United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a Virginia prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this
action. The matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs failure
to serve Defendant Robert McCoy within the time required by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). Rule 4(m) provides:
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. This subdivision (m) does
not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f) or
Civ. P. 4(m).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), Plaintiff had 90
days from the filing of the Complaint to serve the
defendants. Here, that period commenced on September 7, 2018.
More than 90 days have elapsed and Plaintiff has not served
Defendant McCoy. By Memorandum Order entered on December
14, 2018, the Court directed Plaintiff, within eleven (11)
days of the date of entry thereof, to show good cause for his
failure to serve Defendant McCoy within the time required by
Rule 4(m). (ECF No. 28.)
has responded. ("Response," ECF No. 32.) Plaintiff
insists that he has requested Defendant McCoy's address
from the institution, but they will not provide him with that
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 Con., 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)). 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*l (quoting
Vincentv. Reynolds Mem 7 Hosp., 141 F.R.D.
436, 437 (N.D. W.Va. 1992)). While a court might take a
plaintiffs 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 *2 (E.D. Va. Jan. 24, 2012)
not the Court, nor the United States Marshal's service,
is responsible for providing the appropriate addresses for
serving a Defendant. 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).
Plaintiff has only demonstrated that he attempted to obtain
Defendant McCoy's address from the institution. However,
the institution has already explained that they do not have a
forwarding address for Defendant McCoy. Plaintiff simply
blames the institution for his failure to find an address for
Defendant McCoy and fails to identify any other effort he has
made to attempt to locate an address where he can effect
service on Defendant McCoy. Thus, Plaintiff fails to
demonstrate that 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 Defendant McCoy or good cause to warrant an extension
of time. The claims against Defendant McCoy will be DISMISSED
appropriate Order shall issue.
 On September 11, 2018, the United
States Marshal returned the summons unexecuted, with a note
that Defendant McCoy was no longer employed at the facility,
and had "moved out of state w/no forwarding