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Dobson v. State

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 1, 2016

MICHELE DOBSON, individually, and ANNE MARY FLYNN, as Guardian Ad Litem of M.W.D. and D.T.W., Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA; COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES; LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT; DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES; DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SYSTEMS OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES; SHANNON STEVENSON; KELLY CALLAHAN; BILLY FOSTER; SARAI GARCIA; HELENE HANDLER; ROBERT MUNOZ; JAMIE ESTRADA; DI LINDA BOSSENMEYER; BRITTANI JOHNSON; KAIRON WILLIAMS; SUSAN JEOUNG; LONG BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; LAURA WHEELS; IDA MOSCOSCO; LAW OFFICES OF MARLENE FURTH; CHILDRENS LAW CENTER OF CALIFORNIA; CAMP FIRE WRAP USA; and JENNIFER CANTALAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [95]

          OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court, yet again, is Plaintiff Michele Dobson. After the Court granted four of Defendants’ unopposed Motions to Dismiss with prejudice, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion seeking relief from judgment. (ECF Nos. 94-95.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion and no relief from judgment will be rendered.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Dobson’s allegations are all too familiar to this Court, and do not require another rehashing.[1] However, a journey through Plaintiff’s procedural failures and her inability to abide by the Court’s rules and admonishments will shed light on the Motion at bar.

         On February 18, 2016, the Court granted then-Defendant Daniel Kramon’s Motion to Dismiss the entire original Complaint after Plaintiff failed to file a timely opposition or non-opposition. (First MTD Order 4, ECF No. 51.) The Court explained that all opposition papers must be filed at least twenty-one days prior to the noticed hearing date and gave Plaintiff until March 14, 2016 to amend her pleadings. See Local Rule 7-9. (First MTD Order 3, 5.)

         Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on March 11, 2016. (ECF No. 58.) Reiterating the same nonsensical claims, this pleading managed to build on the original Complaint’s 300 pages and clocked in at a staggering 324 pages. The Court sua sponte dismissed the FAC for failing to comply with the minimal pleading requirements of Rule 8 and instructed Plaintiff to cure the deficiencies by April 15, 2016. (Second MTD Order 5-7, ECF No. 70.)

         Plaintiff then filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) on April 15, 2016. (ECF No. 73.) In an exercise in brevity, Plaintiff’s new operative Complaint measured “only” 93 pages. Her overarching claims and accusations remained the same. Yet again, several Defendants moved to dismiss the SAC. (ECF Nos. 81, 83, 85, 88.)[2] Each argued that the entire SAC should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Id.) In addition, the County of Los Angeles and the Law Offices of Marlene Furth argued for dismissal under Rule 8. (ECF Nos. 81, 83.) Camp Fire USA and the Law Offices of Marlene Furth also moved for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1). (ECF Nos. 81, 85.) No opposition was filed in regards to the Law Offices of Marlene Furth, Camp Fire USA, Long Beach Unified School District, Ida Moscosco, or Laura Wheels Motions, and while Plaintiff did file an opposition to the County of Los Angeles’ Motion, it was both three days late and filed in triplicate.[3]

         The Court granted the Motions to Dismiss, finding Plaintiff in violation of Local Rule 7-9 and noting that “Plaintiff’s consistent disregard of deadlines throughout this litigation shows that the Court’s offers of second, third, and sometimes fourth chances were for naught and its benefit of the doubt misplaced.” (Third Dismissal Order 4-5, ECF No. 94.) The day after the Court issued its third dismissal and closed this case, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Relief from Judgment and insisted that the lateness-or absence-of her oppositions constituted excusable neglect. (Mot. for Relief from Judgment (“Mot.”) 4, ECF No. 95.) Defendant Camp Fire USA filed a timely opposition, and Defendant Law Offices of Marlene Furth joined that opposition. (ECF Nos. 96-97.) Defendant County of Los Angeles filed its own separate opposition. (ECF No. 98.) Plaintiff did not tender a timely reply. The Motion is now before the Court for decision.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 60(b) provides for “extraordinary relief” in the face of “exceptional circumstances.” Engleson v. Burlington N. R. Co., 972 F.2d 1038, 1044 (9th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). “On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for . . . mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). The rule mandates that the moving party “show that its mistake was unexpected and unavoidable rather than careless.” In re M/V Peacock on Compl. of Edwards, 809 F.2d 1403, 1405 (9th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted).

         “To determine when neglect is excusable, we conduct the equitable analysis specified in Pioneer by examining ‘at least four factors: (1) the danger of prejudice to the opposing party; (2) the length of the delay and its potential impact on the proceedings; (3) the reason for the delay; and (4) whether the movant acted in good faith.’” Lemoge v. United States, 587 F.3d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bateman v. U.S. Postal Serv., 231 F.3d 1220, 1223 (9th Cir. 2000)); see also Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P’ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993); Briones v. Riviera Hotel & Casino, 116 F.3d 379, 381-82 (9th Cir. 1997) (per curiam).

         However, these factors do not constitute “an exclusive list.” Briones, 116 F.3d at 381; Bateman, 231 F.3d at 1223. “The determination of whether neglect is excusable ‘is at bottom an equitable one, taking account of all relevant circumstances surrounding the party’s omission.’” Lemoge, 587 F.3d at 1192 (quoting Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co., 507 U.S. at 395).

         IV. ...


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