Conley v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 18

ORDER DISMISSING THE ACTION for Plaintiff's Failure to Prosecute and Failure to Comply With the Court's Orders, signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 12/12/2014. CASE CLOSED. (Hall, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 LANA CONLEY, Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 15 CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. 16 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:13-cv-02051 - JLT ORDER DISMISSING THE ACTION FOR PLAINTIFF’S FAILURE TO PROSECUTE AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE COURT’S ORDERS 17 Plaintiff Lana Conley is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this action for judicial 18 19 review of the administrative decision denying her application for Social Security benefits, asserting the 20 opinion of the administrative law judge lacked the support of substantial evidence. (Doc. 1.) However, 21 Plaintiff has failed to prosecute the action and failed to comply with the Court’s orders. Accordingly, 22 the action is DISMISSED without prejudice. 23 I. 24 Background Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint on December 16, 2013. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff’s 25 counsel, Lawrence Rohlfing filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record, which was granted by the 26 Court on October 15, 2014. (Docs. 15-16.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to file her opening brief “no 27 later than November 17, 2014,” and advised Plaintiff that failure to comply with the Court’s order 28 would result in dismissal of the action pursuant to Local Rule 110. (Doc. 16 at 3-4, emphasis omitted.) 1 Because Plaintiff failed to file an opening brief, the Court issued an order to show cause on 1 2 November 20, 2014. (Doc. 17.) The Court informed Plaintiff that the action may be dismissed for her 3 failure to prosecute and failure to comply with the Court’s orders. (Id. at 1-2.) The Court ordered 4 Plaintiff to show cause why the action should not be dismissed, or in the alternative to file an opening 5 brief. (Id.) To date, Plaintiff has failed to comply with or otherwise respond to the Court’s orders. 6 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 7 8 party to comply with . . . any order of the Court may be grounds for the imposition by the Court of any 9 and all sanctions . . . within the inherent power of the Court.” LR 110. “District courts have inherent 10 power to control their dockets,” and in exercising that power, a court may impose sanctions including 11 dismissal of an action. Thompson v. Housing Authority of Los Angeles, 782 F.2d 829, 831 (9th Cir. 12 1986). A court may dismiss an action with prejudice, based on a party’s failure to prosecute an action 13 or failure to obey a court order, or failure to comply with local rules. See, e.g. Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 14 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992) (dismissal for failure to comply with an order requiring amendment 15 of complaint); Malone v. U.S. Postal Service, 833 F.2d 128, 130 (9th Cir. 1987) (dismissal for failure to 16 comply with a court order); Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1424 (9th Cir. 1986) (dismissal for 17 failure to prosecute and to comply with local rules). 18 III. 19 Discussion and Analysis To determine whether to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute and failure to obey a Court 20 order, the Court must consider several factors, including: “(1) the public’s interest in expeditious 21 resolution of litigation; (2) the court’s need to manage its docket; (3) the risk of prejudice to the 22 defendants; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5) the availability 23 of less drastic sanctions.” Henderson, 779 F.2d at 1423-24; see also Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61; 24 Thomspon, 782 F.2d at 831. 25 In the case at hand, the public’s interest in expeditiously resolving this litigation and the Court’s 26 interest in managing the docket weigh in favor of dismissal. See Yourish v. Cal. Amplifier, 191 F.3d 27 983, 990 (9th Cir. 1999) (“The public’s interest in expeditious resolution of litigation always favors 28 dismissal”); Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1261 (recognizing that district courts have inherent interest in 2 1 managing their dockets without being subject to noncompliant litigants). This Court cannot, and will 2 not hold, this action in abeyance given Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the deadlines set forth by the 3 Court and failure to prosecute. The risk of prejudice to the defendant also weighs in favor of dismissal, 4 since a presumption of injury arises from the occurrence of unreasonable delay in prosecution of an 5 action. See Anderson v. Air West, 542 F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir. 1976). 6 Notably, Plaintiff was warned that failure to comply with the Court’s order to file an opening 7 brief would “result in the action being dismissed.” (Doc. 16 at 4, emphasis in original). In addition, 8 in the Order to Show Cause, the Court reminded Plaintiff that an action may be dismissed “based on a 9 party’s failure to prosecute an action or failure to obey a court order.” (Doc. 17 at 2.) Plaintiff had 10 adequate warning that dismissal would result from her noncompliance with the Court’s orders, and her 11 failure to prosecute the action. Further, these warnings satisfy the requirement that the Court consider 12 less drastic measures. Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1262; Henderson, 779 F.2d at 1424. Given these facts, the 13 policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits is outweighed by the factors in favor of dismissal. 14 IV. Conclusion and Order 15 Plaintiff failed to comply with, or otherwise respond to, the Court’s orders dated October 15, 16 2014 (Doc. 16) and November 20, 2014 (Doc. 17). Plaintiff has also failed to prosecute this action 17 through her failure to file an opening brief. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 18 1. This action is DISMISSED without prejudice; and 19 2. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to close the action. 20 21 22 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: December 12, 2014 /s/ Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 3

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