United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME AND SERVICE
ASSISTANCE [DOC. 90]
Andrew G. Schopler United States Magistrate Judge.
Selvin Carranza seeks to (1) extend time to effectuate
service, (2) order the California Attorney General to accept
service for the unserved defendants, and (3) direct the
Attorney General to provide the unserved defendants'
forwarding addresses in a confidential memo to the U.S.
Marshal Service. [Doc. 90.] The 12 unserved defendants are:
R. Casper, R. Lopez, C. P. Franco, Morales (first name
unknown), R. Lemon, R. Demesas, Michael Stout, L. Brown, R.
Thaxton, J. Ojeda, Sanchez (an R.N., first name unknown), and
Molina (first name unknown). [Docs. 45-55, 83.]
Court GRANTS Carranza's motion for a 90-day extension to
effect service and for service assistance. If the plaintiff
shows good cause for the failure to serve, a court may extend
the service time for an appropriate period. Fed.R.Civ.P.
4(m); cf. Efaw v. Williams, 473 F.3d 1038, 1041 (9th
Cir. 2007). Here Carranza issued summonses on January 24,
2017-within the 90-day time limit for service. The 12
unexecuted summonses were returned on March 9, March 15, and
April 5. [Docs. 45-55, 83.] The Court ordered additional
service forms be given to Carranza to finish service on April
18, and he requested this extension of time on May 3, 2017.
[Docs. 86, 90.] Carranza states he has been unable to receive
access to the materials he needed to serve the large amount
of defendants in this case and it took him a great deal of
time to complete this process. He also collected the
information he provided in his motion to help identify the
unserved defendants. Because Carranza began service within
the time allotted by Rule 4(m), and has given a good faith
effort to assist the Attorney General and U.S. Marshal with
identifying these individuals, the Court finds Carranza has
shown good cause for an extension.
Court also GRANTS Carranza's request for service
assistance. When an incarcerated plaintiff proceeds in forma
pauperis, he is entitled to rely on the U.S. Marshal to serve
defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(3); Walker v. Sumner,
14 F.3d 1415, 1422 (9th Cir. 1994). Here the defendants could
not be served because there are multiple officers with the
same last name as one defendant, another needed verification
he is the same person named in the lawsuit, several retired,
and several were no longer employed at that location. In his
current motion, Carranza provided detailed descriptions of
each defendant to assist the litigation coordinator with
identifying unknown individuals. For those defendants who
retired, presumably one reason the U.S. Marshal Service could
not complete service was due to the confidential nature of
their forwarding addresses.
overcome this issue, as long as the privacy of
defendants' addresses can be preserved, Carranza may rely
on the U.S. Marshal Service to effect service as to all
unserved defendants on his behalf. See Puett v.
Blandford, 912 F.2d 270, 275 (9th Cir. 1990). For each
defendant in the 12 unexecuted summonses, the Attorney
General's office shall obtain from the R.J. Donovan
Correctional Facility that person's last known contact
information and provide this information to the U.S. Marshal
in a confidential memorandum stating that the
summons and the Second Amended Complaint are to be delivered
to the specified address. The Deputy Attorney General
assigned to this case shall provide the U.S. Marshal Service
with any such information by May 26, 2017. As to the
defendants whose first names are not listed, defense counsel
shall contact the litigation coordinator at R.J. Donovan
Correctional Facility and provide the coordinator with the
description and identifying information contained in
Carranza's current motion. [See Doc. 90, at
45 days of the receipt of any available addresses, the U.S.
Marshal Service shall serve the 12 unserved defendants-or as
many of them as can be located-a copy of Carranza's
Second Amended Complaint and summons. The Court Clerk shall
provide a copy of this Order, the Second Amended Complaint, a
summons, and a blank U.S. Marshal Form 285 to defense counsel
for purposes of re-attempting service. Both defense counsel
and the Marshal Service must keep any address provided
strictly confidential. Thus, no address shall appear on any
U.S. Marshal Form 285, be provided to Carranza, or be made
part of the Court's record. In the event that the
Correctional Facility does not have updated addresses, or
cannot ascertain a defendant's first name, defense
counsel shall file a declaration with the Court to that
effect by May 26, 2017.
Carranza's request that the Court order Deputy Attorney
General Tiffany Johnson to accept service on behalf of the 12
unserved defendants is DENIED. [Doc. 90, at 6.] The
Deputy's representation of all served defendants thus far
is “insufficient to demonstrate that the Attorney
General's office is authorized to accept service”
for the 12 unserved defendants. See Laundau v. Voss,
No.107-cv-00815 AWI FLB PC, 2009 WL 1010065, * 1, *2 (E.D.
Cal. Apr. 14, 2009). While the Deputy may ultimately
represent the ...