Whittlesey v. US Treasury et al
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE - Show Cause Response due by 10/16/2017, signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton. (DN) Modified on 10/4/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)
HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
CASE NO. C17-5362RBL
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
THIS MATTER is before the Court on its own motion. Plaintiff Wittlesey filed this
action on May 16, 2017. She initially sought in forma pauperis status but paid the filing fee the
same day. She also sought the appointment of counsel, which was denied [Dkt. # 8]. In the
meantime, Plaintiff filed a summons with the court, but it does not indicate that it or the
complaint were served on the defendant. Indeed, there is no proof of service in the file.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must serve her complaint on the
defendant within 90 days of filing it in court:
(m) Time Limit for Service. If a defendant is not served within 90 days after the
complaint is filed, the court—on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff—must
dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made
within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court
must extend the time for service for an appropriate period.
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE - 1
The Advisory Committee Notes to this Rule reiterate that the 90 day requirement is to be applied
flexibly, and should not be applied where doing so would cause prejudice:
[Rule 4(m)] explicitly provides that the court shall allow additional time if there is good
cause for the plaintiff’s failure to effect service in the prescribed  days, and
authorizes the court to relieve a plaintiff of the consequences of an application of this
subdivision even if there is no good cause shown..
(Time period reflects 2015 rule change). See also, for example, In re Sheehan, 253 F.3d 507, 512
(9th Cir. 2001) (Upon a showing of good cause, the Court must extend the period; and even
absent a showing of good cause, the court has discretion to extend the period). The period for
service has expired.
Plaintiff Whittlesey is therefore ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE in writing within 10
days why she has not affected proper service on the defendant under the Rules, and to
demonstrate why the Court should in any event extend the period for service. If she does not do
so this matter will be dismissed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 4th day of October, 2017.
Ronald B. Leighton
United States District Judge
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