The Office of the Attorney General has asked the federal court to dismiss for insufficient service of process an amended lawsuit filed by former U.S. Army Ranger Paul Michael Murphy over the alleged confiscation of his firearms and ammunition in 2007.
Murphy attempted to personally serve process of the summons and the amended complaint upon the defendants in violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, according to assistant attorney general James M. Zarones.
Zarones filed the motion last week as counsel for Department of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero and Department of Finance Secretary Larissa Larson.
Zarones pointed out that the court previously told Murphy that he may not personally serve the defendants with process.
In particular, Zarones said the court notified Murphy that he was not permitted to serve the summons himself.
However, he said, Murphy attempted to personally serve the defendants with the summons and complaint in this case.
“Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure renders the service of the complaint insufficient,” Zarones said.
Early this month, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the CNMI government’s motion to dismiss Murphy’s $5-million lawsuit.
Manglona, however, allowed Murphy to amend his complaint by April 20, 2015.
The judge said Murphy failed to sign his first amended complaint, although he signed the original complaint.
Manglona said Murphy also erred in naming the Commonwealth as the defendant in the caption, rather than DPS Commissioner Deleon Guerrero, as he did in the pleadings.
Manglona said neither the Commonwealth nor Deleon Guerrero was properly served, in violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
However, Manglona said, because Murphy is the plaintiff, he is precluded from serving his own process, and the service of the summons and complaint on Deleon Guerrero was ineffective.
The judge pointed out that Murphy is a pro se, non-lawyer litigant and it makes sense to give him the benefit of the doubt when he is tripped up by the legal profession’s arcane rules.
In a pro se complaint or without a lawyer, Murphy, who is now a teacher, also asked the court to repeal the CNMI Weapons Control Act and all associated legislation, licensing, taxation, recording, administration, and processing.
Murphy said DPS withheld all his firearms and ammunition until the issuance of a firearms, ammunition, and explosive identification card on Sept. 20, 2007.
He said his two firearms were sent to the Guam Police Department armory for holding, while the ammunition is still being held by CNMI DPS Firearms Section.
Murphy said DPS had denied his repeated request to carry and possess his rifle and pistol.