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Burke v. Hillsborough County School Board

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

May 2, 2017

CHAD BURKE, Plaintiff,
v.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant.

          ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court sua sponte. A review of the file indicates that Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court takes the opportunity to inform Plaintiff of some of the procedural rules with which Plaintiff must comply. The Court does so because pro se litigants are subject to the same law and rules as litigants who are represented by counsel, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules. Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989). While the Court will set forth some of the more prominent procedural obligations and requirements, this Order does not set forth all of the requirements and should not be relied upon as limiting Plaintiff's duties and obligations.

         For more information, Plaintiff should review the “Proceeding Without a Lawyer” section of the court's website. Of particular note is the Handbook designed to help guide pro se litigants. Also, there is a legal assistance program on Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Sam A. Gibbons United States Courthouse where pro se litigants may consult with a lawyer on a limited basis for free. A description of this program may be found on the court's website under the “Proceeding Without a Lawyer” section.

         I. Frequent Terms

Action

A “civil or criminal judicial proceeding.” Action, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014). An action is often used as a synonym for suit or lawsuit. Id.

Answer

A type of pleading. An answer is how a defendant responds to a complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b).

Cause of Action

A “factual situation that entitles one person to obtain a remedy in court from another person.” Cause of action, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Complaint

A type of pleading. A complaint is how a plaintiff initiates a civil lawsuit and it is the document that contains the plaintiff's allegations forming the basis of the suit. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a).

In Forma Pauperis

Latin for “in the manner of a pauper” and used by courts to indicate when a litigant is excused from paying filing fees. In forma pauperis, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Motion

How relief is requested from the court. A motion must (1) be in writing unless made during a hearing or at trial, (2) state with particularity the grounds for seeking the order, and (3) state the relief sought. Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(b).

Movant

The party that files a motion and is seeking relief from the court.

Pleading

There are only 7 types of filings that are considered pleadings under the Rules. Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(a). Two common types of pleadings are a complaint and an answer.

Process

“A summons or writ, [especially] to appear or respond in court.” Process, Black's Law Dictionary.

Pro Se

“One who represents oneself in a court proceeding without the assistance of a lawyer.” Pro se, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Service of Process

Refers to the procedure for notifying a defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against him or her. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 lists the requirements for effecting service of process.

Sua Sponte

Latin for “of one's own accord; voluntarily” and used by the court to indicate when an order was entered on the court's own initiative. Sua Sponte, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Summons

“A writ or process commencing the plaintiff's action and requiring the defendant to appear and answer.” Summons, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(a) lists the required contents of a summons.

         II. Local Rules

         The Local Rules are available for review on the public website for the Middle District Court of Florida and a copy may be obtained by visiting the Clerk's Office.

         III. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are available for review online or in the law libraries of the state and federal courthouses.

         IV. Filing Fee

         In order to maintain an action in this Court, Plaintiff must either pay the filing fee to the Clerk's Office or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. If the filing fee has not already been paid, Plaintiff is directed to either pay the filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

         V. Service of Process

         Plaintiff is required to perfect service of process on all defendants within 90 days of filing the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). It is Plaintiff's responsibility to ensure service of process occurs within the 90-day window. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(1). Failure to timely or otherwise properly perfect service of process may, under some circumstances, result in dismissal of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m), 12(b). Plaintiff must also file proof of service, generally by affidavit of the process server, as to each defendant who has not waived service. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(1)(1).

         For those plaintiffs who have filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court endeavors to rule on such motions in a timely fashion. However, it remains the Plaintiff's burden to ensure service on all defendants is accomplished within 90 days from when the complaint was filed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(1), 4(m). If the motion to proceed in forma pauperis is granted, the United States Marshals Service will attempt to serve the defendants after you provide fully executed summonses and copies of the complaint to the Marshals Service. However, the Marshals Service will not attempt to effect service until the motion to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(3). On its own ...


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