Whitener v. The Rutherford County Detention Center et al
ORDER: Plaintiff's 18 "Motion for Instructions Regarding Service of Process on Defendants" is construed as a Motion for Discovery and is GRANTED as specified herein. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 11/18/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail with Order, blank subpoena, and 3 blank summonses.) (maf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL CASE NO. 1:21-cv-00048-MR
RONNIE DALE WHITENER,
THE RUTHERFORD COUNTY
DETENTION CENTER, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s pro se “Motion for
Instructions Regarding Service of Process on Defendants” [Doc. 18].
The pro se incarcerated Plaintiff, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Federal Tort Claims
Act (“FTCA”) and North Carolina law, addressing incidents that allegedly
occurred at the Rutherford County Detention Center. 1
Complaint passed initial review on claims against Defendants John Doe
sergeant and two John Doe correctional officers, and the remaining claims
were dismissed. [Doc. 16]. On October 29, 2021, the Court ordered the
The Plaintiff’s current address of record is at the Morgan County Correctional Complex
in the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
Plaintiff to fill out and return summons forms for service of process on the
Defendants within 14 days. [Doc. 17].
The Plaintiff has now filed the instant Motion stating that he has
unsuccessfully sought information to identify the John Doe Defendants from
the Rutherford County Sheriff, Chris Francis. [See Doc. 18-1]. He believes
the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department has information that would
identify the Defendants, and requests instruction from the Court on obtaining
The Motion is liberally construed as a Motion for Discovery. See
generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(c) (“As provided in Rule
45, a nonparty may be compelled to produce documents and tangible things
or to permit an inspection.”). The Motion is granted, and the Plaintiff may
complete a subpoena directed to Sheriff Francis in accordance with Rule 45.
Once a properly completed subpoena is returned to this Court, the Court will
direct the U.S. Marshals Service to serve such subpoena on the Plaintiff’s
behalf.2 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d).
It is unclear, at this juncture, whether any expenses will be associated with this request.
However, the Plaintiff is advised that he will be responsible for any such expenses.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Plaintiff’s “Motion for
Instructions Regarding Service of Process on Defendants” [Doc. 18] is
construed as a Motion for Discovery and is GRANTED.
The Clerk is instructed to mail the Plaintiff a blank Subpoena to
Produce Documents, Information or Objects form.
The Plaintiff shall
complete the form then return it to the Court for service.
The Clerk is also instructed to mail three (3) blank summonses to
Plaintiff to fill out and identify the John Doe Defendants, which he must then
return to the Court for service.
The Plaintiff is required to provide the
necessary information for the U.S. Marshal to effectuate service on
Defendants. As the Court receives the completed summonses from Plaintiff,
the Clerk shall direct the U.S. Marshal to effectuate service upon Defendants.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: November 18, 2021
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