Unpublished Disposition, 899 F.2d 1226 (9th Cir. 1990)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 899 F.2d 1226 (9th Cir. 1990)

Willie P. WATKINS, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.DEPARTMENT OF The TREASURY; Internal Revenue Service,Defendants-Appellees.

No. 89-35484.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted March 26, 1990.* Decided April 3, 1990.

Before FLETCHER, LEAVY and FERNANDEZ, Circuit Judges.


Willie P. Watkins, appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, appeals the district court's dismissal of her Title VII action for failure to effect timely service as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(j). We affirm.

We review a dismissal of an action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(j) for an abuse of discretion. Wei v. Hawaii, 763 F.2d 370, 371 (9th Cir. 1985) (per curiam) . Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(j) the district court is required to dismiss an action if the defendant is not served with a copy of the summons and complaint "within 120 days after the filing of the complaint, unless the plaintiff can show good cause why service was not made." Townsel v. County of Contra Costa, 820 F.2d 319, 320 (9th Cir. 1987) (counsel's ignorance of rule 4(j) is not good cause); see Fimbres v. United States, 833 F.2d 138, 139 (9th Cir. 1987) (rule 4(j) is intended to force parties to diligently prosecute their action). Plaintiffs proceeding in forma pauperis who wish to rely upon the court clerk and the United States Marshal to effect service must explicitly request the assistance of the Marshal. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c) (2) (B).

Here, Watkins contends she was misled by the court clerk to believe that she was not required to personally effect timely service because the United States Marshal could effect service for her. However, Watkins failed to respond to the government's motion to dismiss. She therefore failed to meet her obligation to show good cause to the district court. See Townsel, 820 F.2d at 320. As Watkins raises this contention for the first time on appeal, we will not reach it. See Jovanovich v. United States, 813 F.2d 1035, 1037 (9th Cir. 1987) (this court does not consider issues raised for the first time on appeal).

Watkins also contends she is excused from effecting timely service because she is a pro se litigant. We reject this contention. Pro se litigants must comply with court rules. Carter v. Commissioner, 784 F.2d 1006, 1008 (9th Cir. 1986). Hence, Watkins's failure to effect timely service cannot be excused by her pro se status.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for disposition without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3