Chen v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

PETITIONER: Bobby Chen
RESPONDENT: Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al.
LOCATION: Chen’s Property

DOCKET NO.: 13-10400
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: US ()
GRANTED: Nov 07, 2014
DECIDED: Feb 23, 2015

Facts of the case

Bobby Chen was the owner of a residential property that was damaged when the city of Baltimore and the city's contractor P & J Contracting Company were in the process of razing the adjacent rowhouse. Chen originally sued in 2009 and alleged that, instead of repairing the damage they had caused, the defendants razed Chen's property on the pretext that it was an unsafe structure. The court dismissed the case later in 2009 due to Chen's failure to meet various procedural deadlines. Chen filed a second action in 2011, but when the clerk of the court issued summonses, they were returned as undeliverable and the 120-day limit for the period of service lapsed. The court issued an order requiring Chen to show cause about why his case should not be dismissed, and Chen sought an extension of time to effect service of process. The court granted Chen a further 60-day extension, and he was warned that failure to effect service of process during this time would result in dismissal. The 60-day period expired and the defendant moved for dismissal, which the trial court granted. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court's dismissal.

Question

Do the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a district court to extend the time for service of process without a showing of good cause?

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