United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis United States District Judge
March 15, 2018, the Court ordered Plaintiff Peter Makuyana to
show good cause by March 29, 2018, why this case should not
be dismissed for failure to comply with the service
requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
4(m). ECF No. 4. Makuyana failed to show cause by the ordered
date, instead filing a “response” to the order on
April 5, 2018, requesting that the Court quash the Order. ECF
No. 7. Two additional motions followed: a Motion to Dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5) for failure to
serve filed by Defendant Transdev Services, Inc.
(“Transdev”), ECF No. 10, and Makuyana's
motion for an extension of time for service, ECF No. 11. All
matters are fully briefed. The Court now rules pursuant to
Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary.
to the disposition of this case is Makuyana's failure to
show good cause for the delay in serving Transdev. Rule 4(m)
requires a plaintiff to serve a defendant “within 90
days after the complaint is filed.” If a defendant has
not been served within this time frame, the Court “must
dismiss the action without prejudice against that
defendant.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). Only if a plaintiff
“shows good cause for the failure” may the Court
extend the time for service “for an appropriate
period.” Id.; see Mendez v. Elliot,
45 F.3d 75, 78-79 (4th Cir. 1995); Scott v. Md. State
Dep't of Labor, 673 Fed.Appx. 299, 306 (4th Cir.
2016); Gbane v. Capital One, NA, Civil Action No.
PX-16-701, 2016 WL 3541281, at *2 (D. Md. June 29, 2016).
good-cause standard is a stringent one, generally requiring
“the interference of some outside factor [that]
prevented the otherwise-diligent plaintiff from complying
with” Rule 4(m). Uzoukwu v. Prince George's
Cmty. Coll. Bd. of Trs., Civil Action No. DKC 12-3228,
2013 WL 3072373, at *2 (D. Md. June 17, 2013) (citing
Burns & Russell Co. of Balt. v. Oldcastle, Inc.,
166 F.Supp.2d 432, 439 n.9 (D. Md. 2001)). At minimum, a
showing of good cause requires a plaintiff to demonstrate
that he exercised “reasonable diligence in trying to
effect service.” Jones v. Sears, Roebuck &
Co., Civil Action No. DKC 15-3092, 2016 WL 1696557, at
*2 (D. Md. Apr. 28, 2016) (citing Burns, 166
F.Supp.2d at 439 n.9)). Inadvertence or carelessness does not
suffice. Burns, 166 F.Supp.2d at 439 n.9. Nor does a
plaintiff's pro se status excuse timely service. See
Akakpo v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., Civil Action No. PX
16-1082, 2017 WL 1048256, at *2 (D. Md. Mar. 20, 2017).
Makuyana makes plain that his failure to timely serve
Transdev was due to his attorney's oversight and to
Makuyana's temporary pro se status. See
generally ECF No. 7; see also ECF No. 16 ¶
4. This is despite the attorneys for Transdev repeatedly
attempting to contact Makuyana's counsel to accept
service. See ECF No. 10-2. In short, Makuyana's
explanation for his failure to abide by the strictures of
Rule 4(m) is insufficient to constitute good cause. See
Knott v. Atl. Bingo Supply, Inc., No. Civ. JFM-05-1747,
2005 WL 3593743, at *1-2 (D. Md. Dec. 22, 2005) (serious
illness of plaintiff's counsel was not good cause);
Akakpo, 2017 WL 1048256, at *2 (inadvertence or
neglect of counsel is not good cause); Braithwaite v.
Johns Hopkins Hosp., 160 F.R.D. 75, 76-78 (D. Md. 1995)
(murder of pro se plaintiff's daughter was not good
cause). Indeed, Makuyana points to no evidence that he
pursued service in a reasonable and diligent manner.
it is this 22nd day of May, 2018, by the United States
District Court for the District of Maryland, hereby ORDERED
1. The Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant TRANSDEV
SERVICES, INC. (ECF No. 10) BE, and the same hereby IS,
2. The Motion for Extension of Time filed by Plaintiff PETER
MAKUYANA (ECF No. 11) BE, and the same hereby IS, DENIED;
3. The Complaint filed by Plaintiff PETER MAKUYANA (ECF No.
1) BE, and the same hereby IS, DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE;
4. The Clerk is directed to transmit copies of this
Memorandum Opinion and Order to counsel for the parties and
to CLOSE this case.
 As Transdev notes, Transdev's
actual knowledge of the suit is insufficient to excuse
Makuyana's failure to
serve. See Omni Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Rudolf
Wolff & Co., Ltd., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987)
(procedural requirement of service of summons must be
satisfied before a court may exercise personal jurisdiction,
“there must be more than notice to the defendant”
of the suit); Scott, 673 Fed.Appx. at 304, 305
(“Actual notice does not equate to sufficient service
of process, even ...