Marcure v. Lynn, No. 19-2978 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Marcure sued police officers and others. Before the officers moved to dismiss, Marcure filed notice of an address change from Arizona to Illinois. The court mailed notices, including notices of the motion to dismiss, to the Illinois address; these notices were returned as undeliverable. Based on the returned documents, the court ordered Marcure to show cause why his case should not be dismissed due to his failure to keep the court apprised of his address. Marcure provided notice of a post-office box days later and filed a response to the officers’ motion, nearly a month late and lacking a signature. The court excused the late filing but warned that it would strike the response under FRCP 11(a) if Marcure did not correct the signature deficiency within six days. Marcure filed timely, signed responses to the prosecutors' motions to dismiss but did not correct his unsigned response to the officers’ motion. One week after the deadline to correct that response, the court struck Marcure’s response, then dismissed the claims against the officers solely because their motion was unopposed.
The Seventh Circuit reversed. While Rule 11(a) requires striking unsigned pleadings, Rule 12(b)(6) requires courts to address the merits of motions to dismiss and any local rule to the contrary is invalid under Rule 83(a)(1). The rule places the burden on the movant to show entitlement to dismissal; courts must address the merits of Rule 12(b)(6) motions even when they are unopposed.