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Wood v. Bassett

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 31, 2019

CONRAD WOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW BASSETT, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING THE ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR PLAINTIFF'S FAILURE TO PROSECUTE AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE COURT'S ORDERS

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff has failed to prosecute this action by failing to exchange the Rule 26 initial disclosures and failing to comply with the Court's orders. Accordingly, the Court orders the action be DISMISSED without prejudice.

         I. Relevant Background

         Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint on January 23, 2019. (Doc. 1.) In response to order by the Court, Plaintiff informed the Court he wished to proceed only on the claim found cognizable. (Docs. 3, 4.) Accordingly, the Court ordered the action to proceed only upon Plaintiff's claim under Section 1983 for excessive force, against Officer Andrew Basset. (Doc. 15.)

         Subsequently, the Court issued a scheduling order in this case on May 10, 2019, including all deadlines governing the action. (Doc. 18.) The Court ordered the parties “to exchange the initial disclosures required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1) on or before June 7, 2019.” (Id. at 2, emphasis omitted.)

         On June 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to continue the deadline for his initial disclosures until February 18, 2020, because he “maybe (sic) out of custody.” (Doc. 19.) He reported that he was “trying to get [his] medical records” but did not have the money to pay for copies. (Id.) The Court denied the request and informed Plaintiff the “disclosures do not require the parties to provide any documents-though they may, if they chose-but, instead, to provide only information.” (Doc. 20 at 1.) The Court determined that Plaintiff's anticipated release date did not support his request to extend any deadlines in the action, which Plaintiff chose to commence despite his in-custody status. (Id. at 2.) Therefore, the Court ordered Plaintiff to “provide his initial disclosures to defense counsel no later than July 5, 2019.” (Id.)

         Defendant filed a mid-discovery status conference statement on July 22, 2019, which included a report that “Plaintiff has not exchanged his Rule 26 initial disclosure.” (Doc. 21 at 3.) Upon receipt of the status report, the Court reminded “the parties . . . of their obligation to complete all discovery within the time frames set forth in the Scheduling Order.” (Doc. 22.) The Court reminded Plaintiff “of his obligation to make his Rule 26 disclosure, ” and ordered him to “do so within 14 days.” (Id.) On September 5, 2019, Defendant filed a notice informing the Court that Plaintiff had “not served his Rule 26 Disclosure in this matter.” (Doc. 23 at 1.) Thus, Plaintiff failed to comply with the Court's orders.

         On September 13, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why the action should not be dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's orders and failure to prosecute. (Doc. 24.) Plaintiff requested extensions of time, which the Court denied. (Docs. 25, 26, 27, 29.) The Plaintiff submitted a response in which he stated that he is currently incarcerated and listed documents he needs for discovery. (Doc. 28.) On October 11, 2019, Defendant filed a notice informing the Court of Plaintiff's non-compliance with the Court's order and Rule 26 disclosure. (Docs. 30, 31.)

         II. Failure to Prosecute and Obey the Court's Orders

         The 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.” Local Rule 110. “District 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. Housing Authority of Los Angeles, 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); 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).

         III. Discussion and Analysis

         To determine whether to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute and failure to obey a Court order, 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 at 831.

         A. Public interest and the Court's docket

         In the case at hand, the public's interest in expeditiously resolving this litigation and the Court's interest in managing the docket weigh in favor of dismissal. See Yourish v. Cal. Amplifier, 191 F.3d 983, 990 (9th Cir. 1999) (“The public's interest in expeditious resolution of litigation always favors dismissal”); Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1261 (recognizing that district courts have inherent interest in managing their dockets without being subject to noncompliant litigants). This Court cannot, and will not hold, this case in abeyance based upon Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's orders and failure to take action to continue prosecution in a timely manner. See Morris v. Morgan Stanley & Co., 942 F.2d 648, 652 (9th Cir. 1991) (a plaintiff ...


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