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Huang v. Carney

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 8, 2020

CLIFFORD HUANG, Plaintiff,
v.
CIARA B. CARNEY, also known as CIARA LYNN SHIP, also known as CLAIRE THOMAS, also known as, IRIS ROSE, also known as CIARA CARNEY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          BRENDA WEKSLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court are plaintiff Clifford Huang's motion for service of process (ECF No. 5) and motion to extend time to effect service pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) (ECF No. 6). Huang moves to serve defendant Ciara B. Carney by email under either Rule 4(f) or Rule 4(e) because, he alleges, Carney's surreptitious conduct has made it impossible to locate her residence or serve her personally. The Court will deny Huang's motion for service of process under Rule 4(f) because Huang has not alleged that Carney is located in a foreign country, and it will deny the motion under Rule 4(e) because Huang has not made the requisite showing under the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure to effect service of process by alternative means. However, given Huang's diligent efforts to locate and serve Carney, the Court will grant his motion to extend the time to effect service under Rule 4(m).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Huang alleges that he is the victim of a fraudulent scheme operated by Carney and various Doe defendants. (ECF No. 5 at 2.) According to Huang's complaint, Huang and Carney met through social media in 2017, and Carney introduced herself as “Iris Rose.”[1] (ECF No. 1 at 4 (Compl.).) The two communicated through Snapchat, a social media platform.[2] (Id.) The scheme began, Huang alleges, with Carney's initial request to borrow $200.00. (Id.) Carney supposedly agreed to repay the borrowed money once her employer deposited her paycheck. (Id.) Subsequently, Carney allegedly fabricated a series of “false stories, ” mostly involving financial hardship, to acquire additional money from Huang. (Id. at 2.)

         Huang alleges that, in total, Carney extorted and defrauded him of at least $59, 378.23. (ECF No. 5 at 2.) Huang further alleges that Carney received these funds through several channels, including a Google Wallet account associated with the following email addresses: irisroseee@gmail.com and idontlikemoney74@gmail.com. (Id. at 6.)

         According to Huang, the alleged scheme began to unravel when he discovered that the name “Iris Rose” was an alias. Huang alleges that he discovered this information when he tried to make a wire transfer into an account that he believed belonged to “Iris Rose”; the wire was rejected because the account belonged to “Ciara B. Carney.” (Id. at 6-7.) Huang goes on to allege that he confronted Carney about her alias and the series of supposed falsehoods. (Id. at 7.) In response, Carney “admitted that she had concocted each and every statement” to Huang. (Id.) Huang, then, filed his complaint with this Court on May 17, 2019. (Id. at 1.)

         Huang has been unable to identify Carney's current address. Included with Huang's motion is a declaration of a licensed process server who declared under penalty of perjury that he performed a background check on Carney and identified that Carney might reside at 2205 Tosca Street, #103, Las Vegas, Nevada 89128 (the “Tosca Street address”). (ECF No. 5, Ex. A.) Also included is an affidavit by a second process server detailing his efforts to locate Carney. (ECF No. 5, Ex. B.) These efforts included searching Clark County's marriage, foreclosure, traffic, family court, and district court records, as well as a search through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, Facebook, and the United States Postmaster. (Id.) Through these efforts, the second process server identified 3300 North Tenaya Way, #2053, Las Vegas, Nevada 89129 (the “North Tenaya address”) and the Tosca Street address as Carney's possible residence. (Id.)

         Huang's efforts to effect service of process on Carney at the North Tenaya and Tosca Street addresses have been unsuccessful. The affidavits of a third process server detail that after five attempts to serve Carney at the North Tenaya address, the process server learned that Carney did not reside there. (Id.) Further, a resident of the Tosca Street address informed the process server that Carney previously lived at that address but had moved out four months before the service attempt. (Id.)

         Huang asserts that Carney's extensive lies about her name, email address, location, and career have made it unfeasible to effect “regular service of process.” (ECF No. 5 at 3.) Therefore, Huang moves to serve Carney by email at the email addresses associated with the Google Wallet account that Carney allegedly used to receive money from Huang. (Id.)

         II. SERVICE OF PROCESS

         The Constitution does not require any particular means of service of process. Rio Props., Inc. v. Rio Intern. Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1017 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950)). Instead, it requires only that service “be reasonably calculated to provide notice and an opportunity to respond.” Id. To that end, service of process is governed by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which delineates between service of individuals located within the United States and individuals located in a foreign country. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e)-(f).

         A. Rule 4(f).

         Rule 4(f) governs service of individuals located in a foreign country. It provides that service on these individuals is proper by, inter alia, any court-ordered means not prohibited by international agreement. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(f)(3). The Ninth Circuit has previously endorsed service of process by email under Rule 4(f). Rio Props. Inc., 284 F.3d at 1018.

         Huang is cognizant that Rule 4(f) speaks to service of individuals located in a foreign country. However, Huang argues that the Court has broad discretion under Rule 4(f) to authorize service on domestic defendants who-like Carney-have allegedly evaded service of process. He further argues that Carney's alleged efforts to ...


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