Waters v. Georgia Department of Corrections et al
ORDER denying 59 Motion for the Court's Help with Copies. Further, the Court extends the deadline for service to 1/5/2018 and directs the USMS to effect service on Alexander Taylor and Joseph Poss as described herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on 11/21/2017. (Attachments: # 1 USM-285) (pts)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS; WESLEY O’NEAL,
Correctional Unit Manager; JOSEPH POSS, )
Correctional Officer; JOSEPH SCOTT,
Correctional Officer; ANTONIO TAYLOR, )
Correctional Officer; ALEXANDER
TAYLOR, Correctional Officer;
ELLIS LORGE, Correctional Officer;
and JAMES MASON, Correctional Officer,1 )
Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Baldwin State Prison in Hardwick, Georgia,
commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 concerning events
allegedly occurring at Johnson State Prison. Before the Court are Defendants’ response to
the Court’s October 31, 2017 Order, (doc. no. 57), and Plaintiff’s Motion for the Court’s
Help with Copies (doc. no. 59).
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to update the name of Antonio Taylor on the docket,
consistent with docket number 57.
Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, he is entitled to rely on court
officials to effect service. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d). On October 31, 2017, the Court directed
defense counsel Matthew F. Boyer to inform the Court whether he would accept service for
the remaining unserved Defendants: Alexander Taylor, Antonio Taylor, and Joseph Poss.
(Doc. no. 56.) On November 13, 2017, defense counsel indicated he would accept service on
behalf of Antonio Taylor but not Joseph Poss or Alexander Taylor because he was unable to
locate or contact them. (Id.) Therefore, service of process shall be effected on these two
Defendants. To allow time for service, the Court EXTENDS the deadline for service to
forty-five days from the date of this Order.
The Court DIRECTS the U.S. Marshal to effect service on Defendant Alexander
Taylor in accordance with the Court’s March 17, 2017 Order. The United States Marshal
shall mail a copy of the complaint (doc. no. 1), the Court’s March 17, 2017 Order (doc. no. 16),
the Court’s October 31, 2017 Order (doc. no. 56), and this Order by first-class mail and request
that Defendant Taylor waive formal service of the summons. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Individual
defendants have a duty to avoid unnecessary costs of serving the summons, and if a defendant
fails to comply with the request for waiver, the defendant must bear the costs of personal service
unless good cause can be shown for failure to return the waiver. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2).
Because Defendant Poss had the opportunity but did not waive service, (see doc. no.
48), the Court DIRECTS the U.S. Marshal to effect personal service of process on him
within twenty-eight days of the date of this Order. Accordingly, the Marshal shall serve on
Defendant Poss a summons and complaint notifying him of the lawsuit and giving him
twenty-one days to answer, a copy the Court’s March 17th Order (doc. no. 16), and a copy
of this Order. The Marshal is FURTHER DIRECTED to notify the Court within twentyeight days of the date of this Order whether Defendant Joseph Poss has been located and
As stated above, a defendant that fails to comply with a request for waiver must bear
the costs of personal service unless good cause can be shown for failure to return the waiver.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2). Thus, as Defendant Poss has failed to waive service, he may be
subject to court-imposed expenses pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2)(A) and (B).
Also before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for the Court’s Help with Copies. (Doc.
no. 59.) In his motion, Plaintiff moves for (1) an extension of time to effect service of
process on Defendants Poss, Taylor, and Mason; (2) an extension of the discovery period for
Defendants GDOC, O’Neal, and Lorge; (3) permission to contact inmates at other facilities
for information regarding his case; and (4) a request for copies of litigation material. (Id.)
For reasons stated below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motions to extend the discovery
period, contact inmates at other facilities, and request for copies, and DENIES AS MOOT
Plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time to effect service. (Id.)
As noted in the Court’s October 31st Order, the discovery period has not yet begun in
this case. (Doc. no. 56.) The Clerk of Court has yet to file a Scheduling Notice setting
deadlines in the case, including the time limits for the discovery period. Accordingly, the
Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motions for permission to contact inmates at other facilities and to
extend the discovery period as premature.
Additionally, Plaintiff requests the Court for copies of legal documents. (Doc. no.
59.) Plaintiff is not entitled to free copies of legal documents. Wanninger v. Davenport, 697
F.2d 992, 994 (11th Cir. 1983) (“A prisoner’s right of access to the court does not include the
right of free unlimited access to a photocopying machine . . . .”); see also Jackson v. Florida
Dep’t of Fin. Servs., 479 F. App’x 289, 292-93 (11th Cir. 2012) (“This Court has never held
that a prisoner’s right of access to the courts entitles a prisoner-plaintiff, even one proceeding
in forma pauperis, to free copies of court documents, including his own pleadings.”). Thus,
the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion.
Plaintiff also moves for an extension of time to effect service of process on
Defendants Poss, Taylor, and Mason. (Doc. no. 59.) Defendant James Mason has waived
service and filed an answer. (Doc. nos. 51, 53.) Above, the Court extends the service period
for Defendants Joseph Poss and Alexander Taylor to allow the Marshal to effect service on
these defendants. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED AS MOOT.
For the reasons stated above, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motions to extend the
discovery period, contact inmates at other facilities, and request for copies (doc. no. 59),
DENIES AS MOOT Plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time to effect service (doc. no.
59), EXTENDS the service deadline to forty-five days from the date of this Order, and
DIRECTS the U.S. Marshal to effect service on Defendants Alexander Taylor and Joseph
Poss as described above.
SO ORDERED this 21st day of November, 2017, at Augusta, Georgia.
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