United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
STEVEN DESMON THOMPSON, (BOP Registration No. 48306-177), Movant,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KINKEADE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Steven Desmon Thompson, a federal prisoner, proceeding
pro se, has filed two 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion
forms, neither of which assert any claims for postconviction
relief. See Dkt. Nos. 2 & 4. Because he has not
alleged any claims for relief, and has twice failed to comply
with this Court's orders to do so, the Court
DISMISSES this action without prejudice.
filed a form motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
federal sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See
Dkt. No. 2. But his motion did not state any grounds for
relief, or any facts supporting those grounds, as required by
Rule 2(b)(1), (2) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 cases.
See Dkt. No. 2 at 7-8. The Court thus ordered
Thompson to file an amended Section 2255 motion that included
his grounds for relief and any facts in support of those
grounds. See Dkt. No. 3.
Thompson filed an amended Section 2255 motion, he again
failed to include any grounds for relief or supporting facts.
See Dkt. No. 4 at 7-8. On April 13, 2017, the Court
again ordered Thompson to file an amended Section 2255
motion, including his grounds for relief and the facts in
support of each ground. See Dkt. No. 6. The Court
ordered Thompson to file his amended motion within thirty
days and explicitly admonished him that if he failed to do
so, this action would be dismissed. See Id. at 1
(“If Movant does not state any grounds for relief, the
motion to vacate will be dismissed for failure to allege any
grounds for relief” and for failure to comply with the
Court's order). Although Thompson's amended Section
2255 motion was due in May 2017, he has not filed it or
otherwise contacted the Court.
Standards and Analysis
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), “a district
court may dismiss an action sua sponte if the
plaintiff fails to comply with court orders.”
Nottingham v. Warden, Bill Clements Unit, 837 F.3d
438, 440 (5th Cir. 2016) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b);
McCullough v. Lynaugh, 835 F.2d 1126, 1127 (5th Cir.
1988) (per curiam)). Under the same rule, a district court
also “may sua sponte dismiss an action for
failure to prosecute.” Rosin v. Thaler, 450 F.
App'x 383, 383-84 (5th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citations
omitted)). Such authority “flows from the court's
inherent power to control its docket and prevent undue delays
in the disposition of pending cases.” Boudwin v.
Graystone Ins. Co., Ltd., 756 F.2d 399, 401 (5th Cir.
1985) (citing Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626
41(b) dismissal may be with or without prejudice. See
Long v. Simmons, 77 F.3d 878, 879-80 (5th Cir. 1996).
Although “[l]esser sanctions such as fines or dismissal
without prejudice are usually appropriate before dismissing
with prejudice, . . . a Rule 41(b) dismissal is appropriate
where there is ‘a clear record of delay or contumacious
conduct by the plaintiff and when lesser sanctions would not
serve the best interests of justice.'”
Nottingham, 837 F.3d at 441 (quoting Bryson v.
United States, 553 F.3d 402, 403 (5th Cir. 2008) (per
curiam) (in turn quoting Callip v. Harris Cnty. Child
Welfare Dep't, 757 F.2d 1513, 1521 (5th Cir.
1985))); see also Long, 77 F.3d at 880 (a dismissal
with prejudice is appropriate only if the failure to comply
with the court order was the result of purposeful delay or
contumacious conduct and the imposition of lesser sanctions
would be futile); cf. Nottingham, 837 F.3d at 442
(noting that “lesser sanctions” may
“‘include assessments of fines, costs, or damages
against the plaintiff, conditional dismissal, dismissal
without prejudice, and explicit warnings.'”)
(quoting Thrasher v. City of Amarillo, 709 F.3d 509,
514 (5th Cir. 2013))).
all rules in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 41(b)
generally applies to Section 2255 proceedings. See
Rule 12, Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the
United States District Courts; see, e.g., Brown
v. United States, Nos. A-11-CA-155 LY, (A-04-CR-268 LY),
2011 WL 1899790 (W.D. Tex. May 19, 2011) (dismissing motion
the court recharacterized as one under Section 2255 after
issuance of Castro warnings without prejudice under
Rule 41(b), after noting that “[i]t is . . . well
established that ‘[a] district court sua
sponte may dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or
to comply with any court order'” (quoting
Larson v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1030, 1031 (5th Cir.
Thompson has twice failed to comply with the Court's
order. And, because he has not filed a Section 2255 motion
that includes any grounds for relief, he has made it
impossible for this case to proceed. He has thus failed to
prosecute his case and to obey this Court's orders. A
Rule 41 (b) dismissal of this case without prejudice is
warranted under these circumstances, and the Court concludes
that lesser sanctions would be futile. The Court is not
required to delay the disposition of this case until such
time as Thompson decides comply with the Court's orders.
foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that this action is hereby
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil ...