United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONSOFUNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge.
October 9, 2018, this Court issued a Scheduling Order
requiring the parties to file an initial disclosure statement
and to disclose relevant documents within 60 days.
(Scheduling Order, Doc. 20 at 1-3.) Mr. Seguss failed to
comply and on January 4, 2019, the Court issued an Order
requiring Mr. Seguss to file his disclosure statement as
required by the Scheduling Order within 30 days. (Doc. 33.)
The Order was returned as undeliverable on January 22, 2019
and remailed to Mr. Seguss at the Great Falls Transition
Center which was the address listed for Mr. Seguss on the
Department of Corrections website. (Doc. 34.) Mr. Seguss
filed a Notice of Change of Address on February 1, 2019
verifying his transfer to the Great Falls Transition Center
(Doc. 35) but he still did not file a disclosure statement.
On March 1, 2019, the Court issued another order requiring
Mr. Seguss to file his disclosure statement on or before
March 19, 2019. (Doc. 36.) Mr. Seguss was specifically
advised that a failure to comply with the Court's Orders
would result in a recommendation that this matter be
dismissed. (Docs. 33, 36); see also Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(b); Malone v. U.S. Postal Service, 833 F.2d 128
(9th Cir. 1987)(a court may dismiss an action, with
prejudice, for failure to obey a court order). Mr. Seguss has
not filed a disclosure statement.
upon Mr. Seguss's failure to comply with the Court's
October 9, 2018 Scheduling Order (Doc. 20) and the
Court's Orders of January 4, 2019 and March 1, 2019
(Docs. 33, 36), this matter should be dismissed pursuant to
Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
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). Discovery
closed in this case on March 15, 2019 (Scheduling Order, Doc.
20 at 8) and Mr. Seguss has failed to comply with Court
imposed discovery obligations. 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 Mr. Seguss
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. Seguss's refusal
to comply with Court orders makes prejudice a foregone
conclusion. The longer this matter sits, the more prejudice
Court has considered 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
dismissal should be considered, the court is not required to
exhaust all such alternatives prior to dismissal.
Id. Mr. Seguss was made aware of his disclosure
obligations in the Court's October 9, 2018 Scheduling
Order. (Doc. 20.) The Court has given Mr. Seguss additional
time to comply with his disclosure obligations and warned him
about the consequences of not complying in its Orders of
January 4, 2019 and March 1, 2019. (Docs. 33, 36). Mr. Seguss
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 comply with the Court's Orders.
upon the foregoing, the Court issues the following:
1. This 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 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
and terminate all pending motions.
2. The 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