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Civil Resource Manual

44. Service on Government Officers in Official Capacity, Agencies

Service upon an officer, sued in his/her official capacity, or upon an agency or corporation of the United States is accomplished by serving the United States (see USAM 4-2.310), and by sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to the officer, agency, or corporation. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(i)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(3). In addition, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(3) permits service of an officer or agency by certified mail beyond the territorial limits of the jurisdiction in which the action is brought, notwithstanding Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k), if the official is suable in the District of Columbia. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Tennessee Val. Authority, 459 F.2d 255 (2d Cir. 1972); Rimar v. McCowan, 374 F. Supp. 1179 (E.D. Mich. 1974). The suit must also be against the employee in his/her official rather than individual capacity. See Stafford v. Briggs, 444 U.S. 527 (1980); Relf v. Gasch, 511 F.2d 804, 808 n.18 (D.C. Cir. 1975). The court lacks jurisdiction if the plaintiff does not serve the officer, the USA, and the Attorney General. See Smith v. McNamara, 395 F.2d 896 (10th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 934 (1969). The provisions of the rule as to service are mandatory. Wallach v. Cannon, 357 F.2d 557 (8th Cir. 1966). See USAM 4-5.413, infra, for service on government officials in individual capacity.

[cited in USAM 4-2.300]