Rule 4 - Process, Me. R. Civ. P. 4 (2022)

Rule 4 - Process
(a) Summons: Form. The summons shall bear the signature or facsimile signature of the clerk; be under the seal of the court; contain the name of the court and the names of the parties; be directed to the defendant; state the name and addres, including email address, of the plaintiff's attorney, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend; and shall notify the defendant that in case of failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint.
(b) Same: Issuance. The summons may be procured in blank from the clerk and shall be filled out by the plaintiff's attorney as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule. The plaintiff's attorney shall deliver to the person who is to make service the original summons upon which to make return of service, and a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service for service upon the defendant. The notice regarding Electronic Service shall instruct parties who are represented by counsel that they are subject to the requirements of Electronic Service under Rule 5; shall notify unrepresented parties of their right to opt in to Electronic Service, including the technological requirements to opt in; and shall provide them with instructions for opting in.
(c) Service. Service of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service may be made as follows:
(1) By mailing a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service (by first-class mail, postage prepaid) to the person to be served, together with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment form and a return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the sender. If no acknowledgment of service under this paragraph is received by the sender within 20 days after the date of mailing, service of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service shall be made under paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.
(2) By a sheriff or a deputy within the sheriff's county, or other person authorized by law, or by some person specially appointed by the court for that purpose. Special appointments to serve process shall be made freely when substantial savings in travel fees will result.
(3) By any other method permitted or required by this rule or by statute.
(d) Summons: Personal Service. The summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service shall be served together. Personal service within the state shall be made as follows:
(1) Upon an individual other than a minor or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the individual personally or by leaving copies thereof at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or by delivering a copy of the summons complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process, provided that if the agent is one designated by statute to receive service, such further notice as the statute requires shall be given. The court, on motion, upon a showing that service as prescribed above cannot be made with due diligence, may order service to be made pursuant to subdivision (g) of this rule.
(2) Upon a minor, by delivering a copy of the summons complaint,and notice regarding Electronic Service personally (a) to the minor and (b) also to the minor's guardian if the minor has one within the state, known to the plaintiff, and if not, then to the minor's father or mother or other person having the minor's care or control, or with whom the minor resides, or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court.
(3) Upon an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service personally (a) to the guardian of the incompetent person or a competent adult member of the incompetent person's family with whom the incompetent person resides, or if the incompetent person is living in an institution, then to the director or chief executive officer of the institution, or if service cannot be made upon any of them, then as provided by order of the court and (b) unless the court otherwise orders, also to the incompetent person.
(4) Upon a county, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to one of the county commissioners or their clerk or the county treasurer.
(5) Upon a town, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the clerk or one of the selectmen or assessors.
(6) Upon a city, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the clerk, treasurer, or manager.
(7) Upon the United States, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the United States attorney for the district of Maine or to an assistant United States attorney or clerical employee designated by the United States attorney in a writing filed with the clerk of the United States District Court for the district of Maine and by sending a copy of the summons complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, District of Columbia, and in any action attacking the validity of an order of an officer or agency of the United States not made a party, by also sending a copy of the summons complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service by registered or certified mail to such officer or agency provided that any further notice required by statute or regulation shall also be given.

Upon an officer or agency of the United States, by serving the United States and by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to such officer or agency, provided that any further notice required by statute or regulation shall also be given. If the agency is a corporation the copy shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (8) or (9) of this subdivision of this rule.

Upon any other public corporation, by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any officer, director, or manager thereof and upon any public body, agency or authority by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any member thereof.

(8) Upon a domestic private corporation (a) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any officer, director or general agent; or, if no such officer or agent be found, to any person in the actual employment of the corporation; or, if no such person be found, then pursuant to subdivision (g) of this Rule, provided that the plaintiff's attorney shall also send a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the corporation by registered or certified mail, addressed to the corporation's principal office as reported on its latest annual return; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the corporation, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
(9) Upon a corporation established under the laws of any other state or country (a) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any officer, director or agent, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the corporation within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the corporation, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
(10) Upon a partnership subject to suit in the partnership name in any action, and upon all partners whether within or without the state in any action on a claim arising out of partnership business, (a) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any general partner or any managing or general agent of the partnership, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the partnership within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any agent, attorney in fact, or other person authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the partnership, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
(11) Upon the State of Maine by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to the Attorney General of the State of Maine or one of the Attorney General's deputies, either (a) personally or (b) by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested; and in any action attacking the validity of an order of an officer or agency of the State of Maine not made a party, by also sending a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service by ordinary mail to such officer or agency. The provisions of Rule 4(f) relating to completion of service by mail shall here apply as appropriate.
(12) Upon an officer or agency of the State of Maine by the method prescribed by either paragraph (1) or (7) of this subdivision as appropriate, and by also sending a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service by ordinary mail to the Attorney General of the State of Maine.
(13) Upon all trustees of an express trust, whether within or without the state, in any action on a claim for relief against the trust, except an action by a beneficiary in that capacity, (a) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any trustee, or by leaving such copies at an office or place of business of the trust within the state; or (b) by delivering a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service to any agent or attorney in fact authorized by appointment or by statute to receive or accept service on behalf of the trust, provided that any further notice required by the statute shall also be given.
(14) Upon another state of the United States, by the method prescribed by the law of that state for service of process upon it.
(e) Personal Service Outside State. A person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state may be served with summons, and complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service outside the state, in the same manner as if such service were made within the state, by any person authorized to serve civil process by the laws of the place of service or by a person specially appointed to serve it. An affidavit of the person making service shall be filed with the court stating the time, manner, and place of service. Such service has the same force and effect as personal service within the state.
(f) Service by Mail in Certain Actions.
(1) Outside State. Where service cannot, with due diligence, be made personally within the state, service of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service may be made upon a person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state by delivery to that person outside the state by registered or certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt requested, in the following cases: where the pleading demands a judgment that the person to be served be excluded from a vested or contingent interest in or lien upon specific real or personal property within the state, or that such an interest or lien in favor of either party be enforced, regulated, defined or limited, or otherwise affecting the title to any property.
(2) Family Division Actions. Service of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service or a post-judgment motion may be made in an action pursuant to Chapter XIII of these Rules upon a person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state by delivery to that person, whether in or outside the state, by registered or certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt requested.
(3) Service Completion. Service by registered or certified mail shall be complete when the registered or certified mail is delivered and the return receipt signed or when acceptance is refused, provided that the plaintiff shall file with the court either the return receipt or, if acceptance was refused, an affidavit that upon notice of such refusal a copy of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service was sent to the defendant by ordinary mail.
(g) Service by Alternate Means; Motion Required.
(1)When Service May Be Made. The court, on motion upon a showing that service cannot with due diligence be made by another prescribed method, shall order service (i) to be made by leaving a copy of the order authorizing service by alternate means, the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode; or (ii) by publication unless a statute provides another method of notice; or (iii) to be made electronically or by any other means not prohibited by law.

Any such motion shall be supported by (i) a draft, proposed order to provide the requested service by alternate means, and (ii) an affidavit showing that:

(A) The moving party has demonstrated due diligence in attempting to obtain personal service of process in a manner otherwise prescribed by Rule 4 or by applicable statute;
(B) The identity and/or physical location of the person to be served cannot reasonably be ascertained, or is ascertainable but it appears the person is evading process; and
(C) The requested method and manner of service is reasonably calculated to provide actual notice of the pendency of the action to the party to be served and is the most practical manner of effecting notice of the suit.
(2)Contents of Order. An order for service by alternate means shall include (i) a brief statement of the object of the action; (ii) if the action may affect any property or credits of the defendant described in subdivision (f) of this rule, a description of any such property or credits; (iii) the substance of the summons prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule; and (iv) a finding by the court that the party seeking service by alternate means has met the requirements in subdivision (g)(l)(A)-(C) of this rule. If the order is one allowing service by publication pursuant to subsection (g)(1)(ii), it shall also direct its publication once a week for 3 successive weeks in a designated newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality and state most reasonably calculated to provide actual notice of the pendency of the action to the party to be served; and the order shall also direct the mailing to the defendant, if the defendant's address is known, of a copy of the order as published. If the order is one allowing service by electronic or other alternate means pursuant to subsection (g)(1)(iii), it may include directives about adequate safeguards to be employed to assure that service can be authenticated and will be received intact, with all relevant documents and information.
(3)Time of Publication or Delivery; When Service Complete. When service is made by publication pursuant to subsection (g)(1)(ii), the first publication of the summons shall be made within 20 days after the order is granted. Service by alternate means hereunder is complete on the twenty-first day after the first service or as provided in the court's order. The plaintiff shall file with the court an affidavit demonstrating that publication or compliance with the court's order has occurred.
(2)Contents of Order. An order for service by publication shall include (i) a brief statement of the object of the action; (ii) if the action may affect any property or credits of the defendant described in subdivision (f) of this rule, a description of any such property or credits; and (iii) the substance of the summons prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule. The order shall also direct its publication once a week for 3 successive weeks in a designated newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is pending; and the order shall also direct the mailing to the defendant, if the defendant's address is known, of a copy of the order as published.
(3)Time of Publication; When Service Complete. The first publication of the summons shall be made within 20 days after the order is granted. Service by publication is complete on the twenty-first day after the first publication. The plaintiff shall file with the court an affidavit that publication has been made.
(h) Return of Service. The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof on the original process or a paper attached thereto for that purpose, and shall forthwith return it to the plaintiff's attorney. The plaintiff's attorney shall, within the time during which the person served must respond to the process, file the proof of service with the court. If service is made under paragraph (c)(1) of this rule, return shall be made by the plaintiff's attorney filing with the court the acknowledgment received pursuant to that paragraph. The attorney's filing of such proof of service with the court shall constitute a representation by the attorney, subject to the obligations of Rule 11, that the copy of the complaint mailed to the person served or delivered to the officer for service was a true copy. If service is made by a person other than a sheriff or the sheriff's deputy or another person authorized by law, that person shall make proof thereof by affidavit. The officer or other person serving the process shall endorse the date of service upon the copy left with the defendant or other person. Failure to endorse the date of service shall not affect the validity of service.
(i) Amendment. At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued.
(j) Alternative Provisions for Service in a Foreign Country.
(1)Manner. When service is to be effected upon a party in a foreign country, it is also sufficient if service of the summons, complaint, and notice regarding Electronic Service is made:
(A) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or
(B) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory, when service in either case is reasonably calculated to give actual notice; or
(C) upon an individual, by delivery to the individual personally, and upon a corporation or partnership or association, by delivery to an officer, a managing or general agent; or
(D) by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the clerk of the court to the party to be served; or
(E) as directed by order of the court. Service under (C) or (E) above may be made by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age or who is designated by order of the court or by the foreign court. On request, the clerk shall deliver the summons to the plaintiff for transmission to the person or the foreign court or officer who will make the service.
(2)Return. Proof of service may be made as prescribed by subdivision (h) of this rule, or by the law of the foreign country, or by order of the court. When service is made pursuant to subparagraph (1)(D) of this subdivision, proof of service shall include a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee satisfactory to the court.

Me. R. Civ. P. 4

Amended June 27, 2018, effective 7/1/2018; amended July 27, 2018, effective 7/1/2018.

Advisory Note - July 2018

The amendments to Rule 4, together with amendments to Rules 3, 5(b), 11, and 101 of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, is part of a package of simultaneous amendments to require parties to civil actions who are represented by attorneys to serve pleadings and other papers electronically upon one another or by delivering copies pursuant to Rule 5(b)(1) following service of the summons and complaint under Rule 4. Parties who are not represented by an attorney may opt in to Electronic Service.

A more detailed description of Electronic Service and the procedures for complying with its requirements is stated in the Advisory Note to Rule 5.

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Advisory Note - November 2011

Service of process amendments adopted as part of the Model Registered Agents Act have removed any obligation of the Secretary of State to act as default agent for service of process. See 5 M.R.S. §113. This amendment to Rule 4(d)(8) recognizes that change. It also adds a reference to Rule 4(g) as the default service choice to seek approval for an alternative means of service if service cannot be accomplished pursuant to subdivision (d)(8).

Advisory Committee Note July 1, 2010

Rule 4 has been amended to reflect the concerns expressed by the Law Court in Gaeth v. Deacon 2009 ME 9, 964 A.2d 621, that service by alternative means, including publication, afford due process to the person to be served in accordance with the Maine and United States Constitutions. In the course of that opinion the Court also addressed the limits of service by print publication in the electronic age.

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The Constitution does not require any particular means of service of process, only that the method selected be reasonably calculated to provide actual notice and an opportunity to respond. Lewien v. Cohen, 432 A.2d 800, 804-05 (Me. 1981) (citing, inter alia, Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306 (1950)). Service of process serves the dual purposes of giving adequate notice of the pendency of an action, and providing the court with personal jurisdiction over the party properly served. Gaeth, 2009 ME 9, ¶ 20, 964 A.2d at 626 (citing Brown v. Thaler, 2005 ME 75, ¶ 10, 880 A.2d 1113, 1116). The allowable means for serving process are governed primarily by court rule. 14 M.R.S. §701. Presently, service by publication may be ordered when the defendant is an individual residing either within, Rule 4(d)(1), or outside, Rule 4(e) & (f)(1), the state, or when a person is a party to a Family Division action brought pursuant to Chapter XIII of these Rules, Rule 4(f)(2).

These amendments group together all forms of service that require a court order and, upon motion supported by affidavit that the party has been unable to effect service by any other means, that no other means of effecting service are practicable and that service by the method requested is reasonably calculated to provide actual notice of the suit, allow for service to be made:

(1) by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode [presently codified at Rule 4(d)(1) ]; or

(2) by publication; or

(3) by other alternative means, including electronic means. The amendment makes clear that a court has the authority, in proper circumstances, to consider a request seeking to use an individual's usual place of "virtual abode," which might include Internet web sites with means of contact, email access, social networking sites, or any other alternative avenues where it is reasonably certain to provide a person with actual notice of the suit.

The motion for service by alternate means must be supported by a draft order making the necessary findings and specifying the proposed method of alternative service.

Before a party can obtain an order allowing service by any alternate means, that party must first demonstrate that he or she has exhausted all reasonable attempts to make service in one of the other ways prescribed by Rule 4 (or by applicable statute) that are designed to provide actual notice of the action to the party to be served. Whether attempts at locating a party are reasonable will of necessity depend on the situation; likewise, whether a search is limited to one jurisdiction or many may depend on the nature of the parties and claims. Within the framework of any given set of facts, a party seeking an order approving service by publication or other alternate means may seek to show which of the following actions s/he has taken in attempting to serve the party: checked publicly available databases (including computer databases) such as tax records, voting rolls, criminal history records, credit records, telephone directories, divorce or death records, utility records, post office records, and motor vehicle registry records in the jurisdiction where the defendant is most likely to be found. In addition to demonstrating that he has made a reasonable search of available public data, a party seeking an order for publication or service by alternate means should also satisfy the court that he or she has made reasonable efforts to locate the current address of the party to be served by checking private sources: known relatives, former employers, former educational institutions, and former neighbors. Once the party seeking the order for publication or service by alternate means has shown, through affidavit, that he or she has demonstrated due diligence and exhausted all reasonable efforts to provide actual notice of the action to the party to be served, the court must still fashion an order which is reasonably calculated to provide actual notice of the pending proceeding.

The amended rule, consistent with Gaeth, recognizes that service by publication in a newspaper should be a last resort, used only after the party has exhausted other means more likely to achieve notice in this day and age. When considering an order for service by publication a court may potentially exclude the county where the suit is pending and/or where the plaintiff resides and instead focus upon the county or municipality (which may not even be within the State of Maine) where newspaper publication is most likely to provide actual notice to the defendant or to his family. Even if service by publication is permitted, the court may still require that notice be attempted or that notice of the publication be provided to the party to be served through other alternative means, including regular mail, certified mail or electronic mail sent both to the party to be served and even conceivably to relatives, employers, or educational institutions recently attended by the party.

Advisory Note July 1, 2009

The amendment to Rule 4(f) changes only the heading of paragraph 2 to recognize the Rule's applicability to Family Division Actions under Chapter XIII.

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Advisory Committee's Notes - 1981

Rule 4(e) is amended to make the rule more reflective of the present state of the law. As originally promulgated, the rule envisioned only two situations in which personal service might be had outside the state: service upon a domiciliary and service under the long-arm statute, 14 M.R.S.A. §704-A. Accordingly, the original rule limited such service expressly to cases involving domiciliaries and cases within the scope of the long-arm statute's language of submission to the jurisdiction. Plainly, there are other situations where out-of-state service is constitutionally valid, as well as appropriate-e.g., jurisdiction by consent, or jurisdiction under jurisdictional provisions other than the long-arm statute, such as those in the Maine Business Corporations Act, 13-A M.R.S.A. §306, or the Probate Code, 18-A M.R.S.A. §§4 - 301, 3 - 602, 5 - 208.

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Rule 4(f) is amended to conform the rule to the effect of the decision in Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186 (1977). Related amendments are being made in Rules 4A(f) and 4B(h).

In Shaffer, the Court overruled a line of cases founded on Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878), and exemplified by Harris v. Balk, 198 U.S. 215 (1905), which had held that, by the attachment of the tangible or intangible property of a nonresident defendant within the state, the courts of a state acquired jurisdiction to render a judgment subjecting that property to a claim against the defendant, regardless of the connection of the claim with the property or the state. Rule 4(f) as originally promulgated provided a means of service in three such situations. See 1 Field, McKusick, and Wroth, Maine Civil Practice 4.11, 4A.6 (2d ed. 1970). Shaffer holds that this form of "quasi in rem" jurisdiction violates due process, and that a state can exercise jurisdiction over the property of a nonresident defendant only if he has sufficient contacts with the state to sustain jurisdiction of his person in the action.

Rule 4(f) in its original form was in effect a grant of jurisdiction over the property or status of the defendant in the three situations therein provided for, without regard to the contacts of the defendant. The effect of the present amendment is to limit service by mail to situations where jurisdiction is otherwise proper--that is, borrowing the language of Rule 4(e) as simultaneously amended, where defendant is "subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state." Thus the mere presence of property, or a pending adjudication of marital status, within the state will no longer of itself be a basis for such service. In such cases, however, where the defendant has sufficient contacts with Maine related to the transaction in suit, so that service under the long-arm statute and Rule 4(e) would be proper, service may be had outside the state by mail in the two situations provided in amended Rule 4(f):

(1) Where title or other interest in real or personal property is involved; (2) where the action is for divorce or annulment. Ordinarily, in these situations, there will be contacts. See Shaffer v. Heitner, supra, at 207-08.

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1985

Rule 4(d)(8)(a) is amended to eliminate the requirement that, when service is made upon a domestic private corporation by delivery to the Secretary of State, the copy of the process sent to the corporation by registered or certified mail be sent return receipt requested, with instructions to deliver to addressee only. Since postal regulations require that an individual be named for delivery to addressee only, and there may be no current officer or director of a corporation that still has assets, the requirement may frustrate service. In this situation, the mailing is simply a backup to service upon the Secretary of State as statutory agent of the corporation and is not required by the statute. Therefore, elimination of the addressee-only requirement will cause no real diminution in the notice afforded. See 13-A M.R.S.A. §305(2).

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1987

Rule 4(c) is amended to eliminate constables from the enumeration of those generally empowered to serve civil process. By statute, a constable's power to serve process is limited to his own town or "an adjoining plantation." 14 M.R.S.A. §703. The rule as originally promulgated carried the implication that a constable could serve process anywhere within the state. Under the amended rule, a constable may still serve process in a proper case as an "other person authorized by law."

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1990

Rule 4(d)(14) is added to make clear that service of process may properly be made under the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure upon one of the other 49 states of the United States in an appropriate case when that state requires service to be made upon it in a manner not otherwise provided in Rule 4(d). Service under this provision may be made outside Maine in accordance with Rule 4(e). The provision of Rule 4(j) for service upon any party in a foreign country by means appropriate under the law of that country would reach a result similar to that under Rule 4(d)(14) if a foreign country were a party.

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1991

Rule 4(c), providing that service of process is to be made by a sheriff, a deputy, another person authorized by law, or a person especially appointed by the court, is replaced by new Rule 4(c). Under the new provisions, service of the summons and complaint may be made by mail with written acknowledgement of receipt. Simultaneous amendments to Rules 4A(c) and 4B(c) make clear that writs of attachment and summonses on trustee process must be served by a sheriff or deputy.

The change is intended to make service both more efficient and more economical. In many counties, delays occur because of the backlog of civil process in sheriffs' offices. In addition, the costs of service, which may be significant in cases involving multiple parties, can be reduced by making service by mail freely available to Maine litigants. Such service is now available in the federal and many state courts, and in Maine, under Rule 4(f), may be used against out-of-state defendants. Since the party serving the summons and complaint bears the burden of establishing that service has been made and the risk of loss if service is ineffective, it may be assumed that parties will continue to resort to service by officer in difficult cases.

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Rule 4(c)(1) provides that in the first instance service of summons and complaint may be made by the party or any person acting for the party by ordinary first-class mail. The sender must include with the summons and complaint two copies of a form of notice designed to alert the recipient to the procedure and an acknowledgement of receipt of service to be returned by the recipient in a postage-paid envelope provided for that purpose. If the sender does not receive the acknowledgement within twenty days of the mailing of the summons and complaint, the sender has the option of making service in hand under paragraph (2) of the subdivision. A form of notice and acknowledgement is being added to the Appendix of Forms as Form 3.20 by simultaneous amendment. Note that the acknowledgement must be received within 20 days of the mailing date, while the time for answer under Rule 12(a) is still 20 days from the date of service. In this case, the date on which the defendant mails the acknowledgement, which constitutes acceptance of this form of service, is the date of service for purposes of the time for answer.

Rule 4(c)(2) carries forward the language of former Rule 4(c) permitting service by a sheriff, a deputy, or "other person authorized by law," which includes constables and police and other governmental officers specifically authorized by statute. See e.g.12 M.R.S.A. §6025 (marine patrol officers); 34-A M.R.S.A. §3231(H) (warden of the state prison). The clause in the present rule referring to the subpoena is deleted because Rule 4(c) will now apply only to service of summons and complaint. The provisions of the present rule for special appointment for service remain in effect.

Rule 4(h) is amended to conform to the provisions of new Rule 4(c) by providing for return of service when service is made by mail.

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1992

Rule 4(c)(1) is amended to clarify the intent of the rule. As promulgated in 1990, Rule 4(c)(1) provided that, if no acknowledgement of service by mail is received by plaintiff within 20 days, service may be made by an officer or specially appointed person under Rule 4(c)(2). The amendment, substituting "shall" for "may," follows Federal Rule 4(c)(2)(C)(ii), upon which the Maine rule was based. The intention is to make clear that the original service by mail is invalid if no acknowledgment is received, and that service under paragraph (2) or (3) must be employed if jurisdiction of the defendant is to be obtained.

Rule 4(c)(3) is added to clarify the relationship between service by ordinary mail with acknowledgement under Rule 4(c)(1) and other methods. Service under Rule 4(c)(1) is an option that may be used initially against any defendant in lieu of the special service methods permitted or required by Rules 4(d)-(g), (j), and applicable statutes. Plaintiff may, however, choose at the outset to bypass Rule 4(c)(1) and make service initially by a method specifically provided by rule or statute for the type of defendant in question, which may be personal service or another method such as registered or certified mail. If service is attempted under Rule 4(c)(1) but fails for lack of acknowledgement, plaintiff must resort to either personal service or another method as appropriate in order to obtain jurisdiction.

Advisory Committee's Notes - 1993

Rule 4(d)(10) is amended for conformity to recent statutory changes.

When Rule 4(d)(10) was adopted in 1967, Maine was among those states which did not recognize the "entity" theory of partnership. Thus, an action against a partnership on a partnership liability could be brought only against the individual partners. Rule 4(d)(10) was intended to simplify service of process in such an action by eliminating the necessity of personal service upon every partner named as a defendant in favor of service upon one partner or a general or managing agent of the partnership. See M.R.Civ.P. 4(d)(10) advisory committee's note, 1 Field, McKusick & Wroth, Maine Civil Practice 53-55 (2d ed. 1970); Thurston v. Continental Casualty Co., 567 A.2d 922, 923-24 (Me. 1989).

Subsequently, the Legislature has provided specifically that both general and limited partnerships may sue and be sued in the partnership name. 31 M.R.S.A. § §160-A, 290-A, enacted by P.L. 1987, ch. 92. Accordingly, the present amendment expressly extends the service provisions of Rule 4(d)(10) to "a partnership subject to suit in the partnership name." Service upon such a partnership may be had "in any action," whether or not the claim can be said to have arisen "out of partnership business."

The rule continues to provide a means for service upon partners individually in a claim that does arise out of partnership business. This provision thus permits service against members of a partnership established in a state which does not recognize the entity theory. Service under the rule will also support jurisdiction against all partners as to their personal liability under the general law of partnership for claims that cannot be satisfied out of the partnership property. Note that the present rule is one of service of process only. While partners are not indispensable parties in an action on a partnership liability, they and the partnership are bound by a judgment only if formally named and joined as parties to the action. See 1 Field, McKusick & Wroth, supra §4.4. The service provisions of the rule apply whether the partnership and partners are joined or are sued in separate actions.

In clause (a) of the rule, the amendment limits service to "general" partners. Limited partners, who under the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, 31 M.R.S.A. § §401 - 527, are not individually liable for the obligations of the partnership and do not participate in control of the partnership business, do not have sufficient stake or responsibility to assure that service upon them will be adequate notice to general partners. See 31 M.R.S.A. §433; cf. id. §409(1).

Clause (b) of the rule incorporates as an alternative means of service upon a limited partnership the provisions of the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act for service upon a statutory agent. Thus, under 31 M.R.S.A. §409(l)(B), (C), service may be had upon the registered agent or any liquidating trustee of the partnership. If no registered agent has been appointed, or can be found, then the Secretary of State, by virtue of 31 M.R.S.A. §409(2), is deemed the agent of the partnership for service of process. Similarly, under 31 M.R.S.A. §410, the Secretary of State is deemed to be the agent for service of process upon a nonresident general partner. Similar provisions are made for service on foreign limited partnerships by 31 M.R.S.A. § §500 - 502.

(Video) How to read a Rule or Statute (using FRCP 4 and diversity statute)

The service provisions of the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act contain savings for other methods of service. See 31 M.R.S.A. §409(3) (domestic limited partnership); §500(4) (foreign limited partnership authorized to do business in the state); §501(2) (foreign limited partnership not authorized to do business in the state). While there is no similar saving in 31 M.R.S.A. §410 for service upon nonresident general partners of domestic limited partnerships, the methods therein prescribed are not in terms exclusive of service under Rule 4(d)(10)(a).

Advisory Committee's Notes - May 1, 2000

In subdivision (1) and subdivision (2), the term "minor" is substituted for the term "infant."

Advisory Committee's Notes - December 4, 2001

Rule 4(f) is amended to permit service by registered or certified mail in action arising under Rule 80(a) regardless of whether the person to be served is in or outside the state. The former rule permitted such service only upon persons outside the state and only in actions for divorce or annulment. The intent of the amendment is to afford litigants, many of whom are pro se, an easy and inexpensive means of serving initial process.

Annotations:

Rule 4(c): Service of state agency appeal. Town of Ogunquit v. Dept. of Public Safety, 2001 ME 47, 5-14.

Rule 4(d)(1): Service, Actual Notice. Peoples Heritage Savings Bank v. Pease, 2002 ME 82, 13-14.

Rule 4(d)(1): LaFosse v. Champagne -2000 ME 81, 9.

Rule 4(h): Service of summons not proof of service giving jurisdiction. Christensen-Towne v. Dorey, 2002 ME 121, 4.

Advisory Note - July 2018

The amendment to Rule 4(d)(1) corrects an oversight in a package of amendments promulgated effective July 1, 2018. See 2018 Me. Rules 08. The amended language requires that a notice regarding Electronic Service be served upon an individual other than a minor or an incompetent person along with a copy of the summons and complaint.

FAQs

What is Rule 4 Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

If a defendant is not served within 63 days (nine weeks) after the complaint is filed, the court-on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff-shall dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time.

How long does a judge have to rule on a motion in Iowa? ›

431(7) The trial court shall rule on all motions within 30 days after their submission, unless it extends the time for reasons stated of record.

Is there a time limit on court summons? ›

There is no time limit for commencing proceedings for an indictable offence (including an either way offence). However, in all cases, this should be done as soon as possible, as the courts have discretion to dismiss a summons 7 on the grounds of abuse of process where there has been unjustified delay8.

How long does a plaintiff have to respond to a motion to dismiss in Florida? ›

However, a party may respond to a motion to dismiss, for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to exclude or limit expert testimony, to certify a class, for a new trial, or to alter or amend the judgment within twenty one days after service of the motion.

How long does a judge have to answer a motion Colorado? ›

The responding party shall have 21 days after the date of service of a motion, or such lesser or greater time as the court may allow, in which to file a response.

What does R mean in a court case number Colorado? ›

*** UPDATE (9/20/21): Starting on Monday, September 20, 2021, all defendants must appear in person, with the exception of traffic infractions ("R" cases only) set on Wednesdays or by order of the Court.

How do you get a judge to rule in your favor? ›

How to Persuade a Judge
  1. Your arguments must make logical sense. ...
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Know your case.
  4. Know your adversary's case.
  5. Never overstate your case. ...
  6. If possible lead with the strongest argument.
  7. Select the most easily defensible position that favors your case.
  8. Don't' try to defend the indefensible.
1 Nov 2008

What happens if the defendant does not give me responses to my discovery requests? ›

Motions to Compel – If a party doesn't respond to interrogatories or requests for production, then the party seeking those answers must file a motion to compel with the court. If the court grants the motion to compel, then the party who objected or failed to answer must then do so.

What happens after a motion to dismiss is denied? ›

If the motion is denied, the defendant can appeal the master's order to a judge, but an appeal from a judge's order can only be brought with leave of another judge to the Divisional Court. (Orders permitting actions to continue are considered “interlocutory” in the sense that nothing is finally decided.

How long does a plaintiff have to respond to an answer? ›

Generally, you have 30 days AFTER the date you are served to file a response with the court. The 30 days include weekend days and court holidays.

How long does a judge have to make a ruling in Florida? ›

Under T.R. 53.2, if a judge takes a cause tried to the court under advisement and fails to determine any issue of law or fact within ninety (90) days of the submission of all pending matters, the case may be withdrawn from the judge.

How long can a civil case stay open in Florida? ›

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.070 (j) states that a complaint must be served upon the defendant within 120 days after the complaint is filed. If it is not served within this time frame, a motion to dismiss is appropriate and the case is dismissed without prejudice.

Does court summons affect credit rating? ›

The summons will advise you of your debt and a court hearing date. If you agree that you are responsible to pay the debt, please pay as set out in the details below. Receiving a summons for unpaid Council Tax doesn't affect your credit rating.

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.

Can you be charged after 6 months? ›

The general rule for time limits on summary only offences is that prosecutions will be time barred if information is laid more than six months after the date of the offence.

How long after an oral argument do you get a decision? ›

1 Every California judge is familiar with the requirement to issue timely decisions under a constitu- tional provision (Article VI, Section 19) that sets a deadline for judicial decisions: 90 days after the matter is submitted for decision.

What is excusable neglect in Colorado? ›

Servs., 697 P. 2d 29, 32 (Colo. 1985) (citations omitted)). The court of appeals has similarly characterized excusable neglect as involving “unforeseen circumstances which would cause a reasonably prudent person to overlook a required act in the performance of some responsibility.” Colo.

What happens after you file an answer to a complaint? ›

After you file an answer with the court

The court clerk will give or mail you a court date for you and the plaintiff to come back to court. This will probably be for a Case Management Conference or a Pre-Trial Hearing.

What happens if a defendant does not pay a Judgment in Colorado? ›

If the debtor does not comply with the court order to pay you, your attorney can file a Transcript of Judgment to obtain a lien on their property so that it can be used in collection proceedings. If the debtor has property in more than one county, you must record this in every county where the property is owned.

Can you look up court cases online in Colorado? ›

Can You Look up Court Cases in Colorado? Yes, Colorado court records are accessible online. Access to trial court case information is available through the Docket Search tool on the Colorado judicial branch website.

How do you read a court case number? ›

Case types assigned by the Court include Civil (“cv”), Criminal (“cr”) and Miscellaneous (“mc”). The number 17 represents the year the case was filed. The number 00010 is the number of the case. The first case filed in a particular year for each division is “1,” and so on.

What should you not say to a judge? ›

Things You Should Not Say in Court
  • Do Not Memorize What You Will Say. ...
  • Do Not Talk About the Case. ...
  • Do Not Become Angry. ...
  • Do Not Exaggerate. ...
  • Avoid Statements That Cannot Be Amended. ...
  • Do Not Volunteer Information. ...
  • Do Not Talk About Your Testimony.
27 Sept 2016

Do judges like to be called your honor? ›

As such, the position of judge is considered to be an honorable position and should be treated accordingly with respect and deference. Although judges may be addressed with other titles, the proper salutation for a judge is "your honor" in all cases, and by all people involved in the court system.

How often are civil appeals successful? ›

Our numbers indicate that a crown appeal is successful 65% of the time, while defendant appeals are only successful about 26% of the time.

Can a party ever refuse to produce certain documents for discovery? ›

If they produce documents which prove not to be producible under R. 7-1(1), they may be guilty of breaching their client's confidence; yet if they decline to produce they may breach their duty as officer of the court.

What happens if a defendant does not show up for deposition? ›

Failure to show up could result in imprisonment for contempt of court and forced into a deposition there.

What happens if someone doesn't respond to discovery? ›

If the other person does not respond, or their response is still incomplete, you can ask the court to order them to respond. You have 45 days from the service of the most recent responses to ask the court to make an order requiring an answer. If the response was served by mail, 5 extra days are added.

Can a judge dismiss a case before trial? ›

He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause.

Can a defendant withdraw from a civil case? ›

Withdrawal with leave of court

Rule 1(3) of Order 23 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 allows withdrawal of suit with the leave of the court.

How long does a defendant have to respond to a claim? ›

In the majority of cases, the defendant must: acknowledge the letter of claim within 21 days, and. provide a full response within 3 months of acknowledgment of the letter of claim. The response must include certain documents, known as disclosure if the defendant denies your claim.

What is excusable neglect in Colorado? ›

Servs., 697 P. 2d 29, 32 (Colo. 1985) (citations omitted)). The court of appeals has similarly characterized excusable neglect as involving “unforeseen circumstances which would cause a reasonably prudent person to overlook a required act in the performance of some responsibility.” Colo.

What does C mean in a court case number in Colorado? ›

C (County Civil)

What happens if a defendant does not pay a Judgment in Colorado? ›

If the debtor does not comply with the court order to pay you, your attorney can file a Transcript of Judgment to obtain a lien on their property so that it can be used in collection proceedings. If the debtor has property in more than one county, you must record this in every county where the property is owned.

What is an entry of appearance Colorado? ›

ENTRY AND WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE. (a) Entry of Appearance. (1) Unless otherwise ordered, an attorney shall not appear in a matter before the court unless the attorney has filed an Entry of Appearance or an Entry of Appearance to Provide Limited Representation or signed and filed a pleading or document.

What is mistake inadvertence surprise or excusable neglect? ›

Section 473 - Mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect (a) (1) The court may, in furtherance of justice, and on any terms as may be proper, allow a party to amend any pleading or proceeding by adding or striking out the name of any party, or by correcting a mistake in the name of a party, or a mistake in ...

What is the legal definition for excusable neglect? ›

Excusable neglect is a term associated with proceedings, notably in bankruptcy cases, that includes inadvertence, mistake, carelessness, or any intervening circumstances beyond a party's control. A court has the direction to allow a party to file a motion after the deadline if it finds excusable neglect.

What does D stand for in court? ›

decision. n. judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or of law by a judge, arbitrator, court, governmental agency or other official tribunal (court). declarant.

What does Je mean in court? ›

JE means job evaluation; Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3.

How often can you be called for jury duty in Colorado? ›

Since 1990, Colorado law has made jury service more convenient by using a one day/one trial system. This means that, in each calendar year, persons summoned for jury service must serve only one day or, if selected for a trial, for the length of that trial.

How long does a civil judgement last in Colorado? ›

* You need to make sure to collect your money before your judgment expires. * If you were awarded a money judgment in County Court, it will expire 6 years from the date of the judgment. * If you were awarded a money judgment in District Court, it will expire 20 years from the date of the judgment.

How long does a debt judgement last in Colorado? ›

How long does a judgment lien last in Colorado? A judgment lien in Colorado will remain attached to the debtor's property (even if the property changes hands) for six years.

Can a judgement against me affect my spouse in Colorado? ›

Assets in both parties' name are fair game. So, if you and your spouse hold a joint bank account or are co-owners of a car, boat, or home, a plaintiff pursuing payment on a legal judgment against your spouse may also pursue co-owned assets by you. This also applies if you hold a joint insurance policy with your spouse.

How long can a case be dismissed without prejudice in Colorado? ›

Actions not prosecuted or brought to trial with due diligence may, upon notice, be dismissed without prejudice unless otherwise specified by the court upon 28 days' notice in writing to all appearing parties or their counsel of record, unless a party shows cause in writing within said 28 days why the case should not be ...

What does M mean in a court case number Colorado? ›

Misdemeanor (“M”) cases in Denver County Court: 720-913-9011.

How long can a deposition last in Colorado? ›

How Long Will My Deposition Last? The rules of court dictate that a party's deposition cannot last more than 7 (seven) hours. Typically, depositions take about 3 or 4 hours, but you should be prepared for your deposition taking the full 7 hours, just in case.

Videos

1. Overview of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Where to find them and how they are structured
(Alabama Consumer Protection Lawyers)
2. Rule 4k
(Angela Upchurch)
3. How To Tackle Joinder
(KaplanBarReview)
4. Default vs. Default Judgment under Federal Rule 55 and 60
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5. READ WITH ME: Rules of Criminal Procedure - Rule 112 (Sections 3-4 & 8)
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6. Civil Litigation II Discovery intro with audio
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