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Barger v. Turpin

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 5, 2014

GARY DALE BARGER, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT TURPIN, Defendant.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO FOLLOW COURT ORDER AND FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Gary Dale Barger ("Plaintiff") is a California state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on November 12, 2013. The action was transferred to this Court on November 18, 2013.

On November 21, 2013, the Court issued an order directing Plaintiff to either file an application to proceed in forma pauperis, or pay the filing fee, within 45 days of the date of service of the order.

On December 16, 2013, the order, along with other documents that the Court had sent to Plaintiff, were returned by the United States Postal Office as "Undeliverable, Return to Sender, not Deliverable as Addressed."

Plaintiff has not filed a notice of change of address pursuant to Local Rule 183(b), and he has not otherwise been in contact with the Court.

Plaintiff is required to keep the Court apprised of his current address at all times, and Local Rule 183(b) provides, "If mail directed to a plaintiff in propria persona by the Clerk is returned by the U.S. Postal Service, and if such plaintiff fails to notify the Court and opposing parties within sixty-three (63) days thereafter of a current address, the Court may dismiss the action without prejudice for failure to prosecute." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) also provides for dismissal of an action for failure to prosecute.[1]

Local Rule 110 provides that "failure of counsel or of a party to comply with these Local Rules or with any order of the Court may be grounds for the imposition by the Court of any and all sanctions... within the inherent power of the Court." District courts have the inherent power to control their dockets and "in the exercise of that power, they may impose sanctions including, where appropriate... dismissal of a case." Thompson v. Housing Auth., 782 F.2d 829, 831 (9th Cir. 1986) (per curiam). A court may dismiss an action, with prejudice, based on a party's failure to prosecute an action, failure to obey a court order, or failure to comply with local rules. See, e.g., Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 53-54 (9th Cir. 1995) (dismissal for noncompliance with local rule); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992) (dismissal for failure to comply with an order requiring amendment of complaint); Carey v. King, 856 F.2d 1439, 1440-41 (9th Cir. 1988) (dismissal for failure to comply with local rule requiring pro se plaintiffs to keep court apprised of address); Malone v. U.S. Postal Service, 833 F.2d 128, 130 (9th Cir. 1987) (dismissal for failure to comply with court order); Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1424 (9th Cir. 1986) (dismissal for failure to lack of prosecution and failure to comply with local rules).

In determining whether to dismiss an action for lack of prosecution, failure to obey a court order, or failure to comply with local rules, the court must consider several factors: (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 merits; and (5) the availability of less drastic alternatives. Thompson, 782 F.2d at 831; Henderson, 779 F.2d at 1423-24; Malone, 833 F.2d at 130; Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61; Ghazali, 46 F.3d at 53.

In the instant case, the Court finds that the public's interest in expeditiously resolving this litigation and the Court's interest in managing the docket weigh in favor of dismissal. This action has been pending since November 12, 2013, and Plaintiff has not contacted the Court in any way.

The third factor, risk of prejudice to Defendants, also weighs in favor of dismissal, since a presumption of injury arises from the occurrence of unreasonable delay in prosecuting an action. Anderson v. Air West, 542 F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir. 1976).

With respect to the fourth factor, "public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits strongly counsels against dismissal, " but "this factor lends little support to a party whose responsibility it is to move a case toward disposition on the merits but whose conduct impedes progress in that direction." Id. at 1228.

Finally, given the Court's inability to communicate with Plaintiff, there are no other reasonable alternatives available to address Plaintiff's failure to prosecute. In re Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Products Liability Litigation, 460 F.3d 1217, 1228-1229 (9th Cir. 2006); Carey, 856 F.2d at 1441.

The Court also notes that a civil action may not proceed absent the submission of either the filing fee or a completed application to proceed in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914, 1915. Based on Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's order, dismissal of this action is appropriate. In re PPA, 460 F.3d at 1226; Local Rule 110.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Court therefore recommends that this action be dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to follow a Court order and failure to prosecute.

These Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within thirty (30) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendations, Plaintiff may file written objections with the court. The document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." Plaintiff is advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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