United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Davis, Sr., filed this suit on July 15, 2015. He named as
defendants the Knox County Sheriff's Office and several
officers. Davis served process on these parties by leaving
the complaints and summonses with a Sheriff's Office
November 9, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss. They argued
that Davis did not properly serve them and that, even if he
had, he has not stated a valid claim. In their motion to
dismiss, Defendants invited Davis to speak with them about
waiving service of process. Davis never took Defendants up on
their offer, so they withdrew it on February 23, 2017-over
550 days after this suit began.
before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss.
Because Davis has not properly served Defendants, the motion
is granted. The Court does not consider whether Davis has
stated a valid claim against Defendants.
first move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(5). They argue that Davis has failed to service process
on them according to Rule 4. There are two categories of
defendants here: the Knox County Sheriff s Office
(“KCSO”) and the individual officers. KCSO is an
arm of the Knox County Government, not a separate legal
entity. See Knox County Charter § 4.02. As a
result, there are two ways that Davis could have served it:
• Delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the
County's chief executive officer; or
• Following Tennessee law for serving a local
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(j)(2). Defendants contend that Davis did
not serve KCSO in either way.
Court agrees. Davis did not deliver a copy of the summons and
complaint to the Knox County Mayor, its CEO. See Tenn. Code
Ann. § 5-6-101(d)(1). Instead, he served Elizabeth
Beeler, a KCSO receptionist. Beeler is not an agent of the
Knox County Mayor. As a result, she cannot accept service on
did Davis follow Tennessee law in serving KCSO. Counties may
be served by delivering the summons and complaint to the
county's mayor. Tenn. R. Civ. P. 4.04(7). Again, Davis
served only a ...