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Clark v. Sheffield

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

May 5, 2017




         Plaintiff has paid the $400.00 filing fee in the above-captioned case. Because he is proceeding pro se, the Court will provide him with basic instructions regarding the development and progression of this case.

         Initially, Plaintiff is responsible for serving Defendants. The Clerk of Court will provide Plaintiff with an appropriate number of copies of (1) the notice of lawsuit and request to waive service of summons form, and (2) the waiver of service of summons form.[1]To properly request that the individual Defendants waive personal service, Plaintiff must:

(1) complete both forms for each individual defendant; and
(2) mail the completed notice form, along with a copy of the file-stamped complaint and two waiver forms, to each of the individual defendants by first class mail, with a prepaid means for returning the waiver form, and request that the defendant waive formal service of the summons.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d).

         Individual defendants have a duty to avoid unnecessary costs of serving the summons, and any defendant who fails to comply with the request for waiver must bear the costs of personal service unless good cause can be shown for the failure to return the waiver. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(d)(2). A defendant whose return of the waiver is timely does not have to answer the complaint until sixty days after the date Plaintiff mails the request for waiver. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(d)(3). However, should a defendant choose not to waive formal service of the summons, Plaintiff is still responsible for properly effecting service of the summons and complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(1).

         Plaintiff is HEREBY NOTIFIED that he has ninety days from the date he filed this lawsuit to serve Defendants, and failure to do so may result in their dismissal from this lawsuit or dismissal of this case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).

         IT IS ORDERED THAT Plaintiff shall serve upon Defendants, or upon their attorneys if appearances have been entered by counsel, a copy of every further pleading or other document submitted to the Court. Plaintiff shall include with the papers to be filed a certificate stating the date a true and correct copy of any document was mailed to Defendants or their counsel. Fed.R.Civ.P. 5; Loc. R. 5.1. Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the title of the action, and the file number. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a). Any paper received by a District Judge or Magistrate Judge that has not been properly filed with the Clerk of Court or that fails to include a caption or certificate of service will be returned.

         It is Plaintiff's duty to cooperate fully in any discovery that may be initiated by Defendants. Upon being given at least five days notice of the scheduled deposition date, Plaintiff shall appear and permit his deposition to be taken and shall answer, under oath and solemn affirmation, any question that seeks information relevant to the subject matter of the pending action. Failing to answer questions at the deposition or giving evasive or incomplete responses to questions will not be tolerated and may subject Plaintiff to severe sanctions, including dismissal of this case. Defendants shall ensure that Plaintiff's deposition and any other depositions in the case are taken within the 140-day discovery period allowed by this Court's Local Rules.[2]

         While this action is pending, Plaintiff shall immediately inform this Court and opposing counsel of any change of address. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of this case.

         Plaintiff must pursue this case and failure to do so may result in dismissal for want of prosecution. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41; Loc. R. 41.1. If Plaintiff wishes to obtain facts and information about the case from Defendants, Plaintiff must initiate discovery. See generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 through 37 (containing the rules governing discovery and providing for the basic methods of discovery). Plaintiff should begin discovery promptly and complete it within four months after the filing of the first answer of a defendant named in the original complaint.

         Interrogatories are a practical method of discovery for pro se litigants. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 33. Interrogatories shall not contain more than twenty-five questions. Id. Plaintiff must have the Court's permission to propound more than one set of interrogatories to a party. Discovery materials should not be filed routinely with the Clerk of Court. Exceptions include when the Court directs filing; when a party needs such materials in connection with a motion or response, and then only to the extent necessary; and when needed for use at trial. If Plaintiff wishes to file a motion to compel pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37, he should first contact the attorney for Defendants and try to work out the problem. If Plaintiff proceeds with the motion to compel, he should file therewith a statement certifying that he has contacted opposing counsel in a good faith effort to resolve any dispute about discovery. Loc. R. 26.5.

         Plaintiff must maintain a set of records for the case. If papers are lost and new copies are required, these may be obtained from the Clerk of the ...

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