United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, District Judge.
Currently pending in the aforementioned matter is Plaintiff Hashim Elobied ("Elobied")'s Motion for Alternative Service of Summons and Complaint (ECF No. 15), requesting leave to serve Defendants, allegedly now residing at an undisclosed location within Switzerland, by e-mail. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Elobied's motion.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Elobied filed the pending Complaint (ECF No. 1) against Defendants Trescott Baylock ("Baylock") and Enjoli Pitcher ("Pitcher") on July 3, 2012. Pitcher and Baylock are United States citizens. Elobied's cause of action arises from an alleged oral agreement, occurring on or around May 8, 2008, between Elobied and the Defendants to sell Elobied a "certain Bentley Contingental[sic] GT automobile, " for a "total all-inclusive purchase price of [$50, 000], " see Compl. ¶¶ 7, 9. Elobied asserts that he paid this purchase price in a series of individual payments between May 8 and May 26, 2008, but that Defendants failed to deliver the vehicle promised under the agreement Id . ¶¶ 10-14. Elobied now raises a variety of common law contract and quasi-contract claims, the object of which appears to be recovery of damages totaling $100, 000, "represent[ing] the minimum reasonable replacement value of the subject vehicle." Id . ¶ 24. Defendants have never been served the summons and pending complaint and thus have not answered Elobied's allegations.
Elobied has received sixty-day extensions of the deadline to complete service on three prior occasions. See Order Granting 60 Day Extension, ECF No. 4; Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Enlargement of Time for Service, ECF No. 7; Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate, ECF No. 14.
Without considering the merits of the various claims within the pending complaint, the Court now turns to Elobied's pending motion to complete service through alternative means.
II. ELOBIED's MOTION FOR ALTERNATIVE SERVICE
Elobied seeks permission of the Court to serve Defendants Baylock and Pitcher, allegedly now located in Switzerland, via e-mail communication, having failed to complete service through regular means within the United States.
Elobied asserts that Baylock and Pitcher are individuals residing at the addresses 6630 Shaffers Way, Lithonia, GA 30056, and 1300 East 103rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002, respectively. See Compl. 1, ECF No. 1. An initial attempt to execute service on Baylock via private process server failed and the summons returned unexecuted, as the 6630 Shaffers Way address was found to be vacant. See Notice of Summons Returned Unexecuted, ECF No. 2. Elobied has represented to the Court that even after private investigations and attempts at service to these two defendants at addresses in Richmond City, Virginia; Los Angeles, California; the states of New York and Georgia; and abroad in Europe, service has not been completed. See First Mot. Extend Time 1-2, ECF No. 3; Second Mot. Extend Time 1-2, ECF No. 6; Mot. Vacate Order Dismissing Case, 1-2, ECF No. 9; Mot. Alternative Service 1, ECF No. 15.
Elobied claims that Defendants have intentionally evaded attempts at service, and further asserts that Defendant Baylock has resided in Switzerland since November of 2013. See Mot. Alternative Service ¶ 4. As evidence of Baylock's current residence abroad, Elobied submits to the Court four screenshots of the Facebook page of "Dlyfe Show, " Baylock's purported alias, with postings purportedly originating from Zurich, Switzerland. See id., Exs. 1-4, Screen Shots of "Dlyfe Show" Facebook Profile, ECF Nos. 15-1-15-4. This Facebook profile also indicates a current residence in Zurich, Switzerland for the individual "Dlyfe." See id., Screenshot 4, ECF No. 15-4.
A) Alternative Service Abroad Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Pursuant with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f), an individual, other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed, may be served in a foreign country, where federal law does not provide otherwise. Such service may occur "by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents, " see Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(f)(1), or "by other means not prohibited by international agreement, as the court orders, " see Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(f)(3).
Elobied requests the Court's authorization to complete service of Summons and Complaint upon Defendants Baylock and Pitcher via e-mail, pursuant with Federal Rule of 4(f)(3).
As to Pitcher, the Court will deny this request summarily, as Elobied has put forth no evidence indicating that Pitcher ...