United States District Court, E.D. California
WILLIAM M. BRYSON, JR., Plaintiff,
SUSAN B. GERSON, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO OBEY A COURT ORDER AND FAILURE TO PROSECUTE (ECF
Nos. 14 & 15) FOURTEEN (14) DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE
MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. On December 16, 2014, Plaintiff was ordered to submit, within thirty days, documents for service of the first amended complaint on Defendant Executive Office for United States Attorneys. (ECF No. 14.) The thirty-day deadline passed without Plaintiff either submitting his service documents or seeking an extension of time to do so.
On January 28, 2015, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause, within fourteen days, why the action should not be dismissed for failure to obey a court order and failure to prosecute. (ECF No. 15.) Plaintiff did not respond to the order to show cause and the time for doing so has passed.
Local Rule 110 provides that "failure of counsel or of a party to comply with these Rules or with any order of the Court may be grounds for 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). A court may dismiss an action based on a party's failure to prosecute, 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 a 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 a court order); Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1424 (9th Cir. 1986) (dismissal for 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 public's interest in expeditiously resolving this litigation and the Court's interest in managing its docket weigh in favor of dismissal. 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 this action. Anderson v. Air West, 542 F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir. 1976). The fourth factor - public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits - is greatly outweighed by the factors in favor of dismissal discussed herein. Finally, as for the availability of lesser sanctions, at this stage in the proceedings there is little available which would constitute a satisfactory lesser sanction while preserving scarce Court resources. Plaintiff has not paid the filing fees in this action and likely is unable to pay, making monetary sanctions of little use.
Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that the action be dismissed, without prejudice, for failure to obey a court order and failure to prosecute.
These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen (14) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendations, any party may file written objections with the Court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." Any reply to the objections shall be served and filed within fourteen (14) days after service of the objections. The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may ...