Carpenter v. City of Flint, No. 12-2240 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Carpenter sued Flint, a councilwoman and the mayor, based on Carpenter’s termination from his position as Director of Transportation, asserting age and political discrimination, breach of contract, wrongful discharge, gross negligence, defamation, and invasion of privacy. Defendants argued that the complaint failed to identify which claims were alleged against which defendants, and that the allegations were “excessively esoteric, compound and argumentative.” Carpenter did not respond by the court’s deadline, and about five weeks later, a stipulated order entered, permitting Carpenter to file an amended complaint by April 21, 2011. Counsel manually filed an amended complaint on May 20, 2011, violating a local rule requiring electronic filing. The clerk accepted the filing, but issued a warning. Carpenter failed to timely respond to a renewed motion to strike. Carpenter responded to a resulting show-cause order, but failed to abide by local rules. Another warning issued. Carpenter’s response to a second show-cause order was noncompliant. The court warned that “future failure to comply … will not be tolerated.” After more than five months without docket activity, the court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Defendants bore some responsibility for delays and the length of delay does not establish the kind of conduct or clear record warranting dismissal; lesser sanctions were appropriate.