United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MILTON YOUNGE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Serve
Process (“Motion, ” ECF No. 7). The Court finds
this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7.1(f). For the reasons that follow,
Plaintiff's Motion will be denied without prejudice.
a personal injury action arising from a June 18, 2018 motor
vehicle accident. (Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff Gin
Nunez initiated suit in this Court on June 25, 2019 against
Defendants Kim Flowers and Voyager Indemnity Insurance
Company. (Id. ¶¶ 2-3.) Plaintiff asserts
two claims for relief: (1) Negligence-asserted against
Defendant Flowers; and (2) Uninsured Motorist
Coverage-asserted against Defendant Voyager Indemnity
Insurance Company. (Id. at 8, 11.)
filing the instant action, Plaintiff has made one attempt to
serve Defendant Flowers. (Motion at 2, 35.) Based upon the
process server's return receipt, it appears that the
process server attempted service on Thursday August 22, 2019
at 11:45 a.m. (Id. at 35.) The process server noted:
“Knocked on the door-no answer. Could see through the
window the home was completely empty.” (Id.)
Plaintiff successfully effected service of process on
Defendant Voyager Indemnity Insurance Company on July 8,
2019. (See ECF No. 2.)
before the court is Plaintiff's request for alternate
service of process pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil
Procedure 430. The alternate service he seeks, in lieu of
personal service, is leave to serve the Complaint and Summons
by first class mail and certified mail, and by posting the
Complaint on the outside entrance door of Defendant
Flowers' property. (Id. at 4.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e)(1), service may be
effected pursuant to the law of the state in which the
district court sits, or in which service is effected. As the
case is before the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure apply. Rule 430 of the
Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if
service cannot be made to defendant's residence or place
of business as provided by the rules, plaintiff may move the
court for a special order directing the method of service.
Rule 430(a) provides:
If service cannot be made under the applicable rule the
plaintiff may move the court for a special order directing
the method of service. The motion shall be accompanied by an
affidavit stating the nature and extent of the investigation
which has been made to determine the whereabouts of the
defendant and the reasons why service cannot be made.
Pa. R. Civ. P. 430(a).
“[a]lternative service is only appropriate when service
‘cannot be made' under the applicable rule of civil
procedure.” Calabro v. Leiner, 464 F.Supp.2d
470, 472 (E.D. Pa. 2006) (quoting Grove v.
Guilfoyle, 222 F.R.D. 255, 257 (E.D. Pa. 2004)). In
other words, alternate methods of service are an
“option of last resort.” Grove, 222
F.R.D. at 256. Accordingly, in Pennsylvania, plaintiffs must
meet the following three conditions for alternate service.
plaintiff must make a “good faith” effort to
locate defendant. Id. Such “good faith”
efforts might include: inquiries of postal authorities,
inquiries of relatives, friends, neighbors,
employees/employers, and examinations of motor vehicle
records and local tax records. Id. at 256-57.
Second, once defendant is located, plaintiff must show that
he has made practical efforts to serve defendant under the
circumstances. Calabro, 464 F.Supp.2d at 472.
Depending on the defendant's situation, circumstances may
warrant visiting the defendant's location on different
days of the week or at different times of the day. Third, if
the plaintiff has satisfied the first two steps, the
plaintiff's proposed alternate methods of service must be
reasonably calculated to provide the defendant with notice of
the proceedings against him. Id.
first step is not at issue in this case, as Plaintiff's
efforts to locate Defendant Flowers satisfy the requirement
of “good faith” under Rule 430(a). Plaintiff has
pursued several of the suggested methods in order to locate
Defendant Flowers' whereabouts, including searching motor
vehicle registration records and ...