United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION HON. MAGISTRATE JUDGE MARK
J. DINSMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
December 7, 2018, the Court scheduled this matter for a
settlement conference, and Claimant Christopher Glass was
ordered to appear in person. [Dkt. 51.] On April 15,
2019, the Court conducted the settlement conference, and Mr.
Glass failed to appear in person as ordered. [Dkt.
68.] On that same date, Court issued an Order setting a
show cause hearing for May 15, 2019 and ordered Mr. Glass to
appear in person to answer why he should not be sanctioned
for having failed to appear for the April 15, 2019 settlement
conference. [Dkt. 69.] The Court's order further
stated. “Failure to appear as ordered may result in
sanctions, including the recommendation that Mr. Glass's
claims be dismissed.” [Id. at 2.] On May 15,
2019, the Court held a hearing pursuant to its Order to Show
Cause, and Mr. Glass again failed to appear as ordered.
district court has the inherent authority to impose sanctions
on [a party] for the “willful disobedience of a court
order.” See Trzeciak v. Petrich, No.
2:10-CV-358-JTM-PRC, 2014 WL 5488439, at *1 (N.D. Ind. Oct.
29, 2014) (citing Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S.
32, 45 (1991)). This power is governed “not by rule or
statute but by the control necessarily vested in courts to
manage their own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and
expeditious disposition of cases.” Barnhill v.
U.S., 11 F.3d 1360, 1367 (7th Cir. 1993) (internal
quotation omitted). A court's inherent powers are to be
used “to reprimand the offender” and “to
deter future parties from trampling on the integrity of the
court.” Dotson v. Bravo, 321 F.3d 663, 668
(7th Cir. 2003)). The sanction imposed by a court
“should be proportionate to the gravity of the
offense.” Montaño v. City of Chicago,
535 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 2008).
Christopher Glass has repeatedly failed to comply with the
Court's orders by failing to appear as ordered for the
April 15, 2019 settlement conference [Dkt. 51] and
the May 15, 2019 show cause hearing [Dkt. 69].
litigants, pro se or otherwise, must abide by the
same rules and procedures of the courts. Litigants are
responsible for maintaining a current address with this Court
and remaining informed of updates to the case docket.
“The Court must be able to communicate with pro
se parties through the United States mail. [The
litigant] shall report any change of address to the Court, in
writing, within ten days of any change. The failure to keep
the Court informed of a current mailing address may result in
 dismissal . . . .” Flame-Bey v. Francum,
No. 1:18-cv-01032-TWP-DML, 2018 WL 2388657, at *2 (S.D. Ind.
May 25, 2018), see also Sprankle v. Wexford
Health Sources, No. 2:18-cv-00201-WTL-MJD, 2018 WL
2010453, at *3 (S.D. Ind. Apr. 30, 2018). A litigant is
responsible for maintaining communication with the Court and
cannot hide behind his or her own neglect by failing to
provide an effective means of contact regarding the case.
See, e.g., Buchanan v. Weaver, 657
Fed.Appx. 588 (7th Cir. 2016) (plaintiff was
“responsible for maintaining communication with the
court concerning his suit”). However, even without an
effective means of contact, the duty remains on the litigant
to monitor the court docket. Inattention to the docket is not
an excuse for failure of knowledge. It is the duty of counsel
“to monitor the docket and to advise himself when the
court enters an order against which he wishes to
protest.” Bardney v. U.S., 959 F.Supp. 515,
523 (N.D. Ill. 1997) (quoting Mennen Co. v.
Gillette Co., 719 F.2d 568, 570 (2d Cir. 1983)).
Neglecting to adequately monitor the court docket does not
provide justification for relief from a court's sanction.
standards set for counsel are expected of pro se
litigants. “Although pro se litigants get the benefit
of more generous treatment in some respects, they must
nonetheless follow the same rules of procedure that govern
other litigants.” Creative Gifts, Inc. v. UFO,
235 F.3d 540, 549 (10th Cir. 2000). “Trial courts
generally do not intervene to save litigants from their
choice of counsel, even when the lawyer loses the case
because he fails to file opposing papers. A litigant who
chooses himself as legal representative should be
treated no differently.” Jacobsen v. Filler,
790 F.2d 1362, 1364-65 (9th Cir. 1986) (emphasis in
original). Therefore, while pro se litigants are
given some leniency as to the substance of their pleadings,
all litigants must follow the same procedural requirements.
This includes notifying the Court of any address change,
monitoring case updates on the docket, and appearing before
the Court when ordered. Pro se litigants have chosen
to represent themselves, and in doing so, are held to the
same procedural requirements as legal counsel.
the Magistrate Judge recommends that Christopher Glass's
claims in this matter be dismissed for his repeated failures
to comply with the Court's orders, as well as for his
failure to keep the Court apprised of his current contact
objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation shall be filed with the Clerk in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), and
failure to timely file objections within fourteen days after
service of this Order shall ...