United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER ON DEFENDANT CHRIS PACKARD'S AND THURSTON
COUNTY'S MOTION TO DISMISS/ SUMMARY JUDGMENT
J. BRYAN United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on the Motion to
Dismiss/Summary Judgment filed by Chris Packard and Thurston
County (collectively, “the Thurston County
Defendants”). Dkt. 34. The Court has reviewed the
motion and the remainder of the file herein.
U.S.C. §1983 case arises from Plaintiff's negative
encounter with law enforcement on July 4, 2014. Plaintiff
e-filed the Complaint on July 5, 2017, the last day to file
under the applicable three year statute of limitations, given
the July 4th holiday. Dkts. 1-2, 1-9.
discussion, Dkt. 24 at 3-6. The Complaint named as
defendants Lacey Police Department and “Chris Packard
c/o Lacey Police Department, ” both with the same
mailing address of 420 College St. SE, Lacey, Washington.
Dkt. 1-2 at 1.
September 14, 2017, Donald R. Peters, Jr., Senior Deputy
Prosecuting Attorney for Thurston County, entered a Special
Notice of Appearance on behalf of Chris Packard,
“without waiving objections as to improper service,
jurisdiction, or venue.” Dkt. at 10. The notice
“directs that all notices and pleadings other than
original process . . . be served upon said attorneys at the
below address.” Id. at 2. An Answer filed on
behalf of Defendant Packard also raises affirmative defenses
of service of process and statute of limitations. Dkt. 14 at
2. Mr. Peters first became aware of the lawsuit against
Defendant Packard on September 1, 2017, when he received an
email from counsel to the City of Lacey advising of the
lawsuit. Dkt. 49-1.
October 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a signed letter, addressed
to the Court, that explains Plaintiff's attempts at
service of process. Dkt. 21 at 1. Plaintiff writes, “I
believe I followed the rules correctly, however, I am not an
attorney . . . . Here is my proof. If I am wrong, I am asking
for an extension on the proper way to serve these entities
and with an attorney present.” Attached to the letter
are what Plaintiff describes as “copies of the receipts
of service to John E Justice, Donald R Peters Jr, sent to The
City Clerk 420 College St. SE, Lacey, WA 98503.”
Id. see Id. at 2-11. A certified mail
receipt shows delivery to that address on August 25, 2017.
See id. at 2, 7.
November 2, 2017, the Court issued an Order on a Motion for
Summary Judgment filed by Defendant City of Lacey, finding
that “Lacey Police Department” is not a
properly-named defendant. Dkt. 24 at 8. The Court directed
dismissal of Lacey Police Department from the case if
Plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint properly naming
the City of Lacey. Id. Plaintiff filed the Amended
Complaint on November 20, 2017 and named three defendants:
(1) “Lacey Police Department and City of Lacey, ”
located at 420 College St. SE in Lacey, Washington; (2)
“Chris Packard c/o -Officer, ” located at 2000
Lakeridge Dr. SW in Olympia, Washington; and (3)
“Thurston County a Political subdivision of the State
of WA (Sheriff's Depart.), ” also located at 2000
Lakeridge Dr. SW in Olympia, Washington. Dkt. 28 at 2. The
Amended Complaint alleges substantially the same set of
facts. See Dkts. 1-2 and 28.
December 13, 2017, all parties filed a Joint Status Report.
Dkt. 41 at 7. Mr. Peters noted that he “declined to
participate in 26(f) Conference-no jurisdiction over Thurston
County defendants[.]” Id. A Scheduling Order
issued December 15, 2017, sets out a case schedule, including
a discovery deadline of July 2, 2018, and jury trial date of
October 29, 2018. Dkt. 42.
Thurston County Defendants filed this Motion to
Dismiss/Summary Judgment on December 1, 2017. Dkt. 34. The
motion seeks dismissal based on lack of service of process
and the failure to initiate the action within the statute of
limitations. Id. The motion also raises arguments
particular to Defendant Thurston County, because it was not
named in the Complaint and was only later added in the
Amended Complaint. Id.
Service of process on Defendant Packard and Defendant
Improper means of service of process.
certified mail received on August 25 2017, Plaintiff
attempted to serve the pleadings on Defendant Packard. Dkt.
21. Service by certified mail is an insufficient means to
serve Defendant Packard under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. Defendant
Packard has raised lack of service of process as an
affirmative defense in his Answer. See Dkt. 14. The