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Estrada v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 29, 2016

SYLVIA ESTRADA, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDERS AND FAILURE TO PROSECUTE (ECF No. 8) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 8, 2016, Plaintiff Sylvia Estrada (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed this action seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner” or “Defendant”) denying her application for disability benefits pursuant to the Social Security Act. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff was ordered to file an application to proceed in forma pauperis or pay the filing fee within thirty days of April 11, 2016. (ECF No. 2.) On May 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. (ECF No. 3.)

         On May 4, 2016, Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis in this action was granted, and summonses and the scheduling order were issued in this action. (ECF Nos. 4, 5, 6.) The scheduling order informed Plaintiff that, except when other provision was made pursuant to an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the summons and complaint should be served within twenty days and Plaintiff was required to file a return of service with this court. (ECF No. 6 at ¶ 1.) This order informed Plaintiff that violations of the order may result in sanctions pursuant to Local Rule 110. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Plaintiff was also provided with instructions to have the United States Marshal serve the complaint. (ECF No. 6-3.)

         Additionally, on this same date, the Court issued an informational order for pro se litigants. (ECF No. 7.) The informational order set forth the specific requirements to serve this action on the Commissioner of Social Security. (Id. at pp. 1-3.) This order also informed Plaintiff that failure to comply with the order would be grounds for dismissal or other appropriate sanctions. (Id. at p. 7.)

         On June 7, 2016, after Plaintiff did not request the Marshal to serve the complaint nor did she file a notice of service, the Court issued an order requiring Plaintiff to show cause why this action should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. (ECF No. 8.) The order required Plaintiff to show cause in writing by June 24, 2016 why this action should not be dismissed. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff was advised that failure to respond to the order to show cause would result in the dismissal of this action. (Id.) Plaintiff did not file a response to the order to show cause or otherwise respond to the June 7, 2016 order of the Court.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Local Rule 110 provides that “[f]ailure 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.” The Court has the inherent power to control its docket and may, in the exercise of that power, impose sanctions where appropriate, including dismissal of the action. Bautista v. Los Angeles County, 216 F.3d 837, 841 (9th Cir. 2000).

         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 to file an amended 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. United States Postal Serv., 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 lack of prosecution and failure to comply with local rules).

         In determining whether to dismiss an action for failure to comply with a pretrial order, the Court must weigh “(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 sanctions.” In re Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Products Liability Litigation, 460 F.3d 1217, 1226 (9th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations and citations omitted). These factors guide a court in deciding what to do, and are not conditions that must be met in order for a court to take action. Id. (citation omitted).

         III.

         DISCUSSION

         In this instance the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of the litigation and the Court’s need to manage its docket weigh in favor of dismissal. In re Phenylpropanolamine, 460 F.3d at 1226. Plaintiff was ordered to serve the defendant and file a notice within twenty days or forward documents to the Marshal for service. Plaintiff does not appear to have complied with the order nor has she responded to this Court’s order to show cause. Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the orders of the Court hinders ...


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