SERVICE OF PROCESS IN FLORIDA LITIGATION
LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL D. STEWART
Once a lawsuit is filed with the Clerk of Court, the Clerk will sign, seal and issue a Summons to a sheriff or private service of process agent. The agent for service of process must then serve the Summons and the Complaint on the person or company being sued. Once service of process has been completed, the server notes the date and time of the service on the complaint and summons. The person serving the summons makes proof of service by affidavit.
In Florida, service of process is effected by:
1) delivering a copy of it with the Complaint to the person to be served or to his or her attorney (if the attorney is known).
2) leaving copies of the summons and complaint at the persons usual place of residence with any resident over the age of 15 years old.
3) Service on a minor must be accomplished by serving the parent or the guardian of the parent.
4) Service on other incompetents must be made by serving two copies on the person who has custody and control of the incompetent.
5) Service on a state prisoner is accomplished by serving the prisoner.
6) Service on Partnerships and Limited Partnerships is accomplished by service on any partner. Serving one partner serves as service on all partners. Alternatively, service may be made on the partnerships’ designated agent for service of process. A final method is service upon the Secretary of State of Florida.
7) Service on Corporations can be affected by service on:
a) the president, vice president, or other head of the corporation,
b) in the absence of the above officers, on the cashier, treasurer, secretary, or general manager,
c) in the absence of the above, on any director,
d) in the absence of the above, on any officer or business agent residing in Florida
e) on the agent designated as registered agent for service of process.
8) Service of Process by Publication. This is referred to constructive service and may be made in certain cases where service may not otherwise be effected (see Florida Statute Chapter 49).
Service must be made upon the defendant within 120 days or else the attorney will need to file a motion requesting that the time period be extended or requesting the court to drop the defendant from the lawsuit.
In Florida, personal service must be available in English, French and Spanish.
A defendant can choose to accept service of process by mail. If the defendant returns a waiver of the necessity of personal service, the defendant will not be required to respond to the complaint until 60 days after the date the defendant received the request for waiver of service.
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE Chapter 48
PROCESS AND SERVICE OF PROCESS View Entire Chapter
PROCESS AND SERVICE OF PROCESS
Process; how directed.
Process; by whom served.
Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas.
Service on minor.
Service on incompetent.
Service on state prisoners.
Service on partnerships and limited partnerships.
Service on agents of nonresidents doing business in the state.
Service on corporation.
Corporations; designation of registered agent and registered office.
Service on dissolved corporations.
Service on public agencies and officers.
Service on the state.
Service on alien property custodian.
Service on labor unions.
Service on statutory agents for certain persons.
Method of substituted service on nonresident.
Service on nonresident motor vehicle owners, etc.
Service on nonresident engaging in business in state.
Service of process in action for possession of premises.
Service on nonresidents operating aircraft or watercraft in the state.
Acts subjecting person to jurisdiction of courts of state.
Personal service outside state.
Service of foreign process.
Service of process in connection with actions under the Florida International Commercial Arbitration Act.
Service of process on Sunday.
Return of execution of process.
Cumulative to other laws.
Certified process servers.
Certification of process servers.
Removal of certified process servers; false return of service.
The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart