Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Changes (part 2)

How about this one.  Proposed Rule 4(m) decreases the time period for serving a defendant from 120 days to 60 days. If service has not occurred at that point, the judge may dismiss the action.  Judge Ball said the early amendment was to shorten it to 60 days.  Wow, that would have serious impact on plaintiff’s attorneys.

Current Rule 4(m):

(m) Time Limit for Service. If a defendant is not served within 120 days after the complaint is filed,  the court—on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff—must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court must extend the time for service for an appropriate period. This subdivision (m) does not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f) or 4(j)(1).

Proposed Rule 4(m):

Time Limit for Service. If a defendant is not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the court — on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff — must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure, the court must extend the time for service for an appropriate period. This subdivision (m) does not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f) or 4(j)(1) or to service of a notice under Rule 71.1(d)(3)(A).

MRCP 4(h):

(h) Summons: Time Limit for Service. If a service of the summons and complaint is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after the filing of the complaint and the party on whose behalf such service was required cannot show good cause why such service was not made within that period, the action shall be dismissed as to that defendant without prejudice upon the court’s own initiative with notice to such party or upon motion.

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