United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is in personam Defendant Donald P.
Wang's response to the court's order to show cause.
(2d Resp. (Dkt. # 48).) Mr. Wang is proceeding pro
se. (See Dkt.) The court has considered Mr.
Wang's response and declaration, the relevant portions of
the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised, the
court enters a monetary sanction of $250.00 for Mr.
Wang's failure to follow the court's orders.
23, 2018, the court held a pretrial conference in this
matter, and Mr. Wang did not appear. (See 7/23/18
Min. Entry (Dkt. # 38).) Counsel for Plaintiff George Johnson
represented that based on their conversations with Mr. Wang,
Mr. Wang was aware of the conference and his need to attend.
(See Pl. Resp. (Dkt. # 46) at 1-2.) Moreover, the
court had notified Mr. Wang of the conference date and the
potential consequences for failing to appear. (See
Sched. Order (Dkt. # 23); 7/11/18 Order (Dkt. # 37); Dkt.
(6/27/18 entry)); Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 11(c) (stating
that the court may consider a failure to “appear at
[the] pretrial conference . . . an abandonment or failure to
prosecute or defend diligently, and judgment may be entered
against that party”). In addition, instead of filing an
agreed proposed pretrial order per the court's scheduling
order, Mr. Wang filed his own proposal a day late.
(See Sched. Order at 2 (setting July 23, 2018, as
the date for the parties' agreed pretrial order); Def.
Pretrial Order (Dkt. # 41) (filed on July 24, 2018).) Because
of his failure to appear, the court ordered Mr. Wang to show
cause why the court should not enter default against him and
issue sanctions of $2, 000.00. (See OSC (Dkt. # 39) at
previous filing, Mr. Wang stated that his failure to attend
was nothing “more than a simple misreading of [court]
orders that were changing fairly rapidly.” (1st Resp.
(Dkt. # 42) at 3.) In the declaration accompanying that
filing, he stated that he believed “the court was going
to hold the pre-hearing conference after [the parties]
submitted the pretrial order, ” and that “[a]t
the time of the hearing[, he] was putting the final touches
[on his] version of the pretrial order.” (Wang Decl.
(Dkt. # 42-1) ¶ 1.) He further states that he does
“not know why [he] did not read th[e] email” from
June 27, 2018, which informed him that the court had reset
the pretrial conference. (Id.; see also
Dkt. (6/27/18 entry).)
his tardy pretrial order, Mr. Wang explained that
“[w]hen the court moved up the deadline for the
prehearing, it did not notify the parties that the deadline
for the pretrial order would have to be moved up as
well.” (1st Resp. at 4.) However, the court's
scheduling order-issued on May 15, 2017-stated that the
agreed pretrial order was due on July 23, 2018-a date that
has never changed. (See Sched. Order at 2; Dkt.) And
Mr. Wang did not explain why he filed a separate pretrial
order rather than a jointly filed order as required. (See
generally 1st Resp.; Wang Decl.; Sched. Order at 2.)
latest response, Mr. Wang reiterates that he did not miss the
pretrial conference in “a deliberate attempt . . . to
show disrespect to either the court or opposing
counsel.” (2d Resp. at 1.) He once again characterizes
his failure to appear as “result[ing] from an oversight
in interpreting an email that [he] thought was one previously
sent.” (Id.) He now adds that he was assaulted
by a stranger on July 16, 2018, and was handling the fallout
from that incident-including filing a police report and
dealing with a loose front tooth-at the time of the
conference. (Id. at 1-3.)
federal court's inherent authority allows it to
“fashion an appropriate sanction for conduct [that]
abuses the judicial process.” Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Co. v. Haeger, ___ U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. 1178, 1186
(2017); see also Fink v. Gomez, 239 F.3d 989, 991
(9th Cir. 2001) (“Three primary sources of authority
enable courts to sanction parties or their lawyers for
improper conduct: (1) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11,
which applies to signed writings filed with the court, (2) 28
U.S.C. § 1927, which is aimed at penalizing conduct that
unreasonably and vexatiously multiplies the proceedings, and
(3) the court's inherent power.”). This inherent
authority includes the ability “to impose sanctions for
bad faith, which includes a broad range of willful improper
conduct, ” Fink, 239 F.3d at 992, such as the
disobedience of a court order, see, e.g., Aloe
Vera of Am., Inc. v. United States, 376 F.3d 960, 964-65
(9th Cir. 2004) (citing Fink, 239 F.3d at 991). The
court does not simply disregard a party's pro se
status when considering sanctions, see Curt-Allen: Of the
Family Byron v. Lovick, No. C10-0609JLR, 2010 WL
3122822, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 9, 2010) (quoting Warren
v. Guelker, 29 F.3d 1386, 1390 (9th Cir. 1994)), because
a pro se party “should not be allowed to
willfully and in bad faith interfere with the court's
ability to manage its docket and resolve litigation
expeditiously, ” Garity v. Donahue, No.
2:11-cv-01805-MMD-CWH, 2014 WL 1168913, at *6 (D. Nev. Mar.
court appreciates that misunderstandings can happen, but Mr.
Wang's conduct displays a pattern of willful disregard
for the court's orders. Despite Mr. Wang's
characterizations, several court orders directed the parties
to appear for the July 23, 2018, pretrial conference and to
file an agreed proposed pretrial order that same day.
(See Sched. Order; 7/11/18 Order; Dkt. (6/27/18
entry).) Mr. Wang did neither of those things. His failure to
comply has hindered Mr. Johnson's ability to prepare for
trial and wasted valuable court time. Although Mr. Wang is
proceeding pro se, he is nevertheless responsible
for following court orders-a responsibility he has not
fulfilled. See King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d
565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987). For those reasons, the court orders
Mr. Wang to pay a sanction of $250.00 within 10 days of the
date of this order. Should Mr. Wang fail to do so, the court
will consider additional sanctions, including entry of
foregoing reasons, the court ORDERS Mr. Wang to pay a
sanction of $250.00 no later than ten (10) ...