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Nabi v. Childs

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 7, 2019

NURI NABI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DESTINY L. CHILDS, et. al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Michael A. Hammer United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court by way of Plaintiffs Nuri Nabi and Gulsana Yesman (“Plaintiffs”) motion for leave to serve Defendants Destiny L. Childs and Alexis Carla Childs (“Defendants”) by alternative means pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e). Pls.' Mot. for Substitute Service, D.E. 8. Specifically, Plaintiffs request leave to effect service on Defendants through their automobile insurance carrier, Geico. Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' request for an extension of time to serve Defendants. Pls.' Letter, Oct. 22, 2019, D.E. 9. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78 and Local Civil Rule 78.1, the Court decided the motion and letter request without oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is granted. Plaintiff's request for an extension of time to effect service is also granted.

         II.BACKGROUND

         On May 23, 2019, Plaintiff Nabi filed a Complaint against Defendants stemming from an automobile accident in which Plaintiff Nabi and Defendant Destiny Childs were involved on July 3, 2017 on the Express Road Exit for Rule 1/9 and Route 78 near the Newark Airport. Compl., May 23, 2019, D.E. 1, ¶¶ 8-14. As a result of the accident, Plaintiff claims to be suffering severe and permanent injuries. Id. at ¶ 24. Defendant Alexis Childs was the owner of the motor vehicle that Defendant Destiny Childs was operating at the time of the accident. Id. at ¶ 26. Plaintiff brought a negligence claim against Destiny Childs and a negligent entrustment claim against Alexis Childs. Id. at Count I and II. On June 19, 2019, Plaintiff amended her Complaint to include a loss of consortium claim for her spouse, Gulsana Yesmen. Amd. Compl. June 19, 2019, D.E. 3.

         On September 3, 2019, Plaintiffs applied for an extension of time to serve Defendants with the Summons and Complaint because they were having trouble ascertaining Defendants' whereabouts. Rutala Cert., ¶ 24; D.E. 6. On September 11, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs' request, extending Plaintiffs' deadline to serve Defendants to October 31, 2019. Rutala Cert., ¶ 25; D.E. 7. Plaintiffs filed the instant motion for substitute service on October 8, 2019. D.E. 8. On October 22, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a letter seeking an additional extension of time to serve Defendants. D.E. 9.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Substitute Service

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e) provides that:

Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual-other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed-may be served in a judicial district of the United States by:
(1) following state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is located or where service is made; or (2) doing any of the following:
(A) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally;
(B) leaving a copy of each at the individual's dwelling or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there; or (C) delivering a copy of each to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.

         Pursuant to New Jersey law, personal service is the primary and preferred method to serve an individual defendant located within the state. N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(a). However, when personal service cannot be effectuated in accordance with N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(a), New Jersey law allows for substitute modes of service so long as the proposed form of service is ...


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