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Parker v. United States Department of Agriculture

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 24, 2016

CARL L. PARKER, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Gary L. Parker Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE et al . Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

         On October 6, 2016, Judge W. Louis Sands of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia transferred this case to the undersigned because the plaintiff's amended complaint [Dkt. 16] alleges violations of the Consent Decree that this Court approved in Pigford v. Vilsack, No. 97-1978, and seeks to enforce that Consent Decree. See Order (Oct. 6, 2016) [Dkt. 23].

         The Court recently issued an Opinion addressing various motions to enforce the Pigford consent decree, Pigford v. Vilsack, No. 97-1978, 2016 WL 4921378 (D.D.C. Sept. 15, 2016), including claims by plaintiff “on behalf of the Estate of Robert J. Parker.” Id. at *1, 6. The Court's review of the plaintiff's amended complaint suggests that he asserts separate claims here, both on his own behalf and on behalf of the estate of Gary L. Parker. See Am. Compl. at 4-6 (July 8, 2016) [Dkt. 16].

         It appears that plaintiff has not yet served his amended complaint upon the defendants in this case. Judge Sands's transfer order found that “[n]o valid summons has been issued as to any of the defendants remaining in this case, ” but concluded that “given [the Court's] own statements that may have been misinterpreted by Parker, it would not be appropriate to dismiss the case” for lack of service “at this juncture.” Order at 3 [Dkt. 23]. At the time of Judge Sands's transfer order on October 6, 2016, the USDA maintained that it “has never been served in this case, and [] assumed the case would be dismissed on that basis.” Id. at 7. Before the Court proceeds in this case, plaintiff must serve all defendants in a manner that complies with Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Civil Rule 5.3. Because the plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will append to this Memorandum Opinion and Order (1) a full-text copy of Rule 4 as Appendix A, and (2) a full text copy of Local Civil Rule 5.3 as Appendix B.

         In light of the foregoing, it is hereby

         ORDERED that on or before December 16, 2016 plaintiff file proof on the public docket that he has served either the complaint [Dkt. 1] or the amended complaint [Dkt. 16] upon any remaining defendants in a manner that complies with Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         SO ORDERED.

         Appendix A

         Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Summons

         (a) Contents; Amendments.

         (1) Contents. A summons must:

         (A) name the court and the parties;

         (B) be directed to the defendant;

         (C) state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney or-if unrepresented-of the plaintiff;

         (D) state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend;

         (E) notify the defendant that a failure to appear and defend will result in a default judgment against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint;

         (F) be signed by the clerk; and

         (G) bear the court's seal.

         (2) Amendments. The court may permit a summons to be amended.

         (b) Issuance. On or after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant. A summons-or a copy of a summons that is addressed to multiple defendants-must be issued for each defendant to be served.

         (c) Service.

         (1) In General. A summons must be served with a copy of the complaint. The plaintiff is responsible for having the summons and complaint served within the time allowed by Rule 4(m) and must furnish the necessary copies to the person who makes service.

         (2) By Whom. Any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party may serve a summons and complaint.

         (3) By a Marshal or Someone Specially Appointed. At the plaintiff's request, the court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal or by a person specially appointed by the court. The court must so order if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §1915 or as a seaman under 28 U.S.C. §1916.

         (d) Waiving Service.

         (1) Requesting a Waiver. An individual, corporation, or association that is subject to service under Rule 4(e), (f), or (h) has a duty to avoid unnecessary expenses of serving the summons. The plaintiff may notify such a defendant that an action has been commenced and request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request must:

         (A) be in writing and be addressed: (i) to the individual defendant; or

         (ii) for a defendant subject to service under Rule 4(h), to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by ...


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