United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant ARCO Environments, Inc.'s (ARCO)
motion (Doc. 22) for sanctions, requesting that the Court
dismiss Plaintiff Julie Ann Robinson's complaint for
failure to prosecute or comply with a Court order. Ms.
Robinson has not responded, and the time for filing a
response has passed. For the reasons set forth below,
ARCO's motion will be granted and this case dismissed
without prejudice to its refiling.
April 14, 2017, the Court entered an order (Doc. 20) granting
ARCO's motion to compel discovery (Doc. 18). ARCO's
motion to compel represented that on February 17, 2017 it
served a first set of interrogatories and requests for
production on Plaintiff, that responses were due on March 20,
2017, and that Plaintiff never responded despite numerous
email correspondences between the parties. (Doc. 19). The
Court ordered Plaintiff to respond to interrogatories by
April 27, 2017, and warned that "[f]ailure to respond
may result in dismissal of this action." (Doc. 20).
Plaintiff served Defendant with her responses on April 24,
2017, but her discovery responses were almost entirely devoid
of substance. (Doc. 23-1). Out of the 36 requests for
production, Plaintiff did not respond at all to eleven of
them. Of the remaining 25 requests for production, five
responses sought clarification of the request, six responses
simply said to "[s]ee" ARCO's own records or
the attached text messages, and ten responses consisted only
of the word "Object!" The responses to ARCO's
21 interrogatories offered similarly vague and unhelpful
answers. The longest singular response was nine words. On
April 28, 2017, defense counsel sent Plaintiff a letter
outlining the issues with Plaintiffs responses to the
discovery and provided her with the opportunity to supplement
her answers without intervention from the Court. (Doc. 23-2).
ARCO set a deadline for Plaintiff to respond at May 3, 2017.
From May 2 to May 4, 2017, Plaintiff and defense counsel
exchanged a number of emails, but Plaintiff never provided
any additional responses to the discovery. (Docs. 23-3,
23-4). ARCO then filed the immediate motion, requesting
dismissal of the action as an appropriate sanction.
pro se status does not excuse her from compliance with Court
orders or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See
Lindstedt v. City of Granby, 238 F.3d 993, 997 (8th Cir.
2000) ("A pro se litigant is bound by the litigation
rules as is a lawyer, particularly here with the fulfilling
of simple requirements of discovery."); see also
Escobar v. Cross, 2013 WL 709113, at *1 (E.D. Ark. Feb.
27, 2013) ("Pro se litigants are required to follow the
same rules of procedure, including the local court rules,
that govern other litigants."). Objections to
interrogatories or requests for production must state with
specificity the grounds for each objection. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 33(b)(4); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(B). Here, Ms.
Robinson has not complied with the Court's previous order
mandating her responses, and the answers provided are not in
conformity with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
district court has wide latitude in imposing sanctions for
failure to comply with discovery." Aziz v.
Wright, 34 F.3d 587, 589 (8th Cir. 1994). Rule 41(b)
allows the Court to dismiss a case "[i]f the plaintiff
fails to prosecute or to comply with [the Federal Rules] or a
court order." Similarly, Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(v) states that
the Court may dismiss the action where a party fails to obey
an order to provide discovery. Finally, a Court may dismiss
an action under Rule 37(d)(1)(A)(3) based on a party's
failure to serve answers or written responses to
interrogatories. See also 7 Moore's Federal
Practice (3d. ed.) § 37.90 ("Rule 37(d) makes
it abundantly clear that a party properly served has an
absolute duty to respond in some fashion, and that the court
in which the action is pending may enforce this obligation by
imposing potentially severe sanctions. In short, the purpose
of Rule 37(d) is to authorize courts to directly punish the
most blatant forms of discovery noncompliance, and to deter
such conduct in the future").
justify a sanction of dismissal, Rule 37 requires: (1) an
order compelling discovery; (2) a willful violation of that
order; and (3) prejudice to the other party." Sentis
Group, Inc., Coral Group, Inc. v. Shell Oil Co., 559
F.3d 888, 898 (8th Cir.2009). The Court's discretion to
impose a Rule 37 sanction is "bounded by the requirement
of Rule 37(b)(2) that the sanction be 'just' and
relate to the claim at issue in the order to provide
discovery." Hairston v. Alert Safety Light Products,
Inc., 307 F.3d 717, 719 (8th Cir. 2002) (citation
omitted). Rule 41(b) dismissal maybe appropriate where
Plaintiff has "acted intentionally as opposed to
accidentally or involuntarily." Doe v. Cassel,
403 F.3d 986, 990 (8th Cir. 2005). Failure to abide by court
order despite "a warning from the district court that
[Plaintiff] is skating on the thin ice of dismissal" can
establish willfulness. Rodgers v. Curators of Univ. of
Mo., 135 F.3d 1216, 1221 (8th Cir. 1998) (citation
omitted). Here, Plaintiff was warned in the Court's
previous discovery order granting the motion to compel that
"[f]ailure to respond may result in dismissal of this
action." (Doc. 20). Such a warning is sufficient for
dismissal on the basis of failure to prosecute or comply with
a Court order. See Rodgers, 135 F .3d at 1221;
see also Williams v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n ND,
2013 WL 4050749, at *2 (D. Minn. Aug. 9, 2013).
THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants' motion for sanctions
(Doc. 22) is GRANTED, and Plaintiff Julie Ann Robinson's
complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to its refiling.
 Local Rule 7.2(b) requires that a
response to a motion be filed within fourteen days, and
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(d) provides that a
responding party has three extra days to respond when a
motion is served by mail. The motion was filed on May 5,
2017. Ms. Robinson's response was thus due on May 22,
 Although Plaintiff did respond to
discovery, her responses were deficient and incomplete, and
despite having almost a month to fix the deficiencies or
supplement her incomplete ...