United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a motion for sanctions filed by defendants Kevin
Kelly, Garrison Williams, and Michael Stewart
(“Defendants”). [doc. # 83]. The motion is
unopposed. For reasons detailed below, it is recommended that
the motion be GRANTED and Plaintiff's
claims be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Clay Riggs, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
is an inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of
Corrections. He filed the instant lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants, prison
officials in the facility in which Riggs is housed, used
excessive force and retaliated against him. [doc. # 22].
September 10, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to depose
Riggs. [doc. # 67]. The Court granted the motion and ordered
Riggs to “answer the questions presented to him during
the course of the deposition.” [doc. # 68]. The Court
also instructed Riggs that “should he fail to answer
questions posed to him during the course of his deposition he
may be subject to penalties as allowed by law, including the
dismissal of his suit.” (Id.)
deposition was scheduled for September 24, 2018. On that day,
Riggs appeared for his deposition but refused to answer
questions about his criminal history and insisted he was
being held against his will. [doc. # 80-4]. Due to Rigg's
lack of cooperation, Defendants filed a motion for sanctions,
requesting that the Court order Riggs to pay the costs
associated with his deposition and either dismiss his suit or
instruct him that his suit will be dismissed if he fails to
cooperate in discovery. [doc. # 80-1 at 4].
January 23, 2019, the Court declined to dismiss Riggs'
suit or impose a monetary sanction but admonished him that
“his failure to respond to opposing counsel's
questions was unacceptable” and ordered that “he
shall appear for his deposition at a time and place set forth
by Defendants and answer questions fully and to the best of
his knowledge. Plaintiff's failure to comply with this
Order will result in the Court recommending that his case be
dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 and/or 41(b).”
[doc. # 82].
15, 2019, Defendants filed the instant motion for sanctions.
[doc. # 83]. Defendants claim that following the Court's
Order, they attempted to contact Riggs to schedule a new
deposition date. [doc. # 83-1 at 1-2]. Their first letter to
Plaintiff was unclaimed and returned to sender on March 1,
2019, and their second letter was delivered on March 18,
2019. (Id.); [see docs. # 83-2-83-3].
Despite receiving the letter, Riggs has not responded to
Defendants. [doc. # 83-1 at 2].
also note that Riggs has failed to file a pretrial memorandum
as required by the Court's November 27, 2018 Order, [doc.
# 79]. Defendants provided Riggs with the exhibits they
intend to introduce at trial, [see doc. # 83-4], but
Riggs has not reciprocated. [doc. # 83-1 at 2]. “Based
on Riggs' blatant refusal to follow this Court's
Orders, Defendants seek the final sanction of dismissal, with
full prejudice.” (Id.).
has not filed a response to Defendants' motion.
Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b) authorizes a court to impose
sanctions, including dismissing an action, if a party fails
to comply with a court's order to “be sworn or to
answer a question” or “provide or permit
discovery.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(1)-(2). Likewise, a
court may dismiss an action on defendant's motion if
“the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with
these rules or a court order.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b).
se litigants are not exempt from compliance with the rules of
procedure.” Miguez v. Ackal, No. 6:
16-CV-00213, 2017 WL 2581060, at *3 (W.D. La. May 22, 2017)
(quoting Beard v. Experian Info. Sols. Inc., 214
Fed.Appx. 459, 462 (5th Cir. 2007)). Thus, even an individual