United States District Court, D. Nevada
Robert H. Hale, Plaintiff
Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury; Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner, Defendants
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: SERVICE [ECF NOS. 7, 8, 9,
JENNIFER A. DORSEY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Hale filed this action on June 26, 2019, against Treasury
Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles
Rettig, “to receive property belonging to him that was
erroneously taken by IRS employees by means of liens and
levies.” He moved the Clerk of Court to enter the
defendants' default in late September and early October,
noting that they had not appeared,  and soon thereafter moved
for default judgment. Defendants counter with a motion for an
order to show cause why this case should not be dismissed for
improper service, explaining that Hale did not serve either
named defendant with a summons and also failed to serve the
United States Attorney for Nevada as Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 4(i)(1) requires in this case. Hale responds
that he was unaware of his obligation to serve the U.S.
Attorney and that he served the defendants with a
“Notice of Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a
suing a United States officer or employee, a plaintiff must
also “serve the United States” with a copy of the
summons and complaint in the manner described in Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(i)(1). If the officer or employee is being
sued in his individual capacity, the plaintiff must also
“serve the officer or employee under Rule 4(e), (f), or
(g), ” whichever applies. If the officer or employee is
being sued in his official capacity, the plaintiff need only
“send a copy of the summons and complaint by registered
or certified mail to the . . . officer, or
employee.” It appears from the face of the complaint
that Hale is suing Mnuchin and Rettig in their official
capacities. So, at a minimum, Hale was required to properly
mail Mnuchin and Rettig a summons and a copy of the
complaint, and also serve those same documents on the U.S.
Attorney in the manner prescribed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(i)(1).
The record reflects that Hale failed to do so. Therefore, the
defendants have not been properly served in this case, and
they are not in default. The Court thus denies Hale's
motions for default and default judgment and grants
the defendants' motion for an order to show cause why
this case should not be dismissed for failure of
service because service was not accomplished by
September 24, 2019, as Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) required. The Court
recognizes that the 90-day service period must be extended
when the plaintiff “shows good cause for the failure,
” but Hale has not yet demonstrated good cause for his
failure to effectuate service in compliance with Rule 4.
THEREFORE ORDERED that the Motion for Order to Show Cause
[ECF No. 13] is GRANTED; Hale has
until January 31, 2020, to file a Response to Order to Show
Cause in which he shows cause in writing why this case should
not be dismissed under Rule 4(m) for failure to timely
serve. If Hale seeks additional time to complete
proper service, he must expressly request it in that document
and “show good cause for” his failure to
effectuate proper service within the allotted
time. Hale is cautioned that if he fails to
respond by this January 31, 2020, deadline or does not show
cause why this case should not be dismissed and his deadline
for service should be extended, this case will be dismissed
without further prior notice.
FURTHER ORDERED that Hale's motions for default and
default judgment [ECF Nos. 7, 8, 9] are
 ECF No. 1.
 ECF Nos. 7, 8.
 ECF No. 9.
 ECF No. 13.
 ECF No. 15.
 FRCP 4(c)(1) states that “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 ...