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Constitutional – Due Process – Transcript Binding Removal – Prisons & Jails – STCA Claim

Constitutional – Due Process – Transcript Binding Removal – Prisons & Jails – STCA Claim

Lytle v. North Carolina Department of Public Safety (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-149-16, 8 pp.) (Mark Davis, J.) Appealed from the Industrial Commission. N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: The plaintiff-prisoner delayed proceedings in the Industrial Commission by refusing to accept a transcript because prison officials had removed its binding (without otherwise tampering with the transcript). Whether the transcript is bound or unbound has no impact on plaintiff’s access to the transcript, and plaintiff provides no legal authority or persuasive argument demonstrating that the removal of the binding violated his due process or other legal rights.

We affirm the Commission’s denial of plaintiff’s request for assistance/intervention and its dismissal of plaintiff’s claim for failure to prosecute.

Dismissal of plaintiff’s claim was an appropriate sanction for his failure to prosecute given that (1) plaintiff’s groundless refusal to accept the transcript and failure to file a Form T-44 or a brief — despite clearly being informed that he must do so within 25 days of receiving the transcript — unreasonably delayed the matter, (2) defendant was prejudiced by having to expend resources to litigate a tort claim for nearly three years that plaintiff ultimately failed to prosecute, and (3) there was no indication in the record that a disposition short of dismissal would suffice given plaintiff’s gamesmanship and unwillingness to abide by the Commission’s rules and pursue his claim.


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