United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (DISMISSING ACTION WITHOUT
PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO SERVE DEFENDANTS)
E. HUDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
brings this Civil Rights action. Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 4(m),  Plaintiff has 90 days to serve Defendants
Booker, Toney, and Aries ("Defendants"). Here, that
period commenced on June 8, 2016. More than 90 days have
elapsed and Plaintiff has not served Defendants.
Court previously received a letter from Plaintiff indicating
that he was "writing to get the U.S. Marshalls [sic] to
locate the defendants .... I have no info or address for
them." (Letter 1, ECF No. 38.) By Memorandum Order
entered on September 23, 2016, the Court informed Plaintiff
that he is responsible for providing information sufficient
to serve Defendants in accordance with the time specified by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). See Lee v.
Armontrout, 991 F.2d 487, 489 (8th Cir. 1993) (holding
that prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis retain
responsibility for providing address at which service can be
effectuated); see also Geter v. Horning Bros. Mgmt.,
502 F.Supp.2d 69, 70 n.3 (D.D.C. 2007) (advising that in
forma pauperis status conveys right to have court effect
service only to extent plaintiff provides a valid address).
The Court noted that Plaintiff was released from
incarceration on May 31, 2016, and denied his request to have
the Marshal locate the Defendants. The Court also directed
Plaintiff, within eleven (11) days of the date of entry
thereof, to show good cause why the action against Defendants
should not be dismissed without prejudice.
response, instead of demonstrating good cause for his failure
to serve the Defendants, Plaintiff states the following:
I was late sending the info for the U.S. Marshalls [sic] to
help find the officers. I waited because I contacted the Jail
Piedmont Regional in Farmville to locate the office. They
said they would give me someone there to call me[;] they
never returned my call after 15 times I call them over a 2
month period. They give me no help in the matter. Then I
asked the court to get the U.S. Marshalls [sic] to help.
That's the reason for my delay. I still need the
(Letter 1, ECF No. 40 (capitalization corrected).)
courts within the Fourth Circuit have found good cause to
extend the ninety-day time period when the plaintiff has made
"reasonable, diligent efforts to effect service on the
defendant." Venable v. Dep't of Corr., No.
3:05cv821, 2007 WL 5145334, at *1 (E.D. Va. Feb. 7, 2007)
(quoting Hammad v. Tate Access Floors, Inc., 31
F.Supp.2d 524, 528 (D. Md. 1999)). This leniency is
especially appropriate when factors beyond the plaintiffs
control frustrate his or her diligent efforts. See
McCollum v. GENCO Infrastructure Sols., No. 3:10CV210,
2010 WL 5100495, at *2 (E.D. Va. Dec. 7, 2010) (citing
T&S Rentals v. United States, 164 F.R.D. 422,
425 (N.D. W.Va. 1996)). Thus, courts are more inclined to
find good cause where extenuating factors exist such as
active evasion of service by a defendant, T&S
Rentals, 164 F.R.D. at 425 (citing Prather v.
Raymond Constr, Co., 570 F.Supp. 278, 282 (N.D.Ga.
1982)), or stayed proceedings that delay the issuance of a
summons. McCollum, 2010 WL 5100495, at *2 (citing
Robinson v. Fountainhead Title Grp. Corp., 447
F.Supp.2d 478, 485 (D. Md. 2006)). However,
"'[i]nadvertence, neglect, misunderstanding,
ignorance of the rule or its burden, or half-hearted attempts
at service' generally are insufficient to show good
cause." Venable, 2007 WL 5145334, at * 1
(quoting Vincent v. Reynolds Mem'l
Hosp., 141 F.R.D. 436, 437 (N.D. W.Va. 1992)). White
a court might take a plaintiff's pro se status
into consideration when coming to a conclusion on good cause,
Lane v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 388 F.Supp.2d 590, 597
(M.D. N.C. 2005), neither pro se status nor
incarceration alone constitute good cause. Sewraz v.
Long, No. 3:08CV100, 2012 WL 214085, at *l-2 (E.D. Va.
Jan. 24, 2012) (citations omitted).
Court previously warned, Plaintiff, not the Court, nor the
United States Marshal, is responsible for "finding"
the appropriate addresses for serving Defendants. Plaintiffs
statement that he called the jail numerous times and no one
returned his call is insufficient to show good cause for his
failure to serve Defendants. Plaintiff fails to explain why
he could only obtain the addresses for these Defendants
through the jail. Thus, Plaintiff fails to demonstrate the he
made a "reasonable, diligent effort to effect service
on the defendants]." Venable, 2007 WL 5145334,
at * 1 (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Accordingly, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate good cause
to excuse his failure to serve Defendants or good cause to
warrant an extension of time. The claims against Defendants
will be dismissed without prejudice. The action will be
dismissed without prejudice.
appropriate Order shall issue.
 Rule 4(m) provides, in pertinent
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, ...