United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge
April 17, 2018, this Court issued an Order requiring
Plaintiff Colton Spatz to update his address within 60 days
in compliance with Local Rule 5.2(b). (Doc. 9.) Mr. Spatz has
not filed a response to the Court's Order or a Notice of
Change of Address as required by Local Rule 5.2(a).
Accordingly, this matter should be dismissed pursuant to Rule
41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to
comply with the Court's April 17, 2018 Order and the
Court's Local Rules.
Court has the inherent power to sua sponte dismiss a case for
lack of prosecution or failure to comply with a court order.
Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1423 (9th Cir.
1986); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b); Ferdik v.
Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir. 1992). However,
dismissal is a harsh penalty and should be imposed as a
sanction only in extreme circumstances. Henderson,
779 F.2d at 1423.
following factors must be considered before dismissal is
imposed as a sanction for failure to prosecute or failure to
comply with a court order: (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/respondents; (4) the availability of less drastic
alternatives; and (5) the public policy favoring disposition
of cases on their merits. Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 291
F.3d 639 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Ferdik, 963 F.2d at
public's interest in expeditious resolution of litigation
always favors dismissal.” Yourish v. California
Amplifier, 191 F.3d 983, 990 (9th Cir. 1999). Without an
ability to communicate with Mr. Spatz, this matter could
linger indefinitely. This factor weighs in favor of
much the same reasons, the second factor supports dismissal.
The Ninth Circuit has noted that “[i]t is incumbent
upon us to preserve the district courts' power to manage
their docket without being subject to the endless vexatious
noncompliance of litigants. . . .” Ferdik, 963
F.2d at 1261. “The trial judge is in the best position
to determine whether the delay in a particular case
interferes with docket management and the public
interest.” Pagtalunan, 291 F.3d 639
(citing Yourish, 191 F.3d 983). The Court must be
able to manage its docket. It cannot do so if there is no way
to communicate with Mr. Spatz. Therefore, this factor favors
third factor requires the Court to weigh the risk of
prejudice to Defendants. “To prove prejudice, a
defendant must establish that plaintiff's actions
impaired defendant's ability to proceed to trial or
threatened to interfere with the rightful decision of the
case.” Malone v. United States Postal Service,
833 F.2d 128, 131 (9th Cir. 1987). Mr. Spatz's refusal to
update his address makes prejudice a foregone conclusion. The
longer this matter sits, the more prejudice to Defendants.
Court has considered the possibility of and provided less
drastic alternatives. Alternatives may include
“allowing further amended complaints, allowing
additional time, or insisting that appellant associate
experienced counsel.” Nevijel v. North Coast Life
Insurance Co., 651 F.2d 671, 674 (9th Cir. 1981).
Although less drastic alternatives to a dismissal should be
considered, the court is not required to exhaust all such
alternatives prior to dismissal. Id. Mr. Spatz was
advised on numerous occasions of the requirement of keeping
the Court and opposing counsel apprised of his current
address and the consequences of failing to do so.
See Notice of Case Opening (Doc. 3 at 2); February
27, 2018 Order (Doc. 4 at 9); April 17, 2018 Order to Update
Address (Doc. 9). He was given an opportunity to notify the
Court of his new address but has not done so. Given Mr.
Spatz's refusal to keep his address updated, the Court
can envision no further alternatives to dismissal.
last factor weighs against dismissal of the Complaint because
public policy favors the disposition of cases on their
merits. Pagtalunan, 291 F.3d 639 (citing
Hernandez v. City of El Monte, 138 F.3d 393, 399 (9th
Cir. 1998)). Since the other four factors weigh in favor of
dismissal, however, dismissal is an appropriate sanction.
upon the foregoing the Court issues the following:
matter should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Clerk of Court should
be directed to close this matter and enter judgment pursuant
to Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Clerk of Court should be directed to have the docket reflect
that the Court certifies pursuant to Rule 24(a)(3)(A) of the
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that any appeal of this
decision would not be taken in good faith.
OF RIGHT TO OBJECT TO FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS AND