Willingham v. United States of America et al
ORDER for the Plaintiff to explain the reason(s) for the delay in service of process and why this case should not be dismissed without prejudice for failure to timely effect service within fourteen days from the date of this Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on 10/08/2019. (Attachments: # 1 Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 4(m)) (jlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
LOUIS WILLINGHAM, SR.,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and
CROWDER STEWART, LLP,
Plaintiff filed the above-captioned case on March 22, 2019, and because he is
proceeding pro se, on May 24, 2019 the Court provided him with basic instructions regarding
the development and progression of this case. (Doc. no. 9.) The Court explained Plaintiff is
responsible for serving Defendants and explained how service could be accomplished. (Id. at
1-2.) The Court specifically informed Plaintiff, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m), he had ninety
days from the complaint filing to accomplish service and that failure to accomplish service
could result in dismissal of the case. (Id. at 3.)
On July 31, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for a non-specific extension of time to
effect service, assuming the service deadline ended ninety days after filing the complaint on
June 20, 2019. (Doc. no. 10.) On August 1, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff an extension
through and including September 30, 2019, to properly effect service of process. (Doc. no.
11.) Additionally, the Court again instructed Plaintiff service must be completed according
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and failure to properly serve Defendants and docket
such proof by the deadline may result in dismissal. (Id.) Now, the September 30th deadline
has elapsed, and there is no evidence in the record that any Defendant has been served.
Indeed, there has been no case activity docketed since the Court’s August 1st Order.
Rule 4(m) empowers courts with discretion to extend the time for service when a
plaintiff demonstrates good cause for failing to timely serve process or any other
circumstances warrant an extension of time. Henderson v. United States, 517 U.S. 654, 66263 (1996); Lepone-Dempsey v. Carroll Cty. Comm’rs, 476 F.3d 1277, 1282 (11th Cir. 2007);
Horenkamp v. Van Winkle & Co., 402 F.3d 1129, 1132 (11th Cir. 2005). Accordingly,
Plaintiff shall have fourteen days from the date of this Order to explain the reason(s) for the
delay in service of process and why this case should not be dismissed without prejudice for
failure to timely effect service. The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to attach a copy of
Rule 4(m) to this Order for Plaintiff’s perusal.
SO ORDERED this 8th day of October, 2019, at Augusta, Georgia.
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