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Arellano v. City of Hanford

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 27, 2016

SETH ARELLANO, a minor, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem, BERTHA HERNANDEZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF HANFORD, and DOES 1 through 10, Defendants.

          Dated: August 24, 2016

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ORDER TO SHOW (DOC. 28)

          SANDRA M. SNYDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant City of Hanford’s motion to compel additional sanctions against Plaintiffs for failure to comply with the Court’s April 20, 2016 order. Doc. 29. Defendant filed the motion on June 9, 2016, with a hearing date set for July 20, 2016. Doc. 28. Plaintiffs did not oppose the motion.

         The Court found this matter suitable for consideration without oral argument, vacated the hearing, and took this matter under submission. Doc. 32.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In an order dated April 20, 2016, the Court directed Plaintiffs to serve complete Rule 26(a)(1)[1] initial disclosures no later than May 20, 2016, and to pay a $400 sanction to Defendant for failure to timely provide the initial disclosures. Doc. 27. Nearly two months later, Defendant filed this motion alleging that Plaintiffs have not complied with the Court’s order. In the attached declaration, Defendant’s counsel, Mariou U. Zamora, asserts that to date, Plaintiffs have not provided the initial disclosures. Consequently, Defendant requests the Court dismiss this case and impose monetary sanctions under Rule 37(b)(2)(C) in the amount of $800.00 for counsel’s time expended in bringing this motion and attending the hearing that was scheduled.

         II.ANALYSIS

         a. Terminating Sanctions

         With regard to terminating sanctions, the Ninth Circuit has:

constructed a five-part test, with three subparts to the fifth part, to determine whether a case-dispositive sanction under Rule 37(b)(2) is just: (1) the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the court’s need to manage its dockets; (3) the risk of prejudice to the party seeking sanctions; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5) the availability of less drastic sanctions. The sub-parts of the fifth factor are whether the court has considered lesser sanctions, whether it tried them, and whether it warned the recalcitrant party about the possibility of case-dispositive sanctions.

Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co. v. New Images of Beverly Hills, 482 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations and footnotes omitted). Importantly, “[t]his test is not mechanical. It provides the district court with a way to think about what to do, not a set of conditions precedent for sanctions or a script that the district court must follow[.]” Id.

         Under the circumstances, the first and second factors weigh in favor of Defendant, and the third, fourth and fifth factors weigh in favor of Plaintiffs. Dispositive here is the fifth factor. Because the Court did not warn Plaintiffs about the possibility of dismissal of this case and because a less drastic alternative remains-namely an opportunity to show cause-it is hard pressed to grant Defendant’s request. The Court therefore declines to impose terminating sanctions.

         b. Monet ...


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