MENDOZA v. LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Case No. CV 16-3504 JVS(JC).

ISAIAS MIGUEL MENDOZA, Plaintiff, v. LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Defendant.

United States District Court, C.D. California.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Cause: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Prisoner Civil Rights
Nature of Suit: 550 Prisoner: Civil Rights
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Isaias Miguel Mendoza, Plaintiff, Pro Se.


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING ACTION

JAMES V. SELNA, District Judge.

I. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

On May 20, 2016, Isaias Miguel Mendoza ("plaintiff"), who is currently at liberty, is proceeding without a lawyer (i.e., "pro se"), and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed what the Court construed to be a Complaint ("Original Complaint") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against Los Angeles County ("County") for alleged federal civil rights and state law violations related to plaintiff's detention at the Los Angeles County Jail. (Original Complaint at 1-6). Plaintiff essentially alleged that County personnel improperly notified federal immigration authorities of his assumed immigration status and improperly retained him in custody at the Los Angeles County jail after the issuance of a release order and without an immigration hold in order to permit immigration authorities to determine whether he was subject to removal from the United States.

On January 3, 2017, this Court screened the Original Complaint, notified plaintiff of multiple deficiencies therein, and dismissed the Original Complaint with leave to amend ("Dismissal Order"). (Docket No. 15). The Court granted plaintiff leave to file a First Amended Complaint within fourteen (14) days, i.e., by January 17, 2017, to the extent plaintiff was able to cure the pleading defects set forth in the Dismissal Order. (Docket No. 15 at 10). The Dismissal Order further directed plaintiff, in the event he elected not to proceed with this action, to file a Notice of Dismissal. (Docket No. 15 at 11). The Dismissal Order also provided the following warning:

Plaintiff is cautioned that, absent further order of the Court, plaintiff's failure timely to file a First Amended Complaint or Notice of Dismissal may result in the dismissal of this action with or without prejudice on the grounds set forth [in the Dismissal Order] and/or for failure diligently to prosecute, and/or failure to comply with the Court's [Dismissal] Order.

(Docket No. 15 at 11) (emphasis in original).

Plaintiff has not filed a First Amended Complaint or a Notice of Dismissal and has not requested an extension of time to do so.

II. DISCUSSION

Based upon the record and the applicable law, and as further discussed below, the Court dismisses this action due to plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, his failure to comply with the Dismissal Order, and his failure diligently to prosecute.

First, as explained in detail in the Dismissal Order, the Original Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Dismissal Order explained in detail what plaintiff needed to do to cure the deficiencies in his pleading, granted plaintiff ample leave to file an amended complaint to the extent he was able to cure the multiple pleading deficiencies identified, and warned plaintiff that the action would be dismissed if he failed timely to file such an amendment. Since plaintiff did not file an amended complaint despite having been given an opportunity to do so, the Court can only conclude that plaintiff is simply unable or unwilling to draft a complaint that states viable claims for relief. See, e.g., Knapp v. Hogan, 738 F.3d 1106, 1110 (9th Cir. 2013) ("When a litigant knowingly and repeatedly refuses to conform his pleadings to the requirements of the Federal Rules, it is reasonable to conclude that the litigant simply cannot state a claim.") (emphasis in original), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 57 (2014). Accordingly, dismissal of the instant action based upon plaintiff's failure to state a claim is appropriate.

Second, dismissal is appropriate based upon plaintiff's failure to comply with the Dismissal Order and the failure diligently to prosecute. It is well-established that a district court may sua sponte dismiss an action where a plaintiff has failed to comply with a court order and/or unreasonably failed to prosecute. See Link v. Wabash Railroad Co., 370 U.S. 626, 629-33 (1962); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir.) (as amended), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 915 (1992); see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 797 (9th Cir. 1991) (district court may sua sponte dismiss action "only for an unreasonable failure to prosecute") (citations omitted); see also Edwards v. Marin Park, Inc., 356 F.3d 1058, 1065 (9th Cir. 2004) (sua sponte dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b) proper sanction in cases where a plaintiff is notified of deficiencies in complaint and is given "the opportunity to amend [the complaint] or be dismissed" but the plaintiff "[does] nothing") (citations omitted; emphasis in original).

In determining whether to dismiss an action for failure to prosecute or failure to comply with court orders, a district court must consider several factors, namely (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 defendant; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5) the availability of less drastic alternatives. See In re Eisen, 31 F.3d 1447, 1451 (9th Cir. 1994) (failure to prosecute); Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1260-61 (failure to comply with court orders). Dismissal is appropriate "where at least four factors support dismissal . . . or where at least three factors `strongly' support dismissal." Hernandez v. City of El Monte, 138 F.3d 393, 399 (9th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted).1 Here, as at least the first three factors strongly support dismissal, the Court finds that plaintiff's unreasonable failure to prosecute his case and failure to comply with the Dismissal Order warrant dismissal.

III. ORDER

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this action is dismissed and that the Clerk enter judgment accordingly.

FootNotes


1. Where a plaintiff is proceeding pro se, a court must first notify the plaintiff of the deficiencies in the complaint so that the plaintiff has an opportunity "to amend effectively." Ferdik, 963 F.2d at 1261 (citation omitted). A district judge may not dismiss an action for failure to comply with a court order (e.g., the Dismissal Order) or for unreasonable failure to prosecute if the initial decision to dismiss a complaint was erroneous. Yourish v. California Amplifier, 191 F.3d 983, 992 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing id.). Here, as noted above, plaintiff has been notified of the deficiencies in the Original Complaint and has been afforded the opportunity to amend effectively. Further, the Court's Dismissal Order was not erroneous.

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