333 F.R.D. 1 (D.D.C. 2019), 1:19-cv-01956 (TNM), Morrissey v. Wolf

Docket Nº:1:19-cv-01956 (TNM)
Citation:333 F.R.D. 1
Opinion Judge:TREVOR N. McFADDEN, U.S.D.J.
Party Name:Paul S. MORRISSEY, Plaintiff, v. Chad F. WOLF, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,[1] Defendant.
Attorney:Jay P. Holland, Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A., Greenbelt, MD, for Plaintiff.
Case Date:November 15, 2019
Court:United States District Courts, District of Columbia

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333 F.R.D. 1 (D.D.C. 2019)

Paul S. MORRISSEY, Plaintiff,

v.

Chad F. WOLF, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security,1 Defendant.

No. 1:19-cv-01956 (TNM)

United States District Court, District of Columbia

November 15, 2019

Jay P. Holland, Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A., Greenbelt, MD, for Plaintiff.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

TREVOR N. McFADDEN, U.S.D.J.

Plaintiff Paul S. Morrissey moves to reinstate his Complaint. The Court dismissed it under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). This rule requires a plaintiff to serve a defendant within 90 days of filing a complaint. Morrissey filed his Complaint on June 28, 2019, so he had to serve the Defendant by September 26. The Court reminded Morrissey of his obligation under Rule 4(m) and ordered that "by no later than September 26, 2019, the Plaintiff must either cause process to be served upon the Defendant and file proof of service with the Court or establish good cause for the failure to do so." 9/12/19 Minute Order. Morrissey did not do so, and the Court dismissed the Complaint.

Morrissey represents that he did in fact serve the Defendant before September 26 and that his counsel’s medical appointment during the week of September 23 prevented him from timely filing proof of service. See Mot. to Reinstate at 1-2. He asks the Court to accept the exhibits attached to his motion to reinstate as proof of service. Id. at 3-4. But these exhibits fail to show that Morrissey properly served the Defendant.

The governing provision is Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(i)(2), which tells a plaintiff what he must do to serve "a United States agency or corporation, or a United States officer or employee sued only in an official capacity." The caption of the Complaint names Kevin McAleenan, then Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, as the Defendant. Compl. at 1. The Complaint asserts that Morrissey is bringing his action "against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, United States Secret Service (‘Defendant’ or

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‘Agency’)," and that "Defendant is a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security." Id. at 1-2. Morrissey’s action is thus one against "a United States agency or corporation, or a United States officer or employee sued only in an official capacity." Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(i)(2).

To serve such a defendant, a plaintiff "must serve the United States and also send a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to the agency, corporation, officer, or employee." Id. (emphasis added). The exhibits attached to Morrisseys motion show that he sent a copy of the summons and Complaint to the service agent...

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