United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
JON E. DeGUILIO, District Judge.
Now before the Court is the Plaintiff's Request for Entry of Default Judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). Under that rule, "[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the party's default." For a party to have an obligation to plead or otherwise defend an action, though, it must first be properly served. The defendants here are four individuals sued in their official capacities as officers or employees of the Department of Homeland Security, a United States agency. "To serve a United States agency or corporation, or a United States officer or employee sued only in an official capacity, a party must serve the United States and also send a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to the agency, corporation, officer, or employee." Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(i)(2) (emphasis added).
The record indicates that the Plaintiff has only completed the latter requirement, in that he has sent the summons to each of the individuals. To properly complete service, however, he must also serve the United States according to the procedures specified under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Pursuant to Rule 4(i)(1), to properly serve the United States, a plaintiff must do each of the following:
(A)(i) deliver a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the United States attorney for the district where the action is brought-or to an assistant United States attorney or clerical employee whom the United States attorney designates in a writing filed with the court clerk-or (ii) send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the civil-process clerk at the United States attorney's office;
(B) send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, D.C.; and
(C) if the action challenges an order of a nonparty agency or officer of the United States, send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the agency or officer.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(i)(1).
Because the Plaintiff has not yet completed all of those steps, the Defendants have not yet been properly served, and have no obligation to plead or otherwise defend in this action, so entry of default is not warranted. ...