United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
Marilyn Marie Smith (“Smith”) filed this pro
se civil action on June 8, 2017, naming a litany of
defendants including the Department of Defense, the United
States of America, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the
Harrisburg Bureau of Child Support, and numerous individual
defendants. (Doc. 1). This is Smith's third such pro
se lawsuit, and her newest complaint mirrors many of the
allegations contained in her previously dismissed civil
actions. See Smith v. Dep't of Welfare Child Support
Enf't, No. 1:15-cv-02068 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 26, 2015);
Smith v. Garrnet, No. 1:16-cv-02236 (M.D. Pa. Nov.
same day Smith filed this lawsuit, a standard pro se
letter was issued, explaining that she must file an
application to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) if she could not afford the requisite
civil filing fee. (Doc. 2 at 1). Smith was also issued the
standing practice order for pro se plaintiffs. (Doc.
3). This order outlines, in detail, many of the requirements
for proceeding with a civil suit in federal court in the
Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Id.) The standing
practice order and its attachments describe, among other
things, motion practice rules, briefing rules, summary
judgment, and service and filing requirements. (Id.
at 1-11). The order ends by explaining that if the parties do
not follow the rules outlined, dismissal of the action could
result. (Id. at 4).
particular, attached to the standing practice order is the
“In Forma Pauperis Notice, ” which explains in
large font that if a pro se plaintiff is proceeding
without paying a filing fee due to inability to pay, she must
complete the USM-285 form for each defendant listed in the
complaint so that service can be effected by the United
States Marshal. (Doc. 3-1). A blank copy of the USM-285 form
was also provided. (Id. at 4).
September 14, 2017, this court issued an order directing
Plaintiff to pay the civil filing fee or to move to proceed
IFP if she was financially unable to afford the $400 fee.
(Doc. 4). Plaintiff was also ordered to provide a properly
completed USM-285 form for service by the Marshal for each
named defendant in her lawsuit if she desired to proceed IFP.
(Id.) Plaintiff was again provided with copies of
the requisite forms, and given fourteen days to comply.
partially complied with this order. On September 22, 2017,
she filed a motion for leave to proceed IFP. (Doc. 5). She
also submitted one USM-285 form, which listed only a handful
of the nineteen named defendants. (Doc. 6). The form provided
only one address for service, despite identifying four
different defendants. (Id.) Oddly, two of the four
defendants identified on the USM-285 form-“Wernersville
State Hos[pital]” and “DDSP-KC”-are not
named in her complaint. (Compare Doc. 6
with Doc. 1). Even stranger, the form provides for
copy of the notice of service to be sent to “Christ
Jesus De Jesus.” (Doc. 6).
on September 27, 2017, the court issued another order
granting Smith's motion to proceed IFP, but explaining
that she “must do more if she desires to move forward
with her lawsuit.” (Doc. 7 at 2). This order explicitly
required Smith to provide a separate, fully completed USM-285
form for each defendant named in her complaint so that the
Marshal could serve those defendants. (Id.) Smith
was warned that if she failed to follow the court's
direction again, her case would be dismissed. (Id.)
Smith was given fourteen days to comply, and was also
provided with another blank USM-285 form and detailed
instructions for its completion. (Id. at 3-8).
date, Smith has not submitted any properly completed USM-285
forms for the defendants listed in her complaint. Moreover,
there is no indication that service of process has been
attempted or completed on any named defendant.
Rule of Civil Procedure 4 provides the requirements for a
summons and service of process. Rule 4(m) sets forth the time
limits for service. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). It states, in
pertinent part, “If a defendant is not served with 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.” Id.
clear from the above factual and procedural history, Smith
has failed to serve her complaint as required under the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and has also failed to
comply with this court's explicit directions. She has not
served her complaint on any defendant that this court is
aware of, nor has she complied with our most recent order
requesting properly completed USM-285 forms so that the
Marshal could effectuate service.
on Smith's failure to serve, or even attempt to serve,
her complaint on the named defendants, the court is
constrained to dismiss her case without prejudice pursuant to
Federal Rule ...