Elizabeth C. Stewart v. Stanley L. Sniff

Filing 31

ORDER DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE by Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell,the action is dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute. IT IS SO ORDERED. See order for details. (jy)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ELIZABETH C. STEWART, 11 Plaintiff, 12 13 v. STANLEY L. SNIFF, et al., 14 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CASE NO. CV 13-1153-BRO(PJW) ORDER DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE 15 16 In June 2013, Plaintiff Elizabeth Stewart, a resident of 17 Riverside, California, filed this civil rights action against 18 Defendant Riverside Sheriff Stanley Sniff,1 alleging that he violated 19 her constitutional rights by authorizing a search of her property for 20 methamphetamine, which led to Plaintiff ultimately being arrested for 21 stealing a trailer deputies found on the property. 22 2.) 23 Complaint (“FAC”), which the Court granted. 24 25 (Complaint at 1- In October 2013, Plaintiff sought leave to file a First Amended (Doc. Nos. 15, 17.) In February 2014, Defendant Sniff filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 24.) In response, the Court issued an order, giving 26 27 1 28 Plaintiff subsequently added Deputy Sheriffs Mendez, Franks, and Thompson as Defendants. (See Doc. No. 18.) 1 Plaintiff until March 28, 2014, to file an opposition. 2 Plaintiff failed to file one. 3 (Doc. No. 26.) In April 2014, the Court issued an order to show cause why the 4 case should not be dismissed as Plaintiff had still not filed an 5 opposition. 6 opposition no later than May 14, 2014, and warned her that, if she 7 failed to do so, the Court might dismiss the case. 8 respond to the order to show cause and did not file an opposition. 9 (Doc. No. 27.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to file an Plaintiff did not In August 2014, the Court issued an order, granting in part and 10 denying in part Defendant’s unopposed Motion to Dismiss the First 11 Amended Complaint and granting Plaintiff leave to file a Second 12 Amended Complaint no later than September 5, 2014. 13 Plaintiff never responded to that order and never filed a Second 14 Amended Complaint. 15 (Doc. No. 30.) It is well established that a district court has the authority to 16 dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or for failure to comply 17 with court orders. 18 Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-30 (1962) (noting district court has authority 19 to dismiss for lack of prosecution to prevent undue delay in disposing 20 of pending cases and to avoid congestion in court’s calendar); Ferdik 21 v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992) (finding district 22 courts have authority to dismiss actions for failure to comply with 23 any order of the court). 24 appropriate, the Court considers five factors: (1) the public interest 25 in expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the court’s need to 26 manage its docket; (3) the risk of prejudice to defendants; (4) the 27 public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b); Link v. Wabash Railroad In determining whether dismissal is 28 2 1 (5) the availability of less drastic sanctions. 2 at 1260-61. 3 Ferdik, 963 F.2d 963 Here, both the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of 4 litigation and the Court’s need to manage its docket weigh strongly in 5 favor of dismissal. 6 no interest in pursuing this action. 7 did not oppose Defendant’s motion to dismiss and, when given an 8 opportunity to amend her surviving claims, did not file an amended 9 complaint. What is plain to the Court is that Plaintiff has Despite multiple promptings, she In fact, the Court has not heard from her for eight 10 months, since January 2014. 11 repeatedly failed to comply with the Court’s orders, despite being 12 repeatedly warned that her case could be dismissed if she failed to do 13 so. 14 litigation to come to a complete standstill. 15 And, during that interval, she has (See Doc. Nos. 26, 27, 30.) Her latest failure has caused this The third factor–-prejudice to defendants–-also weighs in favor 16 of dismissal. 17 lawsuit, a lawsuit it is apparent Plaintiff is no longer interested in 18 pursuing. 19 likely begin to fade and Defendants will be prejudiced as a result. 20 Defendants are expending money to defend against this Further, as time goes by, the witnesses’ memories will Although the fourth factor–-the public policy favoring deciding 21 cases on their merits–-ordinarily weighs against dismissal, it is 22 Plaintiff’s responsibility to move the case at a reasonable pace. 23 Morris v. Morgan Stanley, 942 F.2d 648, 652 (9th Cir. 1991). 24 Considering the extent of the delay caused by Plaintiff’s failure to 25 oppose the motion to dismiss, her refusal to comply with the Court’s 26 orders, and her refusal to file an amended complaint, the public 27 policy favoring resolution on the merits must cede to the other 28 important factors addressed herein. 3 1 Finally, with regard to the fifth factor--availability of less 2 drastic alternatives–-this also weighs in favor of dismissal. 3 Court is unable to impose a lesser sanction, like monetary sanctions, 4 because Plaintiff is indigent, as evidenced by the fact that she is 5 proceeding IFP. 6 suggests that nothing the Court can do will trigger action on her 7 part. 8 9 10 The And her failure to respond to the Court’s orders For all these reasons, the action is dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute. Link, 370 U.S. at 629-30. IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 DATED: October 1, 2014. 12 13 BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 14 15 16 Presented by: 17 18 PATRICK J. WALSH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 C:\Temp\notesD30550\Ord_dismiss.failure.prosecute.wpd 4

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