaintiff failed to provide the Court with an updated address and
failed to monitor his case electronically. The Court, therefore, has no way to communicate with
Plaintiff about his case. The Court has no way of knowing a litigant’s mailing address except by
checking the address provided by the litigant and filed on the docket. Any problems arising from
an inability to communicate with Plaintiff is directly attributed to Plaintiff’s failure to update the
docket. Based on Plaintiff’s previous communication with the Court updating his address [see
Doc. 34, Notice of Change of Address], the Court finds that Plaintiff was aware of his duty to
keep the Court updated as to his whereabouts.
Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss [Doc. 40] is GRANTED and this action will
be DISMISSED for failure to prosecute.
AN APPROPRIATE ORDER WILL ENTER.
s/J. RONNIE GREER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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