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Fletcher v. California Department of Corrections

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 9, 2015

SHAWNE FLETCHER, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING ACTION

JESUS G. BERNAL, District Judge.

On August 19, 2014, plaintiff, Shawne Fletcher ("plaintiff"), who is in custody at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco ("CRC") in Riverside County, is proceeding pro se, and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed a Civil Rights Complaint ("Original Complaint") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") with attached exhibits against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and CRC Warden Cynthia Tampkins. Plaintiff sued defendant Tampkins in her individual and official capacities, and sought monetary and injunctive relief from both defendants. As plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the assigned Magistrate Judge screened the Original Complaint to determine if it 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)(B).

On September 19, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued an order (the "September Order") advising plaintiff that the Original Complaint was deficient for reasons described in the September Order and affording plaintiff an opportunity to file a First Amended Complaint if he wished to proceed with this action.[1] The September Order further expressly advised plaintiff that the failure timely to file a First Amended Complaint might result in the dismissal of this action on the grounds set forth in the September Order and/or for failure diligently to prosecute.

On December 4, 2014, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint, naming the CDCR and multiple new CDCR officials (not including defendant Tampkins) as defendants.[2] He sues such new individual defendants in both their individual and official capacities, and seeks monetary and injunctive relief from all defendants. As plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the assigned Magistrate Judge screened the First Amended Complaint to determine if it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

On April 9, 2015, the Magistrate Judge issued an order (the "April Order") advising plaintiff that the First Amended Complaint was deficient for reasons described in the April Order and affording plaintiff an opportunity to file a Second Amended Complaint by not later than April 23, 2015, if he wished to proceed with this action.[3] The April Order further expressly advised plaintiff that the failure timely to file a Second Amended Complaint might result in the dismissal of this action on the grounds set forth in the April Order and/or for failure diligently to prosecute. To date, although the foregoing deadline has expired, plaintiff has failed to file a Second Amended Complaint or to seek an extension of time to do so.

In light of the foregoing, on May 7, 2015, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order to Show Cause ("OSC") directing plaintiff, by May 21, 2015, to show cause in writing why this action should not be dismissed based upon the deficiencies in the First Amended Complaint identified in the April Order and/or based upon plaintiff's failure to prosecute this action. The OSC expressly cautioned plaintiff that the failure timely to comply with the OSC and/or to show good cause would result in the dismissal of this action based upon the deficiencies identified in the April Order, plaintiff's failure to prosecute this action, and/or plaintiff's failure to comply with the OSC. To date, plaintiff has failed to file a response to the OSC, and the deadline to do so has now expired.

It is well-established that a district court has authority to dismiss a plaintiff's action because of his failure to prosecute or to comply with court orders. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Link v. Wabash Railroad Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-30 (1962); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 915 (1992). In determining whether to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or failure to comply with court orders, a district 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 defendants; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5) the availability of less drastic alternatives. See In re Eisen, 31 F.3d 1447, 1451 (9th Cir. 1994) (failure to prosecute); Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61 (failure to comply with court orders).

The Court finds that the first two factors - the public's interest in expeditiously resolving this litigation and the Court's interest in managing the docket, weigh in favor of dismissal. The Court cannot hold this case in abeyance indefinitely awaiting plaintiff's response to the Court's directives. 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, Inc., 542 F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir. 1976). The fourth factor, the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits, is greatly outweighed by the factors in favor of dismissal discussed herein. Finally, as plaintiff has already been cautioned of the consequences of his failure to prosecute and his failure to comply with the OSC, has been afforded the opportunity to do so, and has not responded, no sanction lesser than dismissal without prejudice is feasible.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this action is dismissed based upon plaintiff's failure to prosecute and failure to comply with the OSC.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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