United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER EXTENDING TIME FOR SERVICE
A. TSUCHIDA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
reasons set forth herein, the Court is extending Plaintiff
Lee Patrick Johnson's deadline to serve the defendant
identified as “Captain Cline.”
19, 2017, the Court directed service of the summons and
amended complaint on Defendants Sgt. Michael Allen, Captain
Cline, and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph
Marchesano. Dkt. 22. On May 30, 2017, the summons and
complaint for Captain Cline were returned as undeliverable;
marked “NOT HERE.” Dkt. 23. On June 1, 2017, the
Court directed Defendants Allen and Marchesano to provide, in
the form of a confidential memo, Defendant Clines'
forwarding address. Dkt. 24. Defendants advised that they
possess no forwarding address for Captain Cline, no such
person is now nor was employed by the DAJD during the time
frames alleged in Plaintiff's complaint, and a review of
a list of current and past DAJD employees revealed no
employees with the last name of “Cline.” Dkt. 28.
19, 2017, the Court directed Plaintiff to provide a current
service address for Captain Cline. Dkt. 29. Plaintiff was
cautioned that his failure to comply with the Court's
Order would result in a recommendation that Defendant Cline
be dismissed from this case for failure to prosecute.
Id. Following an extension of time (Dkt. 36),
Plaintiff provided three addresses for Captain Cline. Dkt.
38. All three addresses are offices of the DAJD. Id.
On September 13, 2017, the Court directed service on Captain
Cline at the three addresses provided by Plaintiff. Dkt. 39.
All three mailings were returned as undeliverable, marked
“Not Here” (Dkt. 40); “Need Person, Full
Names” (Dkt. 41); and “Not Here” (Dkt. 42).
allegations against Captain “Cline” are based on
a June 21, 2016 grievance response: “Sgt. Allen's
response to you is correct. Your non-legal mail (both
incoming and outgoing) will continue to be screened. Inmates
have no expectation of privacy in King County Detention
facilities.” Dkt. 1-2. It appears that the staff person
who signed the grievance is a captain as “CPT”
precedes the last name, but it is entirely unclear whether
the last name is in fact “Cline.”
Johnson has previously been advised, a proper summons and
complaint on each named defendant for the Court to have
jurisdiction over that defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4;
Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am.v. Brenneke, 551
F.3d 1132, 1135 (9th Cir. 2009) (“A federal court is
without personal jurisdiction over a defendant unless the
defendant has been served in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P.
4.”)). A plaintiff proceeding in forma
pauperis still bears the burden of providing accurate
and sufficient information to effect service of the summons
and complaint. When a pro se plaintiff fails to provide the
court with accurate and sufficient information to effect
service of the summons and complaint, the Court's sua
sponte dismissal of the unserved defendant is
appropriate. Walker v. Sumner, 14 F.3d 1415, 1421-22
(9th Cir. 1994) (quoting Puett v. Blanford, 912 F.2d
270, 275 (9th Cir. 1990)), abrogated on other grounds by
Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472 (1995). If a defendant is
not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the
Court, on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff,
must dismiss the action without prejudice against that
defendant or order that service be made within a specified
time. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).
been more than 90 days since the amended complaint was filed,
and all attempts to serve “Captain Cline” since
that time have been unsuccessful. However, as it appears that
Mr. Johnson may have misidentified the person who signed the
grievance appeal (see Dkt. 1-2 at 2), the Court is
extending the deadline for service so that Mr. Johnson may
take steps to identify the staff person, e.g., by
serving an interrogatory or request for production on the
existing defendants to provide information as to the staff
it is ORDERED:
Plaintiff's deadline to serve the amended complaint on
“Captain Cline” or the individual identified as
the staff person who signed the grievance appeal on June 2,
2016, is extended to November 29, 2017. If
Plaintiff fails to take steps to determine the identity of
the "Captain defendant, ” the Court will recommend
that this unidentified defendant be dismissed.
Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to the