United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (1) GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS, (2) DENYING
MOTIONS TO AMEND AND FOR EQUITABLE RELIEF [ECF NOS. 6, 12,
P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
James Williams brought this lawsuit in state court against
the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Sheriff Joseph
Lombardo, Joshua Bromley, Jimmy Ruiz, Chris Heim, Bonnie
Polley, Theodore Schafer, Shane Stephens, David Rose, and
Logan Jex (collectively, the “LVMPD Defendants”),
Joseph Negri, James Deane, Clark County District Attorney
Steven B. Wolfson, and Deputy District Attorney Frank
Logrippo. He alleges civil rights violations related to
conditions of confinement that occurred while he was
incarcerated at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) and
two Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) facilities.
LVMPD defendants removed the case to federal court and moved
to dismiss, arguing Williams failed to prosecute his case by
waiting four years before serving any defendants and by
delaying litigation with continuous motions to amend his
complaint. ECF No. 6 at 9. They contend they are prejudiced
given how much time has passed since the alleged violations
occurred. Id. at 10. Finally, they argue Williams
has failed to state a claim against any of the LVMPD
defendants. Id. at 12-15.
joined that motion to dismiss and filed his own motion
arguing, among other things, that he should be dismissed from
the case because none of the allegations in the operative
complaint is against him. See ECF Nos. 12 at 1-2,
5-6; 13. The LVMPD defendants joined Negri’s motion,
James Deane joined both motions, and DA Wolfson and Deputy DA
Logrippo joined the LVMPD defendants’ motion. ECF Nos.
14; 15; 18; 19.
responded to the LVMPD defendants’ motion, arguing that
the defendants’ actions caused him to be unable to do
any meaningful work on his case because they interfered with
his ability to access the courts. ECF No. 9 at 3-4. He did
not respond to Negri’s motion, so I grant Negri’s
motion as unopposed. LR 7-2(d).
also moves to amend his complaint and for equitable relief.
ECF Nos. 32; 33. The proposed amended complaint is nearly
identical to a prior proposed amended complaint I already
denied. See ECF Nos. 21; 31.
courts have the inherent power to control their dockets and
“[i]n the exercise of that power they may impose
sanctions including, where appropriate . . . dismissal”
of a case. Thompson v. Hous. Auth. of City of Los
Angeles, 782 F.2d 829, 831 (9th Cir. 1986). A court may
dismiss an action with prejudice based on a party’s
failure to prosecute, to obey a court order, or to comply
with local rules. See Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52,
53-54 (9th Cir. 1995) (dismissal for noncompliance with local
rule); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61
(9th Cir. 1992) (dismissal for failure to comply with an
order requiring amendment of complaint); Carey v.
King, 856 F.2d 1439, 1440-41 (9th Cir. 1988) (dismissal
for failure to comply with local rule requiring pro
se plaintiffs to keep court apprised of address);
Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 1423-24 (9th
Cir. 1986) (dismissal for lack of prosecution and failure to
comply with local rules).
determining whether to dismiss an action for failure to
prosecute under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), I must
consider: “(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; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of
cases on their merits and (5) the availability of less
drastic sanctions.” Henderson, 779 F.2d at
the first three factors weigh in favor of dismissal. Williams
filed his complaint in July 2014 but did not serve the
defendants until December 2018. See ECF Nos. 1-1 at
2; 1-7 at 42; 1-8 at 1-33. While the state court allowed him
to amend his complaint in February 2017, he did not serve the
defendants with the amended complaint for another 22 months.
Id.; see also ECF No. 1-3 at 34. And almost
none of the named defendants appears in the allegations in
the amended complaint. See ECF No. 12-2. Further, a
presumption of injury arises from unreasonable delay in
prosecuting an action. See Anderson v. Air West, 542
F.2d 522, 524 (9th Cir. 1976). Williams continues to delay
this case by filing motions to amend his complaint, including
a recent version that is nearly identical to a prior proposed
complaint that was already denied in this case.
argues the delay was due to the defendants’ actions.
ECF No. 9 at 3-4. He asks me to look at an inoperative
amended complaint for evidence that the defendants interfered
with his access to the courts. Id. at 4. But even
that document does not present evidence to refute that he
failed to prosecute his case. For example, between February
2017, when he was granted leave to amend his complaint, and
December 2018, when he finally served the defendants,
Williams was able to file two emergency motions and a change
of address in another case. See Williams v. F.N.U. Clark
et al., 2:14-cv-00414-APG-PAL, ECF Nos. 99; 103; 104. He
was also able to file a new complaint in yet another case and
actively participate in that case. See Williams v. Las
Vegas Metro. Police Dep’t et al.,
2:16-cv-03020-APG-NJK, ECF Nos. 4; 5; 6; 7; 9. Finally, he
was not in CCDC or NDOC custody throughout the entire period.
Williams cannot blame the defendants for interfering with his
ability to timely serve the defendants and prosecute his
fourth factor (public policy favoring disposition of cases on
their merits) is greatly outweighed by the factors in favor
of dismissal. As to the fifth factor (the availability of
less drastic sanctions), there are no better alternatives.
Williams admits that he is not new to litigation.
See ECF No. 9 at 3. He was able to prosecute other
actions, but apparently chose not to pursue this one.
Further, he has been warned to stop filing duplicative
motions, yet he continues to do so. Given all this, the
appropriate sanction is dismissal.
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff James Williams’s
motions for leave to file an amended complaint and for