Adam Hansan v. Fairfax County School Board


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:09-cv-00558-GBL-TRJ Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [998488787] [10-1218]

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Adam Hansan v. Fairfax County School Board Doc. 0 Case: 10-1218 Document: 22 Date Filed: 12/21/2010 Page: 1 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 10-1218 ADAM M. HANSAN, Plaintiff Appellant, v. FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant Appellee. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Gerald Bruce Lee, District Judge. (1:09-cv-00558-GBL-TRJ) Submitted: November 22, 2010 Decided: December 21, 2010 Before WILKINSON, NIEMEYER, and GREGORY, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. David P. Olslund, Arnold, Maryland, for Appellant. Thomas J. Cawley, Jill Marie Dennis, HUNTON & WILLIAMS, LLP, McLean, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Case: 10-1218 Document: 22 Date Filed: 12/21/2010 Page: 2 PER CURIAM: Adam Hansan appeals from the district court's order dismissing his case without prejudice for untimely service. Finding no reversible error, we affirm. Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a plaintiff to serve a defendant within 120 days after a complaint is filed. The district court must extend the 120- day period if the plaintiff shows good cause for his failure to timely serve the defendant. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m). Additionally, the district court has discretion to extend the period if the plaintiff can show excusable neglect for his failure to serve. Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b); Henderson v. United We review a dismissal for Shao v. States, 517 U.S. 654, 662-63 (1996). untimely or improper service for abuse of discretion. Link Cargo (Taiwan) Ltd., 986 F.2d 700, 708 (4th Cir. 1993). We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Hansan's case. as it was made almost fifteen months Service was untimely, after the original complaint was filed and over seven months after the case was transferred from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Further, Hansan was unable to establish good cause or excusable neglect justifying the 2 delay. Hansan argues that Case: 10-1218 Document: 22 Date Filed: 12/21/2010 Page: 3 there was good cause because he was effectively acting pro se while he searched for local counsel after his case was transferred and he believed that the Defendant had already been served. Pro se status, however, is insufficient to establish good cause, even where the pro se plaintiff mistakenly believes that service was made properly. 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) in to See McNeil v. United States, have never suggested should who that be ("[W]e procedural interpreted rules so as ordinary excuse civil mistakes litigation by those proceed without counsel."); (S.D.N.Y. 2006) Jonas v. Citibank, 414 F. Supp. 2d 411, 416 that a pro se plaintiff's mistaken (holding belief that service was proper did not amount to good cause). Additionally, Hansen provided no justification for his sevenmonth delay in finding local counsel in order to effect proper service, thus failing to demonstrate excusable neglect warranting an extension. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's order. dispense with oral argument because the facts and We legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 3

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