United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis, United States District Judge
22, 2018, the Court dismissed the above-captioned case
because Plaintiff Peter Makuyana failed to show good cause
why he did not comply with the service requirements of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), and simultaneously
denied Makuyana's motion for an extension of time in
which to effectuate service. See ECF No. 18.
Makuyana moves for the Court to alter its judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). ECF Nos. 19,
20.Defendant Transdev Services, Inc.
(“Transdev”) opposes the motion. ECF No. 21. The
time for Makuyana to reply has expired. See D. Md.
Loc. R. 105.2.a. No. hearing is necessary. See D.
Md. Loc. R. 105.6. For the reasons below, the Court DENIES
relevant facts were recounted in the Court's prior
Memorandum Opinion and Order, ECF No. 18. On March 15, 2018,
the Court ordered Makuyana to show good cause by March 29,
2018, why this case should not be dismissed under Rule 4(m).
ECF No. 4. Makuyana failed to show cause by the ordered date,
instead filing a “response” on April 5, 2018,
requesting that the Court quash the Order. ECF No. 7.
Transdev then moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(5) for failure to serve, ECF No. 10, and
Makuyana moved for an extension of time for service, ECF No.
11. The Court denied Makuyana's motion, granted
Transdev's motion, and dismissed the case. ECF No. 18.
now moves for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e), arguing that by requiring him to show good
cause why he failed to abide by the requirements of Rule 4(m)
in order to avoid dismissal, the Court committed an error of
law. ECF No. 19 ¶ 6. Makuyana further argues that the
Court's ruling conflicts with Henderson v. United
States, 517 U.S. 654 (1996), which held that the time
for service may be extended absent a showing of good cause.
ECF No. 19 ¶ 8. Additionally, Makuyana asserts that the
dismissal of this case without prejudice has the effect of a
dismissal with prejudice, and violates due process and equal
protection. ECF No. 19 ¶ 7. Transdev argues that
Makuyana has not met the standard for relief under Rule
59(e), and that the Court did not err by requiring a showing
of good cause, by refusing to extend the time for service, or
by dismissing Makuyana's case. See generally ECF
No. 21. For the reasons below, the Court agrees with
motion to alter or amend a judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e) may be granted on three limited
grounds: (1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not
previously available; or (3) to correct a clear error of law
or prevent manifest injustice. See United States ex rel.
Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284,
290 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998)), cert. denied, 538 U.S. 1012 (2003). A Rule
59(e) motion “may not be used to relitigate old
matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could
have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.”
Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403 (quoting 11 Wright
et al., Federal Practice and Procedure §
2810.1, at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). “In general,
‘reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.'” Id. (quoting Wright et
al., supra, § 2810.1, at 124).
argues that the Court improperly applied Rule 4(m) because
the Court stated that it “must dismiss [an] action
without prejudice” if a plaintiff fails to serve a
defendant within 90 days after the complaint is filed and
does not show good cause for the failure. Makuyana argues
that the language of the rule allows the Court to order that
service be effected within a specified time, regardless of a
showing of good cause. See ECF No. 19 ¶¶
4-6. Makuyana argues that the Court's requirement that
Makuyana show good cause amounts to an error of law. ECF No.
19 ¶ 6. This aligns with Makuyana's understanding of
Henderson v. United States, 517 U.S. 654 (1996), as
allowing for an extension of the time for service even absent
a showing of good cause.
standard proposed by Makuyana is in conflict with the
standard commonly employed by this Court. Even after
Henderson, this Court generally requires a showing
of good cause for the service deadline to be extended.
See Gbane v. Capital One, NA, Civil Action No.
PX-16-701, 2016 WL 3541281, at *2 (D. Md. June 29, 2016);
Chen v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 292
F.R.D. 288, 293-94 (D. Md. 2013), aff'd, 546
Fed.Appx. 187, 188 (4th Cir. Nov. 12, 2013) (per curiam);
Smith v. Ocwen-Loan Servicing LLC, Civil Action No.
ELH-15-00424, 2015 WL 4092452, at *2-3 (D. Md. July 6, 2015).
As such, the Court did not commit a clear error of law by
requiring Makuyana to show good cause why he failed to serve
Transdev in a timely manner.
does not dispute that he failed to demonstrate good cause for
missing the service deadline in this case. Instead, Makuyana
argues that “dismissal of the instant matter without
prejudice imparts prejudice” because the statute of
limitations operates to bar the refiling of his Complaint.
ECF No. 19 ¶ 7. Makuyana contends that because the
statute of limitations applicable to Title VII actions such
as his is shorter than the statutes of limitations that
generally apply to other causes of action, dismissing his
case for failure to serve “violates equal protection
and due process.” ECF No. 19 ¶ 7. The Court
construes this to be an argument that dismissing
Makuyana's Complaint rather than extending the time for
service is manifestly unjust.
Makuyana could not have refiled his action after this
Court's dismissal of his Complaint, which Transdev
disputes, see ECF No. 21 at 1 n.1, dismissal of
Makuyana's Complaint was appropriate. See Gbane,
2016 WL 3541281, at *2; Chen, 546 Fed.Appx. at 188;
Shilling v. Thomas, No. PWG-16-2696, 2017 WL
1035854, at *6 n.9 (D. Md. Mar. 16, 2017) (dismissing a
complaint without prejudice for failure to abide by Rule 4(m)
despite the statute of limitations barring the filing of
another action). Moreover, any plaintiff who files suit close
to the end of a limitations period and then fails to serve
timely the defendant would be in a situation similar to
Makuyana's, regardless of the type of claim at issue or
the length of the statute of limitations. The Court cannot
conclude that Makuyana's due process or equal protection
rights have been violated or that a manifest injustice has
occurred. Instead, as discussed in the Court's prior
Memorandum Opinion and Order, it was Makuyana and his
counsel's failure to pursue service in a diligent or
reasonable manner that led to the dismissal of this
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Makuyana has not met the requirements of Rule 59(e), and the
Court declines to alter or amend its previous judgment.
Therefore, and for the reasons stated above, it is this 28th
day of August, 2018, by the United ...