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Robert Brown v. Los Angeles Police Department

April 30, 2013

ROBERT BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Stephen V. Wilson United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

I.

PROCEEDINGS

On January 29, 2013, pro se plaintiff Robert Brown filed a civil rights complaint in this Court against the Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD"). Plaintiff alleges he was wrongly arrested based on false allegations of fighting and also wrongly arrested for trespassing.

The Court issued its initial order in this case on February 1, 2013, in which the Court advised plaintiff that it was screening the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court also advised plaintiff that "plaintiff must immediately notify the court (and defendants or defendants' attorneys) of any change in plaintiff's address and the effective date. If plaintiff fails to keep the court informed of a correct mailing address, this case may be dismissed under Local Rule 41-6, which states as follows:

If mail directed by the Clerk to a pro se plaintiff's address of record is returned undelivered by the Postal Service, and if, within fifteen (15) days of the service date, such plaintiff fails to notify, in writing, the Court and opposing parties of his current address, the Court may dismiss the action with or without prejudice for want of prosecution."

In accordance with the terms of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), the Court screened the complaint for purposes of determining whether the action was frivolous or malicious, or failed to state a claim on which relief might be granted, or sought monetary relief against a defendant who was immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A(b). After careful review and consideration of the allegations of the complaint under the relevant standards, the Court found that its allegations were insufficient to state a federal civil rights claim. Specifically, the Court found: (1) the complaint failed to state a claim against the sole defendant, LAPD, because it failed to allege any acts by LAPD; (2) the complaint failed to state a claim pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1978); and (3) the complaint failed to state a claim for unlawful arrest. Accordingly, on March 4, 2013, the Court issued an order dismissing the complaint with leave to amend. If plaintiff wished to pursue this action, he was ordered to file a First Amended Complaint by April 3, 2013 curing the deficiencies discussed in the dismissal order. The order expressly admonished plaintiff that, if he failed to timely file a First Amended Complaint, the Court may recommend that this action be dismissed.

On March 15, 2013, the copy of the Court's March 4, 2013 order dismissing the complaint that was mailed to plaintiff at his address of record was returned to the Court as undeliverable. Accordingly, on March 19, 2013, the Court issued an order to show cause ("OSC"), ordering plaintiff to show cause in writing by April 2, 2013 why the complaint should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute and/or comply with a court order. The Court cautioned plaintiff that failure to timely file a response to the OSC may be deemed as consent to the dismissal of the action without prejudice. The copy of the OSC mailed to plaintiff at his address of record was also returned to the Court as undeliverable, on March 27, 2013.

Plaintiff failed to respond to the OSC by April 2, 2013 as ordered, and failed to file a First Amended Complaint by April 3, 2013. The Court has not received any response or other communication from plaintiff since the filing of the complaint.

II.

DISCUSSION

The original complaint filed by plaintiff herein suffers from the pleading deficiencies discussed in the Court's March 4, 2013 order dismissing the complaint with leave to amend. But when the Court attempted to apprise plaintiff of the complaint's deficiencies, the order dismissing the complaint with leave to amend was returned to the Court as undeliverable. Plaintiff has failed to file a First Amended Complaint remedying the original complaint's deficiencies. And plaintiff has failed to keep the Court informed of his current address, despite being directed to do so in the initial order sent to plaintiff just after he filed his complaint, so that the Court has no way to contact plaintiff. Further, plaintiff has failed to respond to the OSC by the deadline to do so, perhaps not surprisingly since the OSC was also returned as undeliverable. Plaintiff's failure to file a First Amended Complaint, to keep the Court apprised of his current address, or to respond to the Court's March 19, 2013 OSC, despite being admonished of the consequences, evidences a lack of prosecution on his part.

It is well established that a district court has authority to dismiss a plaintiff's action because of his or her failure to prosecute or to comply with court orders. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b); Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-30, 82 S. Ct. 1386, 8 L. Ed. 2d 734 (1962) (a court's authority to dismiss for lack of prosecution is necessary to prevent undue delays in the disposition of pending cases and to avoid congestion in the calendars of the district courts); Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 291 F.3d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 2002) (weighing factors); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir. 1992) (a district court may dismiss an action for failure to comply with any order of the court).

In Carey v. King, 856 F.2d 1439, 1441 (9th Cir. 1988), the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a case for failure to prosecute. The Ninth Circuit cited the following factors as relevant to the district court's determination of whether dismissal of a pro se plaintiff's action for failure to prosecute is warranted: "'(1) the public's interest in expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the court's need to manage its docket; (3) the risk of prejudice to the defendants; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their ...


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