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Fields v. Strom Engineering Corp.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 11, 2018

Terra Fields, Plaintiff,
v.
Strom Engineering Corp., Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          The Honorable Leo I. Brisbois United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to an Order of Referral, [Docket No, 29], and upon Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Involuntary Dismissal, [Docket No. 22]. The Undersigned held a hearing on the Motion on December 11, 2017, after which the Motion was taken under advisement. (Minute Entry, [Docket No. 32]).

         For the reasons set forth below, the Undersigned recommends that Plaintiffs Complaint be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute.

         I. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Plaintiff Terra Fields initiated this action pro se in Hennepin County District Court on February 3, 2017, by mailing a copy of a Complaint to Defendant Strom Engineering Corporation. (Notice of Removal, Exh. A, [Docket No. 1-1], 1-6). Defendant is a Minnesota Corporation with its principle executive office in Hennepin County; Defendant provides temporary staffing services throughout the United States. - (Id. at 1-2). Plaintiff resides in Mississippi and is a former employee of Defendant. (Id.).

         Plaintiffs Complaint alleges that after she. prevailed in a previous lawsuit against Defendant, it then engaged in unlawful retaliation against her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it also engaged in unlawful reprisal in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act ("MHRA"). (IcL at 3-4). In addition, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant falsely reported income to the IRS, which led to a tax lien being placed on Plaintiffs home. (Id. at 1-3). Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, compensatory damages, treble damages under the MHRA, attorney's fees and costs, and declaratory judgment. (Id. at 4).

         On February 28, 2017, Defendant removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, and Defendant filed its Answer. ([Docket Nos. 1 and 3]). The same day, Defendant mailed a copy of the removal documents to Plaintiff at her address in Mississippi. ([Docket No. 5).

         On May 3, 2017, the Undersigned held a Pretrial Conference, which Plaintiff did not attend. ([Docket No. 11]).

         On May 5, 2017, the Undersigned issued the Pretrial Scheduling Order. ([Docket No. 12]).

         On May 15, 2017, Defendant served Plaintiff by United States Mail with its First Requests for Production of Documents. (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 1, 3; Viksnins Aff., [Docket No, 16], 1, 3-7). The same day, Defendant also sent Plaintiff a partially completed form (Tax Form 8821) authorizing the IRS to release her tax returns to Defendant; Defendant asked that Plaintiff sign and date the form and return it. (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 2, 4; Viksnins Aff, Exh. 1, [Docket No. 16-1], 2, 8).

         Plaintiff did not respond to the discovery requests, communicate with defense counsel, provide any documents, or sign the authorization form. (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 2, 4). Plaintiff also has not served Defendant with any written discovery requests. (Id. at 3).

         On June 22, 2017, defense counsel sent Plaintiff a letter noting her failure to provide discovery responses, explaining the relevance of the requested discovery, and stating that if Defendant did not receive the requested documents by July 3, 2017, Defendant would bring a motion to compel. (Id. at 4; Viksnins Aff., Exh, 2, [Docket No, 16-1], 11-12). The letter also asked Plaintiff to inform defense counsel if she no longer intended to pursue the case, and if such was the case, defense counsel would prepare a stipulation of dismissal. (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 4; Viksnins Aff., Exh. 2, [Docket No. 16-1], 11-12). Plaintiff has not responded to this letter or communicated with defense counsel in any other way. (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 4).

         On July 11, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Discovery, [Docket No. 13], asking the Court to order Plaintiff to produce responsive documents and a signed copy of the tax authorization form within 14 days of the Court's Order, (Mem., [Docket No. 15], 5-6).

         On July 12, 2017, the Undersigned issued an Order instructing Plaintiff to file and serve her response to the Motion to Compel by no later than July 19, 2017, and the Court scheduled a Hearing on the Motion. ([Docket No. 18]). Plaintiff did not respond, and she did not appear at ...


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