Sun v. CFS2, Inc. et al
OPINION AND ORDER by Judge Claire V Eagan that CFS2, Inc.'s motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution (Dkt. # 61) is granted, and plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice for lack of prosecution. ; finding as moot 44 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; granting 61 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution; finding as moot 62 Motion for Summary Judgment (Re: 30 Order,,,,, 2 Complaint, 12 Cross-claim, 40 Amended Complaint, 13 Third Party Complaint ) (RGG, Chambers)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
HOWIE SUN, an individual
CFS2, INC., an Oklahoma Corporation,
and RON FOSSUM, an individual
CFS2, INC., an Oklahoma Corporation,
RON FOSSUM, an individual
CFS2, INC., an Oklahoma Corporation,
SMART MONEY SECURED INCOME
Case No. 16-CV-0236-CVE-TLW
OPINION AND ORDER
Now before the Court is CFS2, Inc.’s (CFS2) motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution (Dkt.
# 61). Howie Sun filed this suit in on April 14, 2016. Dkt. # 2. CFS2 answered, filed a cross-claim
against Ron Fossum, and filed a third-party complaint against Smart Money Secured Income Fund,
LLC (Smart Money) on May 24, 2016. Dkt. ## 10, 12, 13. On June 28, 2016, the Court stayed
CFS2's third-party action against Smart Money due to Smart Money’s ongoing bankruptcy
proceeding, but the Court ordered the underlying action among Sun, CFS2, and Fossum could
proceed. Dkt. # 30. On July 25, 2016, Fossum filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of
personal jurisdiction (Dkt. # 37). On August 8, 2016, Sun filed an amended complaint (Dkt. # 40),
which CFS2 answered on August 22, 2016 (Dkt. # 43). On August 23, 2016, Fossum filed a motion
to dismiss the amended complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction (Dkt. # 44).
On October 10, 2016, Sun’s counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel (Dkt. # 50),
asserting that Sun had decided to represent himself. The Court granted the motion, effective upon
the entry of appearance of substitute counsel, or upon the filing of a statement by Sun to the effect
that he wished to represent himself in this matter. Dkt. # 51. The Court gave Sun twenty days from
October 12, 2016 to file a statement that he wished to represent himself and to provide the Court
his mailing address. Id. The Court also granted Sun a thirty-day extension to respond to Fossum’s
motion to dismiss. Id. On October 31, 2016, Sun filed a pro se appearance and provided a mailing
address in Englewood, Colorado. Dkt. # 57. On December 15, 2016, CFS2 filed a motion to dismiss
for lack of prosecution (Dkt. # 61). On January 4, 2017, CFS2 filed a motion for summary judgment
(Dkt. # 62). On January 9, 2017, the Court ordered Sun to show cause within fourteen days as to
why this suit should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. Dkt. # 64.
Sun has failed to comply with the Court’s order to show cause. Further, he has not responded
to Fossum’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or CFS2's motion to dismiss for
failure to prosecute, and the time to respond has expired. Sun has not filed anything other than his
pro se appearance since his attorneys withdrew in October 2016. Additionally, CFS2 asserts that
plaintiff was noticed to appear for his deposition on November 30, 2016, but Sun failed to appear.
Dkt. # 61, at 2. CFS2 also asserts that Sun has failed to provide his preliminary witness and exhibits
list as ordered by the Court in its scheduling order (Dkt. # 32). Dkt. # 61, at 3.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), a defendant may move to dismiss the claims
against it if the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with the federal rules or a court order.
Dismissing a suit with prejudice for failure to prosecute is a “severe sanction” and should be a
measure of last resort. Ecclesiastes 9:10-11-12, Inc. V. LMC Holding Co., 497 F.3d 1135, 1443
(10th Cir. 2007). The Tenth Circuit has identified a non-exhaustive list of factors that a district court
should consider in determining whether to dismiss an action with prejudice under Rule 41(b):
(1) the degree of actual prejudice to the other party; (2) the amount of interference
with the judicial process; (3) the litigant’s culpability; (4) whether the court warned
the party in advance that dismissal would be a likely sanction for noncompliance;
and (5) the efficacy of lesser sanctions.
Id. (citing Ehrenhaus v. Reynolds, 965 F.2d 916, 921 (10th Cir. 1992)). Under this framework,
“dismissal is warranted when ‘the aggravating factors outweigh the judicial system’s strong
predisposition to resolve cases on their merits.’” Id. at 1144 (quoting Ehrenhaus, 965 F.2d at 921).
CFS2 has been prejudiced by Sun’s dilatoriness. Causing a defendant to suffer delay and
mounting attorney fees can constitute prejudice. See Jones v. Thompson, 996 F.2d 261, 264 (10th
Cir. 1993). CFS2 has incurred attorney fees and costs in preparing, drafting, and filing its motion
to dismiss and motion for summary judgment. CFS2 has also incurred attorney fees and costs in
preparing discovery requests, initial disclosures, preliminary witness and exhibit lists, a joint status
report, and for plaintiff’s deposition (for which plaintiff failed to appear). Dkt. # 61, at 5.
Sun has also interfered with the judicial process by failing to comply with the Court’s order
to show cause (Dkt. # 64). By failing to comply with a direct court order, Sun “flouted the Court’s
authority.” Ehrenhaus, 965 F.2d at 921. If a party can ignore court orders without suffering the
consequences, then the Court “cannot administer orderly justice, and the result would be chaos.” Id.
Sun is also culpable for his dilatoriness. Sun failed to appear for his own properly noticed
deposition, failed to respond to motions even after the Court granted him more time to respond after
he decided to proceed pro se, and failed to follow the Court’s scheduling order and order to show
cause. Although the Court reads pro se litigant’s pleadings and filings liberally, pro se status does
not relieve Sun of his duty to comply with court orders or with the various rules and procedures
governing litigants and counsel. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); Dodson
v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs, 878 F. Supp. 2d 1227, 1235 (D. Colo. 2012). Moreover, the Court warned
Sun twice that failure to comply with the Court’s orders may result in dismissal: first when Sun
chose to proceed pro se, and second when ordering him to show cause. See Dkt. ## 51, 64.
Finally, the Court considers the efficacy of a lesser sanction. Given that Sun has failed to file
anything in three months despite two dispositive motions filed by CFS2, a court order to show cause,
and two warnings that dismissal of his suit was a possibility, the Court sees no reason to believe a
lesser sanction would be effective. Thus, the Court finds that plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed
with prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that CFS2, Inc.’s motion to dismiss for lack of
prosecution (Dkt. # 61) is granted, and plaintiff’s claims are dismissed with prejudice for lack of
prosecution. A separate judgment of dismissal is entered herewith.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Ron Fossum’s motion to dismiss (Dkt. # 44) and CFS2,
Inc.’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. # 62) are moot.
DATED this 25th day of January, 2017.
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