Waters v. Camacho

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge John Koeltl

Waters' in forma pauperis status was revoked in April. Payment of a $350 filing fee was extended, most recently to Sept. 28. That fee was not paid. Defendants sought dismissal, with prejudice, for noncompliance with payment orders. The receipt accompanying Waters' claim that he paid the fee on Sept. 21 showed the fee paid in a different case. Discussing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) and the considerations in Baffa v. Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp., the court dismissed Waters' complaint, without prejudice, for failure to prosecute. Three months elapsed since expiration of Waters' final extension of time to pay. Further, Waters was warned that nonpayment could result in dismissal for failure to prosecute. However, the Baffa considerations counseled against dismissal with prejudice. Defendants were minimally prejudiced by the delay in awaiting Waters' payment. Balancing Waters' due process rights against its efficiency needs, the court deemed itself minimally prejudiced. Thus, the lesser sanction of dismissal without prejudice appropriately balanced the right to due process and the need to clear the docket and avoid prejudice to defendants by retaining inactive lawsuits.

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