Rule 4 – Summons
(through July 14, 2022)
(a) Contents; Amendments. (1) Contents. A summons must: (A) name the court and the parties; (B) be directed to the defendant; (C) state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney or—if unrepresented—of the plaintiff; (D) state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend; (E) notify the defendant that a failure to appear and defend will result in a default judgment against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint; (F) be signed by the clerk; and (G) bear the court’s seal. (2) Amendments. The court may permit a summons to be amended.
(b) Issuance. On or after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant. A summons—or a copy of a summons that is addressed to multiple defendants—must be issued for each defendant to be served.
(c) Service. (1) In General. A summons must be served with a copy of the complaint. The plaintiff is responsible for having the summons and complaint served within the time allowed by Rule 4(m) and must furnish the necessary copies to the person who makes service. (2) By Whom. Any person who is at least 18 years old and not a party may serve a summons and complaint. (3) By a Marshal or Someone Specially Appointed. At the plaintiff’s request, the court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal or by a person specially appointed by the court. The court must so order if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §1915 or as a seaman under 28 U.S.C. §1916.
(d) Waiving Service. (1) Requesting a Waiver. An individual, corporation, or association that is subject to service under Rule 4(e), (f), or (h) has a duty to avoid unnecessary expenses of serving the summons. The plaintiff may notify such a defendant that an action has been commenced and request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request must: (A) be in writing and be addressed: (i) to the individual defendant; or (ii) for a defendant subject to service under Rule 4(h), to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process; (B) name the court where the complaint was filed; (C) be accompanied by a copy of the complaint, 2 copies of the waiver form appended to this Rule 4, and a prepaid means for returning the form; (D) inform the defendant, using the form appended to this Rule 4, of the consequences of waiving and not waiving service; (E) state the date when the request is sent; (F) give the defendant a reasonable time of at least 30 days after the request was sent—or at least 60 days if sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States—to return the waiver; and (G) be sent by first-class mail or other reliable means. (2) Failure to Waive. If a defendant located within the United States fails, without good cause, to sign and return a waiver requested by a plaintiff located within the United States, the court must impose on the defendant: (A) the expenses later incurred in making service; and (B) the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, of any motion required to collect those service expenses. (3) Time to Answer After a Waiver. A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a waiver need not serve an answer to the complaint until 60 days after the request was sent—or until 90 days after it was sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States. (4) Results of Filing a Waiver. When the plaintiff files a waiver, proof of service is not required and these rules apply as if a summons and complaint had been served at the time of filing the waiver. (5) Jurisdiction and Venue Not Waived. Waiving service of a summons does not waive any objection to personal jurisdiction or to venue.
(e) Serving an Individual Within a Judicial District of the United States. Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual—other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed—may be served in a judicial district of the United States by: (1) following state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is located or where service is made; or (2) doing any of the following: (A) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally; (B) leaving a copy of each at the individual’s dwelling or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there; or (C) delivering a copy of each to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
(f) Serving an Individual in a Foreign Country. Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual—other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed—may be served at a place not within any judicial district of the United States: (1) by any internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents; (2) if there is no internationally agreed means, or if an international agreement allows but does not specify other means, by a method that is reasonably calculated to give notice: (A) as prescribed by the foreign country’s law for service in that country in an action in its courts of general jurisdiction; (B) as the foreign authority directs in response to a letter rogatory or letter of request; or (C) unless prohibited by the foreign country’s law, by: (i) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally; or (ii) using any form of mail that the clerk addresses and sends to the individual and that requires a signed receipt; or (3) by other means not prohibited by international agreement, as the court orders.
(g) Serving a Minor or an Incompetent Person. A minor or an incompetent person in a judicial district of the United States must be served by following state law for serving a summons or like process on such a defendant in an action brought in the courts of general jurisdiction of the state where service is made. A minor or an incompetent person who is not within any judicial district of the United States must be served in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(f)(2)(A), (f)(2)(B), or (f)(3).
(h) Serving a Corporation, Partnership, or Association. Unless federal law provides otherwise or the defendant’s waiver has been filed, a domestic or foreign corporation, or a partnership or other unincorporated association that is subject to suit under a common name, must be served: (1) in a judicial district of the United States: (A) in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(e)(1) for serving an individual; or (B) by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and—if the agent is one authorized by statute and the statute so requires—by also mailing a copy of each to the defendant; or (2) at a place not within any judicial district of the United States, in any manner prescribed by Rule 4(f) for serving an individual, except personal delivery under (f)(2)(C)(i).
(i) Serving the United States and Its Agencies, Corporations, Officers, or Employees. (1) United States. To serve the United States, a party must: (A)(i) deliver a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the United States attorney for the district where the action is brought—or to an assistant United States attorney or clerical employee whom the United States attorney designates in a writing filed with the court clerk—or (ii) send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the civil-process clerk at the United States attorney’s office; (B) send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, D.C.; and (C) if the action challenges an order of a nonparty agency or officer of the United States, send a copy of each by registered or certified mail to the agency or officer. (2) Agency; Corporation; Officer or Employee Sued in an Official Capacity. To serve a United States agency or corporation, or a United States officer or employee sued only in an official capacity, a party must serve the United States and also send a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to the agency, corporation, officer, or employee. (3) Officer or Employee Sued Individually. To serve a United States officer or employee sued in an individual capacity for an act or omission occurring in connection with duties performed on the United States’ behalf (whether or not the officer or employee is also sued in an official capacity), a party must serve the United States and also serve the officer or employee under Rule 4(e), (f), or (g). (4) Extending Time. The court must allow a party a reasonable time to cure its failure to: (A) serve a person required to be served under Rule 4(i)(2), if the party has served either the United States attorney or the Attorney General of the United States; or (B) serve the United States under Rule 4(i)(3), if the party has served the United States officer or employee.
(j) Serving a Foreign, State, or Local Government. (1) Foreign State. A foreign state or its political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality must be served in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §1608. (2) State or Local Government. A state, a municipal corporation, or any other state-created governmental organization that is subject to suit must be served by: (A) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to its chief executive officer; or (B) serving a copy of each in the manner prescribed by that state’s law for serving a summons or like process on such a defendant.
(k) Territorial Limits of Effective Service. (1) In General. Serving a summons or filing a waiver of service establishes personal jurisdiction over a defendant: (A) who is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is located; (B) who is a party joined under Rule 14 or 19 and is served within a judicial district of the United States and not more than 100 miles from where the summons was issued; or (C) when authorized by a federal statute. (2) Federal Claim Outside State-Court Jurisdiction. For a claim that arises under federal law, serving a summons or filing a waiver of service establishes personal jurisdiction over a defendant if: (A) the defendant is not subject to jurisdiction in any state’s courts of general jurisdiction; and (B) exercising jurisdiction is consistent with the United States Constitution and laws.
(l) Proving Service. (1) Affidavit Required. Unless service is waived, proof of service must be made to the court. Except for service by a United States marshal or deputy marshal, proof must be by the server’s affidavit. (2) Service Outside the United States. Service not within any judicial district of the United States must be proved as follows: (A) if made under Rule 4(f)(1), as provided in the applicable treaty or convention; or (B) if made under Rule 4(f)(2) or (f)(3), by a receipt signed by the addressee, or by other evidence satisfying the court that the summons and complaint were delivered to the addressee. (3) Validity of Service; Amending Proof. Failure to prove service does not affect the validity of service. The court may permit proof of service to be amended.
(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), 4(h)(2), or 4(j)(1), or to service of a notice under Rule 71.1(d)(3)(A).
(n) Asserting Jurisdiction over Property or Assets. (1) Federal Law. The court may assert jurisdiction over property if authorized by a federal statute. Notice to claimants of the property must be given as provided in the statute or by serving a summons under this rule. (2) State Law. On a showing that personal jurisdiction over a defendant cannot be obtained in the district where the action is brought by reasonable efforts to serve a summons under this rule, the court may assert jurisdiction over the defendant’s assets found in the district. Jurisdiction is acquired by seizing the assets under the circumstances and in the manner provided by state law in that district.
Rule 4(m) is amended to correct a possible ambiguity that appears to have generated some confusion in practice. Service in a foreign country often is accomplished by means that require more than the time set by Rule 4(m). This problem is recognized by the two clear exceptions for service on an individual in a foreign country under Rule 4(f) and for service on a foreign state under Rule 4(j)(1) . The potential ambiguity arises from the lack of any explicit reference to service on a corporation, partnership, or other unincorporated association. Rule 4(h)(2) provides for service on such defendants at a place outside any judicial district of the United States “in any manner prescribed by Rule 4(f) for serving an individual, except personal delivery under (f)(2)(C)(i).” Invoking service “in the manner prescribed by Rule 4(f)” could easily be read to mean that service under Rule 4(h)(2) is also service “under” Rule 4(f) . That interpretation is in keeping with the purpose to recognize the delays that often occur in effecting service in a foreign country . But it also is possible to read the words for what t hey seem to say — service is under Rule 4(h)(2), albeit in a manner borrowed from almost all, but not quite all, of Rule 4(f).
What is Rule 4f3? ›
Unless federal law provides otherwise, an individual—other than a minor, an incompetent person, or a person whose waiver has been filed—may be served at a place not within any judicial district of the United States: (3) by other means not prohibited by international agreement, as the court orders.What is the Rule 44? ›
Rule 44 requires that a party who “questions the constitutionality of an Act of Congress” in a proceeding in which the United States is not a party must provide written notice of that challenge to the clerk. Rule 44 is designed to implement 28 U.S.C.What is the rule of 61? ›
Unless justice requires otherwise, no error in admitting or excluding evidence—or any other error by the court or a party—is ground for granting a new trial, for setting aside a verdict, or for vacating, modifying, or otherwise disturbing a judgment or order.Can you be served by mail in California? ›
Service by mail is permitted for all papers if the party to be served lives outside California. In these circumstances the mailing must be by Registered or Certified Mail and must have the Return Receipt Requested form attached and filled out.How do you answer a summons without a lawyer? ›
Take your written answer to the clerk's office.
If you've decided to take your answer to the clerk's office in person for filing, bring your originals plus at least 2 copies. The clerk will take your documents and stamp each set of papers "filed" with the date. They will then give the copies back to you.
(1) No original summons shall be in force for more than twelve months from the day of the date thereof, including the day of such date; but if any defendant therein named shall not have been served therewith, the plaintiff may apply before the expiration of twelve months to the Master for leave to renew the summons.What does rule 35 mean? ›
(a) Correction of Sentence.
The sentencing court may correct an illegal sentence at any time and may correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner within the time provided herein for the reduction of sentence.
The provisions of Rule 36 make it clear that admissions function very much as pleadings do. Thus, when a party admits in part and denies in part, his admission is for purposes of the pending action only and may not be used against him in any other proceeding.What is the Rule 32? ›
Any party may use a deposition to contradict or impeach the testimony given by the deponent as a witness, or for any other purpose allowed by the Federal Rules of Evidence.How many days before court must you be served in California? ›
For personal service: Serve your claim at least 15 days before the court date (or 20 days if the person, business, or public entity you are serving is outside the county).
Can a process server leave papers at your door California? ›
While process servers may not legally enter a building, they may leave a summons taped outside of your door, as long as it does not display the contents.What happens if summons not received? ›
If anyone is unresponsive to a summons also known as legal notice the court would respond by or the course of action of the court would be initiating ex-parte legal proceedings which would entail the plaintiff proving his claim through the legal procedure as well as by evidencing supporting his claim.What happens if a defendant does not respond to a summons? ›
If you fail to respond, the Plaintiff can apply for default judgment to be entered in their favour. It is best to consult an attorney if you receive a summons.How do I reject a court summons? ›
You need to appear in High Court otherwise Court has power to decide his application ex parte. Appealing in High Court is his right and you need to reply to his application stating your points and hire the services of an advocate of High Court of your State.What are the stages of a civil case? ›
- Filing of Plaint. The facts and summary of the case are recorded in the plaint, which is a legal document. ...
- Issuing of Summons. ...
- The appearance of the Parties to the Dispute. ...
- Interlocutory Proceedings. ...
- Written Statement. ...
- Examination. ...
- Framing of the Issues Involved. ...
- Documents Required.
If you made your claim on a paper form or through MCOL, the defendant must tell you they've received your claim within 14 days either by sending a reply or a form called an 'acknowledgement of service'. If they send you an acknowledgement of service, they have 28 days to send you a reply.What happens after summons is served? ›
Summons issued by the court personally to the Defendant or his agent. After such service the officer of the court (Belief of court) shall obtain signature of the Defendant or his agent or adult member of his family to whom served personally and return original copy of summons to the court with his report.What does rule 24 mean? ›
(1) In General. On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to intervene who: (A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or. (B) has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a common question of law or fact. (2) By a Government Officer or Agency.What does rule 43 mean? ›
Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure deals with the presence of the defendant during the proceedings against him. It presently permits a defendant to be tried in absentia only in non-capital cases where the defendant has voluntarily absented himself after the trial has begun.What is the rule of 64? ›
(a) Remedies Under State Law—In General. At the commencement of and throughout an action, every remedy is available that, under the law of the state where the court is located, provides for seizing a person or property to secure satisfaction of the potential judgment.
What is the rule of 39? ›
- In all actions not triable of right by a jury the court upon motion or if its own initiative may try any issue or question of fact with an advisory jury or the court, with the consent of the parties, may order a trial with a jury whose verdict has the same effect as if trial by jury had been a matter of right.What is Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? ›
Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for discovery and inspection of documents and things in the course of developing a case for trial. Subsection (b)(1)(A) states that the request must “describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected.” See Fed. R. Civ.What is the rule of 38? ›
(a) Right Preserved. The right of trial by jury as declared by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution—or as provided by a federal statute—is preserved to the parties inviolate.What is the difference between sentence and Judgement? ›
Judgment is a term frequently confused by Argentines because in Argentina a judgment is referred to as “sentencia” which may look very similar to the term sentence but it's different. Sentence refers to the punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.What is a Rule 32 petition just mercy? ›
In the state of Alabama, a Rule 32 Petition requires State and local officials to turn over any and all available records and forms of evidence connected to the case of a convicted individual as part of a postconviction collateral appeal.Can depositions be used as evidence? ›
Basically, a deposition is admissible in court because it is a means to verify testimony or is used as evidence to support a claim. A judge rules on whether to admit the deposition or not, but it will most likely be allowed.Can you serve court papers by email? ›
In the case of service by email, a specified method can be agreed so that the receipt of court documents may be managed and monitored properly. Service of documents by email is 'opt-in'. Simply because correspondence is sent by email between the parties does not mean a court document may be served by email.Do process servers call you before they serve you? ›
Answer: Legitimate process servers are highly unlikely to make such calls. The calls are almost certainly from scammers who try to frighten people into giving account information to transfer funds.How long does a process server have to serve papers? ›
For standard serves, the typical time to serve papers is 5-7 days. Turn-around-time (or TAT) can vary from process server to process server. However, this is something that can be determined in most cases by you, which usually leads to a higher cost.Can a process server carry a gun in California? ›
Purpose of the policies
While they acknowledge that many of their servers carry while on the job, their ultimate goal is to serve their customers who have expressed that, in order to continue conducting business with these companies, process servers cannot carry guns.
How many times can a process server come to your house in California? ›
There is no limit to the number of times a process server can visit you or come to your house to serve you documents. Each process server has their own rules as to how many times they will attempt to serve documents. In most cases, three attempts will be made, and at different times of the day and on different days.Do process servers leave notes? ›
Process servers cannot leave papers in a person's mailbox. By federal law, only authorized U.S. Postal Service employees are allowed to open the mailbox or touch the mail of another person. Servers who tamper with someone's mail or mailbox are subject to criminal charges.How many summons can a court give? ›
Only one summon issued is enough to issue bailable warrant of the accused in cheque bounce case , subject to the condition that the summon should b delivered to the accused and it's report is in file before the date of hearing .How many times legal notice can be sent? ›
Normally one Notice by Advocate on client behalf is enough. But if there is change in facts and circumstances of the case, then Client is entitled to issue second Notice for fresh cause of action. On same averments of facts and circumstances in Legal Notice, issuance of second notice is not advisable.What happens if you dont accept court notice? ›
Not accepting it would amount to "refusal" and if the person sending it takes it to Court, it is likely that an Order may be passed against you. I recommend receiving it and then deciding how to reply to it with the assistance of a lawyer.How do you serve someone court papers in California? ›
There are three ways to serve a claim: [A.] service by the Sheriff from a courthouse near where the defendant lives or works, [B.] hire a registered process server, or [C.] having a friend or family member over the age of eighteen provide the service.What happens if you can't serve someone in California? ›
What Happens if the Documents Cannot Be Served? If a process server is unsuccessful in serving the person, the attorney may file a motion with the court asking to serve the person in another manner. The court may grant a motion to serve by public notice.How do you serve someone who is avoiding service in California? ›
Instead of personally delivering legal papers, a process server may convey service by certified mail in California. If the server can track down the last known address, or forwarding address of the defendant, the complaint and court summons may be sent by certified mail to this address.How is a court summons delivered? ›
The Sheriff will give the Summons to the defendant by hand. They can also give it to someone who lives with the defendant who is at least 13 years old. Next, the Sheriff fills out a sworn statement on the back of the copy of the Summons. Then, they file it with the Clerk of the Court.