Lanier v. Sizemore, Inc. et al
ORDER requiring defendant to serve its responsive pleading, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(a), no later than February 22, 2021 re 33 Status Report by Sizemore, Inc. (Compliance due by 2/22/2021) Signed by Magistrate Judge Christopher L. Ray on 01/08/2021. (JH)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
SIZEMORE, INC. and MR.
SHELDON L. LANGFORD,
In order to “remedy the confusion resulting from the unorthodox
procedural progress of this case,” the Court required defense counsel to
file a Status Report clarifying whether his client would waive personal
service. Doc. 32 at 3-4. Counsel complied. Doc. 33. That response
indicates that “Defendant Sizemore does agree to waive personal service
of the Complaint.” Id. The Court will construe that representation as a
prospective waiver of any defense or objection based on the absence of a
summons or service. In keeping with the complicated history of the case,
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shortly after defendant’s counsel filed his status report, the United States
Marshal’s Office filed an executed return of service.1 See doc. 34.
The filing of the executed return, however, might create further
confusion in concerning the deadline for defendant to file its responsive
pleading. Under the Federal Rules, a defendant must serve a responsive
pleading “within 21 days after being served with the summons and
complaint.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A)(i). If a defendant waives service,
then the responsive pleading must be filed “within 60 days after the
request for a waiver was sent.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A)(ii). Under the
circumstances, defendant’s deadline might be either January 19, 2021, i.e.
twenty-one days from the date of service reflected in the Marshal’s return,
doc. 34 at 1, or February 22, 2021, i.e. sixty days from the date of the
Court’s Order2 requesting clarification on whether defendant would waive
service, see doc. 32 at 5. The Court, however, has the authority “for good
cause, [to] extend the time . . . with or without motion or notice if the court
Defendant has offered to file an executed Waiver of Service, as provided in Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 4. See doc. 33; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d). Given that there
are now two alternative bases for satisfaction of the service requirement, the Court
sees no need to add a third.
The Order was entered on December 23, 2020. See doc. 32. Sixty days from that
date is Sunday, February 21, 2020. By rule, therefore, the deadline automatically
extends until the following Monday. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1)(C).
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acts . . . before the original time or its extension expires.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
The Court finds that definitively resolving the applicable
deadlines is “good cause.” Assuming, therefore, that defendant’s deadline
to respond is January 19, 2021, the Court sua sponte extends that deadline
until February 22, 2021. To be absolutely clear: defendant must
serve its responsive pleading, as required by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(a), no later than February 22, 2021.
SO ORDERED, this 8th day of January, 2021.
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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