WARD v. VOGEL
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on August 20, 2014. (AG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MILTON N. WARD III,
Civ. Action No. 13-1411 (ESH)
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, sues Stephen Vogel, a former officer
of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
claims that Vogel searched his automobile while investigating a traffic accident in violation of
the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures. (See Compl.
[Dkt. # 4].)
A claim under § 1983 is properly brought against the individual wrongdoer in his
personal capacity. See Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991) (“Personal-capacity suits . . . seek
to impose individual liability upon a government officer for actions taken under color of state
law.”); Brown v. Wilhelm, 819 F. Supp. 2d 41, 43 (D.D.C. 2011) (§ 1983 claims “are cognizable
against the individual in his or her personal capacity only”) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1948 (2009); Simpkins v. District of Columbia Gov't, 108 F.3d 366, 369 (D.C. Cir. 1997)).
To render a judgment against a defendant in a § 1983 case, the Court must obtain personal
jurisdiction. Hence, “[w]ithout valid service of summons or a waiver of service, the Court
cannot establish proper venue and personal jurisdiction over the defendants, and the case may
not proceed.” Pollard v. District of Columbia, 285 F.R.D. 125, 127 (D.D.C. 2012) (quoting
Mann v. Castiel, 729 F. Supp. 2d 191, 196 (D.D.C. 2010)).
The record shows that since January 6, 2014, the court officers have made efforts to serve
Vogel with process at the addresses plaintiff has provided and at a last known address submitted
in camera by MPD’s General Counsel. On August 8, 2014, the Court was notified that the
Marshals Service has made four attempts to serve defendant at the last known address without
success.1 Hence, the Court has no choice but to dismiss this case without prejudice. A separate
Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
/s/ Ellen Segal Huvelle
ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE
United States District Judge
DATE: August 20, 2014
The return of service will be filed with defendant’s address information redacted.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?