United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISCHARGING MARCH 29, 2018 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
(ECF NO. 33) ORDER IMPOSING MONETARY SANCTIONS ON GREGORY
MITTS FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDERS
is a state prisoner, represented by counsel, proceeding with
a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
August 16, 2016, the Court stayed the instant federal habeas
proceedings pending exhaustion of state remedies and ordered
Petitioner to file an initial status report within thirty
days of the date of service of the order and every ninety
days thereafter. (ECF No. 18). As Petitioner did not file a
status report within the required time period, the Court
issued a third order to show cause why the stay should not be
vacated on August 31, 2017. (ECF No. 27). Petitioner did not
respond to the order to show cause, and the undersigned
issued findings and recommendation to vacate the stay on
September 13, 2017. (ECF No. 28).
September 19, 2017, Petitioner filed objections to the
findings and recommendation. (ECF No. 29). Counsel explained
that at the time he received notification of the order to
show cause he was in the middle of a murder trial. Further,
counsel was trailing trial in two cases, one of which was
estimated to take forty-five days. (Id. at 1-2).
Counsel also provided a status report on the state court
proceedings. (ECF No. 30).
September 22, 2017, the Court discharged the order to show
cause, vacated the findings and recommendation, and directed
Petitioner to file a status report within ninety days and
every ninety days thereafter. (ECF No. 31). The undersigned
also advised counsel “that future failures to respond
to orders of this Court will result in the issuance of
monetary sanctions. This shall constitute prior notice for
the imposition of future monetary sanctions for failure to
comply with orders of this Court.” (Id. at 2).
compliance with the Court's order, Petitioner filed a
status report within ninety days on December 15, 2017. (ECF
No. 32). However, Petitioner failed to file a status report
within ninety days thereafter, and the undersigned issued a
fourth order to show cause why the stay should not be
vacated. (ECF No. 33). On April 9, 2018, four days after a
response was due, counsel for Petitioner requested an
extension of time to file a response to the order to show
cause. (ECF No. 34). The Court granted the extension and
ordered counsel for Petitioner to file a response to the
order to show cause no later than April 17, 2018. (ECF No.
counsel did not respond to the order to show cause, and
counsel was ordered to personally appear before the
undersigned to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed
for the failure to comply with court orders. (ECF No. 36). On
May 9, 2018, the undersigned held a hearing regarding
counsel's failure to respond to the order to show cause
and the status of Petitioner's state court petitions.
(ECF No. 37).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the underlying
purpose of the rules is to secure the just, speedy and
inexpensive determination” of an action. Fed.R.Civ.P.
1. To effectuate this purpose the rules provide for sanctions
against parties that fail to comply with court orders or that
unnecessarily multiply the proceedings. See, e.g.,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(f); Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b). Rule 16(f) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the court to
issue any just order if a party or attorney fails to obey a
scheduling or other pretrial order.
Court also possesses inherent authority to impose sanctions
to manage its own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and
expeditious disposition of cases. Chambers v. NASCO,
Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991). The Court's inherent
power is that which is necessary to the exercise of all
others, including to protect the due and orderly
administration of justice and maintain the authority and
dignity of the Court. Roadway Exp., Inc. v. Piper,
447 U.S. 752, 764 (1980). The Local Rules of the Eastern
District of California (“L.R.”) provide 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 authorized
by statute or Rule or within the inherent power of the
Court.” L.R. 110.
the Court has issued multiple orders to show cause in an
attempt to have Mr. Mitts comply with orders of the Court.
Mr. Mitts's response at the May 9, 2018 hearing confirms
that the “cause” of counsel's failure to
comply is typical of litigation practice and does not excuse
counsel's conduct. The Court finds that Mr. Mitts's
willful failure to comply with court orders in this action
warrants the imposition of monetary sanctions to deter such
conduct in the future. Accordingly, the Court finds that a
sanction of $200.00 is necessary to address the extent of the
failure to comply and to deter similar conduct by Mr. Mitts
in the future.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The order to show cause issued on March 29, 2018 (ECF No.