United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER TO THE PLAINTIFF TO PERSONALLY APPEAR AND SHOW
CAUSE WHY SANCTIONS SHOULD NOT BE IMPOSED FOR ITS FAILURE TO
COMPLY WITH THE COURT'S ORDERS ORDER TO PLAINTIFF'S
COUNSEL TO FILE A STATUS REPORT WITHIN 10 DAYS
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Court adopted the findings and recommendation to grant the
petition for the minor's compromise. (Doc. 54) In doing
so, the Court ordered the parties to “file with the
Court a stipulation for dismissal of the action with
prejudice, and lodge a separate order, pursuant to the
schedule set forth in the F&Rs.” Id. at 3.
The findings and recommendation required this to occur within
45 days after the Court adopted them. (Doc. 53 at 9)
they failed to file the dismissal document, the Court ordered
the parties to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed
for their failure to comply with the Court's orders (Doc.
55). The defendants have responded (Doc. 56), but the
plaintiff has not. The defendants assert there has been, at
least in their view, significant refusal by the plaintiff to
comply with the settlement agreement. Id. They seek
an order requiring the plaintiff to engage in mediation to
resolve the matter (as the parties agreed in the settlement
documents) before the Court closes the case. Id.
contempt … consists of a party's disobedience to a
specific and definite court order by failure to take all
reasonable steps within the party's power to
comply.” Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd
Conservation Soc'y, 774 F.3d 935, 945 (9th Cir.
2014). When there has been contempt, a court can levy
contempt sanctions pursuant to its inherent powers. Cooke
v. United States, 267 U.S. 517, 539 (1925). The inherent
powers of federal courts are those that “are necessary
to the exercise of all others.” Primus Auto. Fin.
Servs., Inc. v. Batarse, 115 F.3d 644, 648 (9th Cir.
1997) (quoting Roadway Express, Inc. v. Piper, 447
U.S. 752, 764 (1980)). “The district court has wide
latitude in determining whether there has been contemptuous
defiance of its order.” Hook v. Arizona Dep't
of Corr., 107 F.3d 1397, 1403 (9th Cir. 1997).
the Court has ordered the plaintiff to take specific action
(Docs. 53, 54, 55) and twice the plaintiff has ignored the
Court's orders and failed to take any reasonable efforts
to comply. It appears it is in contempt of the Court's
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.” LR 110. “District courts
have inherent power to control their dockets, ” and in
exercising that power, a court may impose sanctions.
Thompson v. Housing Authority of Los Angeles, 782
F.2d 829, 831 (9th Cir. 1986); see also Primus Auto. Fin.
Servs., Inc., 115 F.3d at 648 (“The most common
utilization of inherent powers is a contempt sanction levied
to ‘protect the due and orderly administration of
justice' and ‘maintain' the authority and
dignity of the court.”)
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 who 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 has authority to order coercive fines and remedial
sanctions for civil contempt. Shell Offshore Inc. v.
Greenpeace, Inc., 815 F.3d 623, 628-30 (9th Cir. 2016).
In particular, “[a] court may wield its civil contempt
powers for two separate and independent purposes: (1)
‘to coerce the [party] into compliance with the
court's order'; and (2) ‘to compensate the
complainant for losses sustained.'” Id.,
citing United States v. United Mine Workers of Am.,
330 U.S. 258, 303 (1947)); Ahearn v. Int'l Longshore
& Warehouse Union, Locals 21 & 4, 721 F.3d 1122,
1130 (9th Cir. 2013). “Because civil compensatory
sanctions are remedial, they typically take the form of
unconditional monetary sanctions; whereas coercive civil
sanctions, intended to deter, generally take the form of
conditional fines.” Shell Offshore Inc., 815
F.3d at 628-30.
Ninth Circuit explained, a “district court should apply
the least coercive sanction (e.g., a monetary penalty)
reasonably calculated to win compliance with its
orders.” United States v. Alfredofllores, 628
F.2d 521, 527 (9th Cir.1980) (internal quotation marks
omitted). “[I]n determining how large a coercive
sanction should be[, ] the court should consider the
character and magnitude of the harm threatened by continued
contumacy, and the probable effectiveness of any suggested
sanction.” Gen. Signal Corp. v. Donallco,
Inc., 787 F.2d 1376, 1380 (9th Cir. 1986) (citations
omitted). “If the fine, or any portion of the fine, is
coercive, it should be payable to the court, not [the
plaintiff has demonstrated a willingness to defy the
Court's orders. Consequently, the action is not prepared
to be dismissed, despite the apparent agreement to settle the
case. Also, it appears that due to the plaintiff's
failure to comply with the settlement terms the parties
selected, the Court must expend its limited judicial
resources to continue to address the issues in this case.
Thus, it appears sanctions are warranted “to coerce the
[it] into compliance with the court's order.”
See Shell Offshore, 815 F.3d at 628-30. Before the
Court does so, it will require the personal appearance of the
plaintiff to explain why sanctions should not be imposed.
This is required because the plaintiff has chosen not to show
cause in writing. Thus, the Court ORDERS:
plaintiff SHALL appear personally-not merely
through counsel-on July 8,
2019 at 9:00 a.m., to show cause
why sanctions should not be imposed for its recalcitrant
conduct and its failure to comply with the Court's
orders; The plaintiff is advised that its failure
to appear in court as ordered will result in
the immediate imposition of
sanctions, up to and including dismissal of the
Within ten days, plaintiff's
counsel SHALL file a report detailing the
efforts of the plaintiff to ...