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United States v. Lyles

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 20, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RONNIE ALLEN LYLES, Defendant.

ORDER

ALLISON CLAIRE, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the court is plaintiff's November 15, 2013 motion for order permitting alternate service. Defendant has not filed an opposition. On review of the motion and the papers filed in support, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:

RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, the United States of America, initiated this action on September 5, 2013 seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against Ronnie Allen Lyles ("Lyles"). Plaintiff contends that Lyles filed a false UCC-1 financing statement with the California Secretary of State against United States Bankruptcy Judge Sarah S. Curley for the District of Arizona to wrongfully and maliciously damage her credit. Plaintiff seeks an expungement of the UCC-1 financing statement and an order permanently enjoining Lyles from filing or attempting to file any document or instrument which purports to create a nonconsensual lien or encumbrance against the property or person of any employee of the United States.

With the instant motion, plaintiff seeks an order permitting service of the complaint and summons on Lyles by alternate means, specifically, by regular U.S. Mail sent to him at P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California, XXXXX-XXXX. This is the address that Lyles has repeatedly represented to be his current mailing address, as evidenced by the following: (a) on October 10, 2013, the United States Attorney's Office received from Lyles by certified mail, a document entitled "Stipulation for Consent Order and Assignment, " which reflects Lyles's address as P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California, and purports to be a stipulation to settle this case, Declaration of AUSA Lynn Trinka Ernce ¶ 5 and Ex. B; (b) on October 15, 2013, the United States Attorney's Office received from Lyles by certified mail a document titled "Notice to Principle is Notice to Agent, and Notice to Agent is Notice to Principle, " wherein Lyles confirms that "my legal address is P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California, [92837], " id. ¶ 6 and Ex. C; (c) on November 7, 2013, the United States Attorney's Office received from Lyles by certified mail a document entitled "Notice of Default Affidavit of Notice" addressed to the AUSA which begins, "YOU ARE HEREBY NOTICED that you are in default of an opportunity to respond to the COMMERCIAL AFFIDAVIT sent to you on October 3, 2013..., " id. ¶ 8 and Ex D, and identifies Lyles's address as P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California; (d) on November 12, 2013, the United States Attorney's Office received from Lyles by registered mail a letter to the AUSA which complains that his Notice of Formal Objection to Lack of Service was electronically filed without his knowledge or permission, and it appears that Lyles believes that the AUSA somehow electronically altered and then filed the document with the court. Id . ¶ 9 and Ex. E. This document also identifies Lyles's address as "Post Office Box 2212, Orange County, near Fullerton, California." Id . And lastly, (e) on December 16, 2013, defendant filed a document with the court titled "NOTICE OF AND RESCISSION OF NOTICE OF DEFAULT AFFIDAVIT OF NOTICE FOR CAUSE, " which also identifies defendant's address as "PO Box 2212, Fullerton, California." ECF No. 9.

In an attempt to serve defendant in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and California law, plaintiff has attempted the following:

1. The United States attempted to have Lyles personally served at his last known residence, 130 S. Derby Court, Anaheim, California, 92808, but the residence was vacant, so he was not personally served. See Decl. of Janet Bain ¶ 3 and Ex. F, ECF No. 6-2.
2. On September 13, 2013, the United States attempted substitute service by sending a copy of the summons, complaint and new civil case documents by regular mail and certified mail to Lyles at P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California, XXXXX-XXXX. Bain Decl. ¶ 4 and Ex. A. Although the UCC-1 filed by Lyles lists the same P.O. Box 2212 address, but with an Anaheim zip code, the United States determined through other available information that the post office box most likely was in Fullerton, not Anaheim. Id.
3. On September 18, 2013, the United States received a signed return receipt. Bain Decl. ¶ 4 and Ex. A. The regular mail sent to the post office box was returned with the following statements on the envelope: "Return to Sender, Refused, Unable to Forward" and "Refuse for Cause without Dishoner." Bain Decl. ¶ 6 and Ex. D.
4. On September 24, 2013, the United States also attempted to serve Lyles by regular and certified mail at 6572 Caxton Street, Mira Loma, CA 91572-4380, which the United States believed was another possible address for Lyles. Bain Decl. ¶ 5 and Ex. B. The documents were returned to the United States marked as "AKN, " which means "attempted, not known." Id . ¶ 5 and Ex. C.
5. On September 30, 2013, the United States Attorney's Office received a "Notice of Formal Objection to Lack of Service" that Lyles sent via registered mail. Ernce Decl. ¶ 2 and Ex. A. Lyles also filed this document with the court. ECF No. 4. There, Lyles states that his address is "Post Office Box 2212, Orange County, near Anaheim, California Republic, International Non-Domestic outside the United States." See id. Among other things, Lyles claims in this document that there was no service on him, no authorization for anyone else to accept service on his behalf, and that he is not required to respond to the complaint until proper service is effected.[1] Id. at 3.
6. On November 12, 2013, the United States re-served Lyles by regular mail and certified mail at his confirmed legal mailing address, P.O. Box 2212, Fullerton, California, 92837-0212, and included the acknowledgment forms and postage-paid return envelope required by California law. Bain Decl., ¶ 7 and Ex. E; Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 415.30. As of December 9, 2013, defendant has not acknowledged receipt of these documents. See Pl.'s Statement at 2, ECF No. 7.

DISCUSSION

When serving an individual within a judicial district of the United States, a defendant may be served in accordance with state law governing service. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e)(1). In California, service of process on an individual inside the state may be accomplished through (1) personal delivery of the summons and complaint on the defendant or an authorized agent, Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 415.10; (2) substitute service upon another person at the defendant's residence or place of business, id. § 415.20; (3) mail service coupled with an ...


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