United States District Court, C.D. California
VALIRIE R. VAUGHN, Plaintiff,
COMM’R OF SOC. SEC., Defendant.
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO
GARY KLAUSNER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
January 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed pro se a Complaint
challenging the denial of Social Security benefits. On
January 24, the Magistrate Judge issued a case-management
order, requiring Plaintiff to file a motion for judgment on
the pleadings within 35 days of service of Defendant’s
Answer to the Complaint. Defendant filed and served his
Answer on May 9. Thus, Plaintiff’s motion for judgment
on the pleadings was due no later than June 13. After she did
not timely file her motion, the Magistrate Judge on June 28
ordered her to show cause in writing within 14 days why the
case should not be dismissed for lack of
prosecution. The Court also advised Plaintiff that
legal help was available at one of the pro se clinics in the
district and provided the address and phone number for the
one closest to Plaintiff. On July 9, she requested an
extension of time to file the motion for judgment on the
pleadings; the Magistrate Judge granted her request on July
24, a “good friend” of Plaintiff’s filed a
document titled “Summary of the Case, ” in which
she claimed that Plaintiff is mostly confined to bed. On
August 22, after Plaintiff’s extended deadline for
filing her motion for judgment on the pleadings had expired,
Defendant requested that the Court order her to show cause
why her lawsuit should not be dismissed for failure to
prosecute. Plaintiff opposed the request on August 27, asking
the Court to treat the “Summary of the Case” as
her motion for judgment on the pleadings. On August 28, the
Magistrate Judge again ordered Plaintiff to show cause why
the case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute,
advising her that the Court had no authority to accept or
consider the “Summary of the Case” because it was
filed by a third party and was not signed by Plaintiff. The
Magistrate Judge again advised Plaintiff to seek assistance
at her local pro se clinic and further told her that if she
could not prosecute her lawsuit herself she had to retain an
attorney, noting that disability-appeal attorneys typically
prosecute Social Security cases on a contingency basis. To
date, Plaintiff has neither filed a motion for judgment on
the pleadings nor timely responded to the most recent order
to show cause.
may dismiss lawsuits that are not diligently prosecuted.
Link v. Wabash R.R., 370 U.S. 626, 629-30 (1962);
Carey v. King, 856 F.2d 1439, 1441 (9th Cir. 1988)
(per curiam). In determining whether to dismiss a pro se
plaintiff’s lawsuit for failure to prosecute, a court
must consider “(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.” Carey, 856 F.2d at 1440.
Unreasonable delay creates a rebuttable presumption of
prejudice to the defendant that can be overcome only with an
affirmative showing of just cause by the plaintiff. See
In re Eisen, 31 F.3d 1447, 1452-53 (9th Cir. 1994).
the first, second, third, and fifth Carey factors
weigh in favor of dismissal. Plaintiff has ceased
communicating with the Court, and thus she has not rebutted
the presumption of prejudice to Defendant caused by her
unreasonable delay in prosecuting this lawsuit. There also
does not appear to be any less drastic sanction the Court can
take, as despite numerous opportunities to do so, Plaintiff
still has not filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings,
and thus no issues are before the Court for it to resolve.
Further, Plaintiff has been repeatedly and expressly warned
that if she did not respond to the Magistrate Judge’s
orders to show cause, her action would likely be dismissed.
Yet she has not responded at all to the latest such order.
Although the fourth factor weighs against dismissal - as it
always does - the other factors together outweigh the
public’s interest in disposing of the case on its
merits. See Long v. Astrue, 416 F. App’x 633,
634 (9th Cir. 2011) (upholding dismissal of Social Security
action for failure to prosecute when plaintiff had not served
summons and did not show cause for failure to do so).
has failed to prosecute this action without demonstrating
good cause, and it is therefore DISMISSED.
Rosenbluth U.S. Magistrate Judge
 This was not the first time the
Magistrate Judge had issued such an order, having previously
ordered Plaintiff to show cause after she did not timely file
her proof of ...