State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. United States Solicitor General et al, No. 2:2007cv01541 - Document 16 (D. Nev. 2009)

Court Description: ORDER Granting 11 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. Complaint is dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Judge Robert C. Jones on 11/30/09. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - AXM)
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E t ;k,I'u 't) l gt-. j ? .. 'rknEi lccvssf. lfrur.rfls : . w .. ,y sl g; rt ; . , t; t.. g; q ; ;j ) w 2 f ' 3 4 j0y 2c 2ggg 1 l gut. ij:y jt y.,gjrryjy-j gjyj . jy . 5 I 3 ? l y j J p j .. . ;,z,,(?g;t;! cffl t, /. , jgj L. l?-.-.s -- .. -- 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT CO U RT 7 DISTR ICT O F NEVADA ) ' ! )E?t y. r. 8 9 STATE FARM MUTUALAUTOMOBILE ) INSURANCE COMPANY,assubrogeefor ) 1 0 JEANNI ESTRUDASPl ,aintiff, l1 2:07-CV-01541-RCJ-RJJ ) onoEn ) 12 v, 13 SHARON IRELAND,asan individual; ) UNITED STATES SOLICITOR GENERAL; ) 1 4 andDOES1 -X, 15 Defendants. ) ) ) l6 y 17 l8 19 PlaintiffState Farm M utualAutom obile Insurance Co.filed this Iawsuitas subrogee for Jeannie Strudas,againstDefendants Sharon lreland,the U,S,SolicitorGeneral,and Does I-X, asserting claims for negligence, negligent entrustment,and respondeat superior. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. United States Solicitor General et al 20 21 22 23 Doc. 16 PresentlybeforetheCourtisDefendants'unopposedMotionto Dismiss(//11).OnNovember 11,2009,the Courtheld a hearing onthismotion.The Plainti#did notappear.The Courthas considered the m otions,briefs,pleadings,and oralargum entand issues the follow ing order. IT IS HEREBY O RDERED thatDefendants'motion todismissisG RANTED and thecom plaint 24 isDISMISSED in itsentiretywithoutprejudice. 25 1. BACKGROUND 26 27 This matterarisesoutofacaraccident.PlaintiffState Farm Automobile Insurance Co.. (' tstateFarm' '),allegesDefendantSharonIreland negligentlycausedanaccidentresulting in 28 1 Dockets.Justia.com 1 damage to Jeannie Strudas'vehicle. (Def.'s Mot.to Dismiss (#11)3:8-11). Strudaswas 2 insured byState Farm.(Id.at3:10-11).State Farm allegesIrelandwasactinginthescope 3 ofheremploymentforDefendantU.S.SolicitorGeneral,(d 'solicitorGeneral'),and operating 4 a vehicle registeredtothe SolicitorGeneralatthetime ofthe accident.(/d.at3:8-14). 5 State Farm sued lreland and the SolicitorGeneral. State Farm also named Does I-X 6 asdefendants.Lld.at3-7).OnNovember2O,2007,Defendantsremovedtofederalcourt. 7 (Id.at15-17). 8 On December 7,2007,Defendants noted in their statement of removal that the 9 sum m ons and com plainthad notbeen served on the Untied States Attorney orthe Attorney 10 Generalforthe UnitedStates.(StatementofRemoval(#5)1:24-26).Theyalsostatedthat, 11 based On inform ation and belief, service had not been m ade on lreland or the Solicitor 12 General.(Id.at26-2:2).DefendantsstatethatPlaintiffjoinedinastatementthatservicehad l3 notbeen pedected on December17,2007.(Def.'sMot.to Dismiss(#11)3:21-23).But,the 14 jointstatus reportmerely refersto the United States'statementthatservice had notbeen I5 perfected on December7,2007.(JointStatusReport(#6)2:4-6).Itdoesnotreassed that 16 service has notbeen perfected. 17 O n O ctober23,2008,the Clerk ofthis Courtnotified State Farm thatitwould m ake an 18 application to the courtfordismissalforwantofprosecution ifno action was taken within 30 19 days. (Notice (//7)).Apparently,the Clerkdid notfollow throughon this.According to the 20 Docket,no sum m ons has been sel-ved to the United States Attorney's Ogice forthe District 21 ofNevada orthe AttorneyGeneralforthe United States, (See also Def.'s Mot.to Dismiss 22 (#11)Ex.B $114 4 % 5). State Farm has listed the dates ofservice foreach defendantas 23 ''unknown.''(PI.'sStatement(//10)3:10-11).Among thefilings,isa state summonsdated 24 September26,2007,butitis notclearwho,ifanyone,was served with it. (Def.'s Pet.for 25 Removal(#1)Ex.1). 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// l On May 7,2009,the Defendantsfiled this motion to dismiss forIackofjurisdiction, 2 im properservice,and failure to state a claim . State Farm has notfiled an opposition, O n 3 Novem ber 16,2009,the Courtheld a hearing on Defendants'm otion. State Farm did not 4 appear. 5 II. LEOAU STANDARD 6 Defrqdantsmustbeserved inaccordanceFithRule 4(d)ofthe Federal RulesofClvllProcedure?orthereisnopersonaljurlsdiction.RuIe4(a)providjs that defendants m ust be personally served or served in corppliance wlth alternativesIistedin4(d)(6)or4(d)(7).Neitheractualnoticenorslmplynaming th! person inthe caption ofthe corpplaintwilljubjectdpfendantsto personal jurlsdiction ifservicewasnotmade Insubstantlalcompllancewith Rule4. 7 8 9 Jackson v.Hayakawa,682 F.2d 1344,1347 (9thCir.1982). J0 11 Local Rule 7-2 provides that the 'failure of an opposing party to file points and authorities in response to any m otion shaliconstitute a consentto the granting ofthe m otion.'' 12 LR 7-2.Tlne ''Xailuretofollow adistrictcourt'slocalrulesisapropergroundsfordismissal.'' Ghazaliv.Moran,46 F.3d52'53(9thCir.1995).Beforedismissingacaseforfailingtofollow 14 Iocalrules,the districtcoud mustweighfivefactors:d'(1)the public'sinterestinexpeditious 13 l5 l6 17 resolution ofIitigation' ,(2)the court's need to manage itsdocket;(3)the riskofprejudiceto thedefendants' ,(4)thepublicpolicyfavoring disposition ofcasesontheirmerits,and (5)the availability oflessdrasticsanctions.''Henderson v.Duncan,779 F.2d 1421,1423(9th Cir. 18 1986).1 19 111. ANAuysls 20 2l Defendants move to dismiss claims againstthe SolicitorGeneraland lreland under Rule12(b)(2)and(5)forIackofpersonaljurisdictionandinsufficientserviceofprocess.They 22 23 .- 24 :This five-factorjqalysis appears inappropriate for unopposed motionj to dismiss underFedeqalRuleofClvllProcedure 12(b).Thisisprobably because itwasflrstadopted 2 fordeterm inlng w hethera sua sponte dism issalw as appropriate forfailure to prosecute under 5 Rule41(b) SeeHendersonv.Duncan,779 F.2d 1421,1423(9thCir,1986), ,Ash t/.Cvetkov, 26 739 F.2d 493,496 (9th Cir.1984).The Ninth Circuitin Ghazali,stated thatthe five-factor anaIysisalso applied to unopposed motignsto dismissuqder12(b)(6),butdid notactually 2-/ apply the factors in thatcase. lnstead,ltconducted an Independentreview forabuse gf . discretion. 46 F.3d at53. But,many courts have since followed Ghazallns precedent ln 28 c k' laCl ir pac inhur gtoski ap hF. ef i ve-, f c tort estto uhno qrp.o2008) sedm.otionstodismiss.See,e.g.,Wystrach ,p 2j7t App xa 606, 608 (9t Cl , 3 move todismissthe Doe defendantsunderRule 12(b)(1)and (6)forIackofsubjectmatter jurisdiction andfailureto state a claim upon which reliefcan be granted. 3 4 Toserve aUnitedStatesarqncyorcorporation,ora UnitedStatesofficer or em ployee sued only in an ofhclalcapaclty,a party m ust serve the United States qnd also send acopyofthe sumqlons aqd ofthe complaintby registered orcertifled mailto th& agency,corporatlon,o%cer,oremployee. 5 Fed.R.Civ.P.4(i)(2). To servea United Statesofficeroremployeesued inan individualcapacit├»for 7 an actoromission occurring in connection with duties pedormed oq the Unltjd States'behalf(whetherornottheofficeroremployee isalsosued Inanofficlal 8 capacity),a party mustsewe the United States and aiso ser've the officeror employee underRule4(e),(f),or(g). Fed.R.Civ.P.4(i)(3). 6 To serve the United States,a party m ust: 11 (A)(i)delivera cogy gfthesummonsandofthecomplaintto the UnitedStjtes attorney forthe dlstrlctwhere the action is brought- ortp an assistantUnlted States attorney or clerical em ployee w hom the U nlted States attorney designates in a writing filed with the courtclerk- or (ii)send !copy ofeach byregistered orcertified mailtothe civil-processclerk atthe Unlted States attorney's office; (B)send j copyofeachbyregistered orcertified mailto the AttorneyGeneral ofthe U nl ted States atW ashington,D .C .;and (C)ifthe action challenges an orderofa nonparty agency orofficerofthe United States,send a copy ofeach by registered orcertified mailto the agency orofficer. Fed.R.Civ.P.4(i)(1). If a defendantis notserved within 120 days afterthe qomplaintis fil├žd,the coqd- o! n motion gron its own afternotice to the plaintlff- mustdismlss the actlon wlthoutprqudice againstthatdefendantororderthatservice be made within a specified time.Butifthe plaintiffshows good cause forthe failure,the courtm ustextend the tim e forservice foran appropriate period, Fed.R.Civ.P.4(m). 24 25 A . Solicitor General State Farm sued the Solicitor G eneralin her officialcapacity. To establish personal 26 jurisdiction,State Farm ''mustser'vethe United Statesand also send acopyofthesummons 27 and ofthe com plaintby registered orcertified mai!to''the SolicitorGeneral. Fed.R.Civ.P. 28 4(i)(2), Apparently,State Farm hasdoneneither,SinceState Farm fileditcomplaintonJuly 4 1 25,2007,more than two years have passed,welloverthe 12O days to serve a defendant 2 requiredbyRule4(m).DismissalwithoutprejudiceoftheclaimsagainsttheSolicitorGeneral 3 is proper, 4 B. Ireland 5 State Farm sued lreland in herindividualcapacityforactions done inthe scope ofher 6 employmentforthe SolicitorGeneral. To establishpersonaljurisdiction,State Farm ''must 7 servethe United Statesand also serve''Ireland. Fed,R.Civ.P.4(i)(3). Apparently,State 8 Farm has done neither. Since State Farm filed itcom plainton July 25,2007,m ore than tw o 9 years have passed,welloverthe 120 days to serve a defendantrequired by Rule 4(m), I0 Dismissalwithoutprejudice oftheclalmsagainstlreland isproper. 11 C. Doe defendants 12 Pleading fictitious Doe defendants is im properin federalcourt. Turnert CountyofLos 13 Angeles,18 Fed.App'x592,596(9thCir.2001)('' Asageneralrule,the useofDoe pleading 14 isdisfavoredinfederalcourt.''l;Graz/osev.AmericanHorr?/ProductsCorp.,202 F.R.D.638, i5 643(D.Nev.2001)('lfthereare unknownpersonsorentities,whose roleisknown,thatfact 16 should be expressed in the com plaint,butit is unnecessary and im properto include 'Doe' 17 parties in the pleadings. This in no way preciudes a party's right,upon learning of the 18 participation ofadditionalparties,toseekto amendthe complaint(oranswer)and havethe 19 amendmentrelate backin time to theoriginalfiling ifthe circumstancesjustifyit.'').A claim 20 againstDoeshasnoeffectinfederalcourt.Dismissalwithoutprejudiceoftheclaimsagainst 21 the Doe defendants is proper. 22 D. Five-FactorAnalysis 23 The five-factoranalysis favors dismissal. ''(Tqhe public's interest in expeditious 24 resolution ofIitigation always favors dism issal.'' Yourish t & California Am plifier,191 F.3d 983, 25 99O (9thCir.1999).TheCourt'sneed to manage itsdocketismanifest.Defendantiswould 26 be prejudiced by fudherdelay. Since dismissaliswithoutprejudice,a disposition on the 27 m erits is stillpossible. 28 5 IV. CosctusloN Accordingly,IT IS ORDERED thatDefendant'sMotionto Dismiss(#11)isGRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED thatPlaintifrscomplaintisDISMISSED withoutprejudice. DATED :This 30th day ofNovem ber,2009, Rbb-ertc J8i -- -- UNITED bTA s DlsTRlcT JUDGE 6