United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division
BRADLEY V. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
MONTANA STATE PRISON, WARDEN MICHAEL FLETCHER, MARRISA BOSTWICK and TIFFANY MORRISON, Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
JOHNSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Bradley Jackson is a state prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis and without counsel. On October 15, 2018, this Court
issued a Scheduling Order requiring the parties to file an
initial disclosure statement within 60 days and to exchange
documents which may be used in proving or denying any
party's claims or defenses. (Doc. 12 at 1-3, ¶ I(A),
(B).) Mr. Jackson did not timely file a disclosure statement.
January 2, 2019, this Court issued an Order requiring Mr.
Jackson to file this statement within 30 days. Mr. Jackson
was specifically advised that a failure to do so would result
in a recommendation that this matter be dismissed for failure
to comply with a court order. (Doc. 17.) Mr. Jackson did not
upon Mr. Jackson's failure to comply with the Court's
Orders dated October 15, 2018 (Doc. 12) and January 2, 2019
(Doc. 17), this matter should be dismissed pursuant to Rule
41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The 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).
Dismissal, however, 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). This case
is at a critical stage in that it is the beginning of the
discovery process and Mr. Jackson has failed to comply with
Court imposed discovery obligations. This factor weighs in
favor of dismissal.
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 Mr. Jackson
refuses to comply with Court imposed deadlines. Therefore,
this factor favors dismissal.
third factor requires the Court to weigh the risk of
prejudice to the 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. Jackson's refusal
to litigate this matter makes prejudice a foregone
conclusion. The longer this matter sits, the more prejudice
Court has considered and provided less drastic 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 dismissal should
be considered, the court is not required to exhaust all such
alternatives prior to dismissal. Id. Mr. Jackson was
made aware of his disclosure obligations in the Court's
October 15, 2018 and January 2, 2019 Orders. (Docs. 12, 17.)
Mr. Jackson did not respond. The Court can envision no
further alternatives to dismissal.
last factor weighs against dismissal 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)).
But in light of the other four factors favoring dismissal,
the Court finds that this matter should be dismissed for
failure to prosecute and failure to comply with the
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, enter judgment pursuant to
Rule 58 of the ...