United States District Court, E.D. California
CHARITO C. ANABEZA, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE
TO PROSECUTE AND FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDER ORDER
DIRECTING CLERK TO CLOSE ACTION (DOC. 17)
K. OBERTO, JUDGE
25, 2016, Plaintiff, proceeding in pro per and
in forma pauperis, filed the present action in this
Court. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff seeks review of the
Commissioner's denial of her application for benefits.
Court entered a Scheduling Order on August 29, 2016 (Doc. 7),
setting the deadline for Plaintiff to file her opening brief
to “within thirty (30) days of service” of
Defendant's response to Plaintiff's confidential
letter brief. (See Id. at ¶ 6.) On August 30,
2016, Plaintiff was served with an Informational Order for
Pro Se Litigants. (Doc. 8) The Informational Order detailed
Plaintiff's responsibilities as a pro se litigant,
including the substantive requirements of an opening brief
and reiterated the deadline for filing the brief. (Doc. 8, p.
2.) Plaintiff was further advised of the deadlines for the
Commissioner's responsive brief and for any reply brief.
(Id., p. 3.) These deadlines were also set forth on
page 3 of the Informational Order which was served on
to the Scheduling Order and the Informational Order,
Plaintiff's opening brief was due April 24, 2017 -- 95
days from service of the administrative record on January 19,
2017. (Docs. 7 & 8.) On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff failed
to file and serve her opening brief with the Court and on
opposing counsel. (See Docket.)
Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's order,
on June 13, 2017, the Court issued an order to show cause why
the matter should not be dismissed. (Doc. 15.) Plaintiff was
ordered to file a written response by no later than June 30,
2017, or in the alternative, to file her opening brief.
(Id.) On June 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a one-page
written response to the order to show cause indicating
receipt of the Court's order. (Doc. 16.) The next day,
the Court discharged the order to show cause, but ordered
Plaintiff to file an opening brief that complies with the
requirements of the Informational Order by July 13, 2017.
(Doc. 17) As of the date of this order, Plaintiff has not
filed her opening brief. (See Docket.)
Local Rules, corresponding with Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, provide:
“Failure of counsel or of a party to comply with . . .
any order of the Court may be grounds for the imposition by
the Court of any and all sanctions . . . within the inherent
power of the Court.” See LR 110.
courts have inherent power to control their dockets, ”
and in exercising that power, a court may impose sanctions
including dismissal of an action. Thompson v. Hous. Auth.
of L.A., 782 F.2d 829, 831 (9th Cir. 1986). A court may
dismiss an action with prejudice, based on a party's
failure to prosecute an action or failure to obey a court
order, or failure to comply with local rules. See, e.g.,
Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir.
1992) (dismissal for failure to comply with an order
requiring amendment of complaint); 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 failure to prosecute and to comply with local rules).
determining whether to dismiss an action for failure to obey
a court order or failure to comply with the Local Rules, the
court must consider several factors, including: “(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.”
Henderson, 779 F.2d at 1423-24; see also
Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61; Thomspon, 782 F.2d
case, the public's interest in expeditiously resolving
this litigation and the Court's interest in managing the
docket weigh in favor of dismissal. The risk of prejudice to
Defendant Commissioner also weighs in favor of dismissal,
since a presumption of injury arises from the occurrence of
unreasonable delay in prosecution of an action. See
Anderson v. Air West, 542 F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir.1976).
No less drastic sanction is available to the Court, as
Plaintiff has failed to comply with the Court's prior
orders and is proceeding in forma pauperis. The
policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits is
outweighed by these other four factors in favor of dismissal.
See Hall v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No.
1:11-cv-00693-JLT, 2011 WL 3794705 at *2 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 25,
Order entered June 29, 2017, the Court informed Plaintiff
that failure to file a compliant opening brief may result in
dismissal of the action. (Doc. 17.) Thus, Plaintiff had
adequate warning that dismissal would result from failure to
file her opening brief or “show cause” for why
the action should not be dismissed. It is within the
Court's inherent authority to dismiss the action both for
failure to prosecute and for failure to comply with the