United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS CHRIS PACKARD'S AND THURSTON
COUNTY'S RENEWED MOTION AND MEMORANDUM FOR SUMMARY
J. BRYAN United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants Chris
Packard's and Thurston County's Renewed Motion and
Memorandum for Summary Judgment/Dismissal. Dkt. 66. The Court
has considered the motion and the remainder of the file
primary issue raised by the motion is whether Plaintiff
properly served Chris Packard and Thurston County
(hereinafter, “Thurston County Defendants”) under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. See Dkt. 66.
initially filed affidavits of mailing by certified mail, Dkt.
21, which is insufficient service of process. The Court
warned Plaintiff of their insufficiency under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4.
Dkt. 53 at 3. Plaintiff again filed affidavits of mailing by
certified mail, Dkts. 61-63, but thereafter filed pleadings
indicating that she hired a service of process professional.
See Dkt. 78 at 4-27. Plaintiff states that
“certified mail is clearly defined as acceptable,
however, in addition . . . a served order including a
complaint and summons has been initiated to . . . Thurston
County [and] Mr. Chris Packard.” Dkt. 76 at 2. See
also, Dkt. 76 at 3 (“They have been served both a
complaint and summons.”); Dkt.74 at ¶3
(“Everyone has been properly served.”).
submitted several sworn declarations by the hired process
server, all of which swear that a “SUMMONS IN A CIVIL
ACTION” was served. Dkt. 78 at 5, 11, 14, 15. None
reference service of the Complaint. See id.
County Defendants acknowledge that the process server
attempted service on Thurston County, but, they maintain,
service was attempted on departments or offices other than
the County Auditor, who is the person designated at law to
receive service. Dkt. 79 at 1, 2. See RCW
4.28.080(1). Regarding service on Chris Packard, Thurston
County Defendants acknowledge that service was attempted on
Chris Packard, but, they maintain, Chris Packard's father
was served the first page of the Summons, which was not
accompanied by the Complaint. Id. Thurston County
Defendants also object to Plaintiff's showing of personal
service as untimely. Id.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m), “if the plaintiff shows good cause
for the failure [to serve process], the court must extend the
time for service for an appropriate period.” The Court
finds- again-that there is a showing of good cause to extend
the time limit for service. Plaintiff suffers from physical
and mental health issues, and has made continued efforts to
perfect service of process. Plaintiff is self-represented,
she should be afforded deference and her pleadings liberally
construed. Soliz v. U.S., 851 F.2d 361 (1988). In
response to the Order (Dkt. 53 at 8), Plaintiff hired a
service of process professional who did not perfect service
of process, by all appearances not at the fault of Plaintiff.
Plaintiff has shown good cause, and should be given a limited
window of time to perfect service of process.
on the parties' submissions, the Court has identified
two errors that, if not remedied by Plaintiff by
March 16, 2018, should result in dismissal
for insufficient service of process.
(1) Defendants must be served with a copy of both the Summons
and the Complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(1). Despite
Plaintiff's representations to the contrary (Dkt. 76 at
2; Dkt. 78 at 2), the process server-who actually served
process-states by affidavit that she served the Summons, but
the affidavit makes no mention of serving the Complaint.
See Dkt. 78 at 5, 11, 14, 15.
(2) For purposes of serving Thurston County, “the
county auditor or, during normal office hours, [ ] the deputy
auditor” must be personally served. RCW 4.28.080(1).
Presumably for this reason, “Nancy said she would take
the documents, but is not accepting service” on behalf
of Thurston County. Dkt. 78 at 22. By statute, no other
person or department suffices.
remedy these errors, Plaintiff must file an affidavit or
sworn statement of the person who served process.
Plaintiff's own representations will not be a sufficient
Court notes that the Amended Complaint (Dkt. 28) controls who
is (and is not) part of this case. Because the Court
dismissed the City of Lacey Defendant, named as “City
of Lacey and Lacey Police Department, ” Dkt. 84, the
only remaining defendants are Thurston County and Chris
Packard. See Dkt. 28. Service of process on persons
other than Thurston County and Chris Packard is futile and a
waste of resources.
* * *
it is ...