United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Express Scripts
Services Company's (“Express Scripts” or
“Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 117].
Defendant moves the Court to dismiss Plaintiff Obed
Brown's (“Brown” or “Plaintiff”)
case with prejudice based on her failure to comply with Court
Orders and her discovery obligations. Plaintiff, acting
pro se, opposes Defendant's motion. For the
following reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's
motion and dismiss Plaintiff's case with prejudice.
initially filed her Complaint against Express Scripts on
March 9, 2017. Plaintiff was formerly employed by Express
Scripts from October 2013 until December 2015.
Plaintiff's pro se Complaint alleged that
Defendant discriminated against her based on her sex and in
retaliation. Plaintiff also alleged various other claims,
including, criminal claims, discrimination based on sexual
orientation or gender identity, race, black listing, and gang
stalking. Plaintiff alleged damages of wrongful termination,
poverty, housing loss, hospitalization due to “severe
mental torture” by Express Scripts, ruined character,
hindrance of medical treatment for gender identity disorder,
black listing, and gang stalking. Following a partial motion
to dismiss by Defendant, most of Plaintiff's claims were
dismissed, leaving only the sex discrimination/harassment and
1, 2018, Defendant served Plaintiff with written discovery
including interrogatories, requests for production including
medical and employment records authorizations, and requests
for admission. Plaintiff served Defendant with her answers to
interrogatories and responses to requests for admission on
May 30, and her responses to request for production on June
3. For most of her responses and answers, Plaintiff declined
to respond or asserted privileges and objections that were
irrelevant or unsupported. Defendant, asserting that
Plaintiff's responses were “severely deficient,
” filed a Motion to Compel on June 20, 2018. On July
12, the Court granted Defendant's Motion to Compel
Responses to Its Interrogatories and Requests for Production
and Motion to Deem Its Requests for Admission Admitted.
filed a Motion for Sanctions on August 2 based on
Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's July
12 Order. On August 15, the Court ordered Plaintiff to
provide complete responses to Defendant's first set of
interrogatories and requests for production within 14 days,
and warned Plaintiff that failure to comply would result in
Plaintiff's Complaint being stricken and dismissed.
Plaintiff filed new responses to interrogatories on August
24, 2018. Again, Plaintiff refused to sufficiently respond to
interrogatories, and refused to provide signed medical and
employment record authorizations. Defendant filed a
Memorandum to the Court on August 30 requesting that the
Court strike Plaintiff's Complaint and dismiss this
action. On September 7, Defendant filed a Supplemental Motion
for Sanctions for Plaintiff's failure to comply with the
filed a Motion to Compel production of documents from
Defendant on August 24. The Court denied that Motion, noting
Plaintiff's failure to comply with local rule 37-3.04,
which requires a party to attempt in good faith to resolve
discovery disputes with opposing counsel before filing a
motion to compel.
was required to be completed 60 days after Plaintiff provided
the executed medical and employment authorizations, and the
dispositive motion filing was to be completed within 84 days
after Plaintiff provided the authorizations.
January 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed purported executed
authorizations with the Court. However, Plaintiff wrote on
each signed authorization that she was signing “against
[her] free will and liberty, ” rendering the
authorization forms ineffective. Defendant attempted to use
the forms as provided to obtain medical records, but was
denied. Defendant filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on
February 26, 2019. Plaintiff filed a response, Defendant
filed a reply, and Plaintiff filed a surreply.
requests that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims with
prejudice pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 37 authorizes the district courts to impose
sanctions upon parties who fail to comply with discovery
orders, but dismissal may be considered as a sanction only if
there is (1) an order compelling discovery, (2) a willful
violation of that order, and (3) prejudice to the other
party. Schoffstall v. Henderson, 223 F.3d 818, 823
(8th Cir.2000). A dismissal with prejudice is “an
extreme sanction, ” and “should be used only in
cases of willful disobedience of a court order or where a
litigant exhibits a pattern of intentional delay.”
Hunt v. City of Minneapolis, 203 F.3d 524, 527 (8th
Cir.1999). “This does not mean that the district court
must find that the appellant acted in bad faith, but requires
‘only that [she] acted intentionally as opposed to
accidentally or involuntarily.'” Hunt, 203
F.3d at 527 (citing Rodgers v. University of Mo.,
135 F.3d 1216, 1219 (8th Cir.1998)).
se litigants are not excused from complying with court
orders or substantive or procedural law. Farnsworth v.
City of Kansas City, 863 F.2d 33, 34 (8th Cir.1988) (per
curiam). Where a court gives meaningful notice of what is
expected of the pro se litigants, initially imposes
less stringent sanctions when they fail to cooperate, and
warns them that their failure to comply with subsequent court
orders would result in “dismissal of their action,
” dismissal is proper.
imposing the sanction of dismissal, “fairness requires
a court to consider whether a lesser sanction is available or
appropriate.” Keefer v. Provident Life and Acc.
Ins. Co., 238 F.3d 937, 941 (8th Cir.2000). A district
court, however, need not impose the least onerous sanction
available, but the most appropriate under the circumstances.
Id. Also, when a litigant's conduct
“abuses the judicial process, the remedy of dismissal
is within the inherent powers of the court.”
case, the Court finds Plaintiff has willfully disregarded the
Court's orders. Plaintiff was ordered to respond to
Defendant's interrogatories and requests for production
on July 12, 2018 and August 15, 2018. In the written order
dated August ...