Chisolm v. 1st Battalion 75th Regiment Employees of the US Army
ORDER denying 4 Motion for Marshal Service. Signed by Magistrate Judge G. R. Smith on 9/20/17. (jlm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
HAR’RELL CHISOLM, PA
1ST BATTALION 75TH REGIMENT )
EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. ARMY,
This case involves civil claims arising from Staff Sergeant Avonye
See doc. 1 (Complaint).
Plaintiff, Staff Sergeant
Chisholm’s father, alleges several tort claims against various military
personnel arising out his son’s death during what the military states was
a parachute training exercise, though plaintiff disputes the veracity of
See id. at 4, 17-19.
Plaintiff requests service of his
Complaint and summons on defendants by a United States Marshal. See
In general, “[t]he plaintiff is responsible for having the summons
and complaint served within the time allowed by Rule 4(m) . . . .” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 4(c)(1). Marshal service is mandated only for plaintiffs authorized
to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP), i.e., plaintiffs unable to pay the
Court’s filing fee because of poverty, or seamen. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3).
Since plaintiff was not authorized to proceed IFP and does not allege he
is a seaman, he is not entitled to Marshal service.
Although Marshal service is not mandated, “[a]t the plaintiff’s
request, the court may order” it.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(1) (emphasis
added); see also Bax v. Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, 216 F.R.D. 4, 4
(D.D.C. 2003) (court has discretion to order marshal service for non-IFP,
non-seaman plaintiffs). In exercising its discretion the Court is “mindful
that Congress amended Rule 4 primarily to relieve United States
[M]arshals of the burden of serving summonses and complaints in
private civil actions.” Bax, 216 F.R.D. at 5 (quotes and cite omitted).
Thus, “a plaintiff requesting service by the United States Marshal first
must attempt service by some other means authorized by Rule 4.” Id.
Plaintiff does not indicate any attempt to serve
defendants, and the Court finds no reason to excuse him from making
such an attempt.1
Although the Court is mindful of plaintiff’s pro-se status, such plaintiffs are not a
group which Congress has identified as entitled to Marshal service. See Bax, 216
F.R.D. at 5. Further, plaintiff has informed the Court, in his Complaint, that he has
experience as a paralegal. See doc. 1 at 3 (plaintiff is, among other titles, a “SelfEmployed Paralegal”). Such training should allow plaintiff to at least attempt
service by private means. In order to ensure that he has adequate time to attempt
Plaintiffs Motion for Marshal Service (doc. 4) is DENIED. He may
renew his motion, including a full explanation of his attempts to serve
defendants and the reasons those attempts were not successful, if
SO ORDERED, this 20th day of September, 2017.
such service, and to renew his motion if necessary, the Court will proactively extend
the deadline for him to perfect service. See Bax, 216 F.R.D. at 5 (pro se litigants are
entitled to “latitude” to correct defects in service of process). Since plaintiff filed his
Complaint on August 30, 2017, the deadline to perfect service is November 28, 2017.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m). The Court will extend that deadline by 30 days. Plaintiff
must perfect service on or before December 28, 2017.
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