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Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure

 

 

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Rules of Civil Procedure in Pennsylvania:

Rule 400. Person to Make Service

  1. Service of original process shall be made within the Commonwealth by the persons authorized by Rule 400.2 by handing a copy in the manner provided by Rules 402 through 402.2.
  2. In addition to service by the sheriff, original process may be served also by a competent adult in the following actions: equity, partition, prevent waste, and declaratory judgment when declaratory relief is the only relief sought.

    Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of "competent adult".
    Service of original process in domestic relations matters is governed by Rule 1930.4
    .
  3. If service cannot be made under the applicable rule, service of original process shall be made in the manner provided by order of court pursuant to Rule 430.
  4. The return of service shall be made in the manner provided by Rule 405.
  5. In lieu of service under these rules, the defendant or the defendant's authorized agent may accept service of original process by filing a separate document which shall be substantially in the form prescribed by Rule 450.

Adopted June 14, 1999, Amended and effective May 11, 1990; Oct. 2, 1995, effective Jan. 1, 1996; May 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 400.1. Provisions for all Courts of the First Judicial District

  1. In an action commenced in the First Judicial District, original process may be served.
    1. within the county by the sheriff or a competent adult, or
    2. in any other county by deputized service as provided by Rule 400(d) or by a competent adult forwarding the process to the sheriff of the county where service may be made.
      Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of "competent adult".
      The First Judicial District is comprised of Philadelphia County.

  2. In an action commenced in any other county, original process may be served in Philadelphia County by deputized service as proved by Rule 400(d) or by a competent adult.

    Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of "competent adult".
  3. Rescinded.

    Note: For service in an action for protection from abuse, see Rule 1930.4(b).
    Adopted and effective May 11, 1990. Amended July 2, 1998, effective August 1, 1998; May 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.

Rule 401. Time for Service. Reissuance, Reinstatement and Substitution of Original Process. Copies for Service

  1. Original process shall be served within the Commonwealth within thirty days after the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint.
  2. (1) If service within the Commonwealth is not made within the time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or outside the Commonwealth within the time prescribed by Rule 404, the prothonotary upon praecipe and upon presentation of the original process, shall continue its validity by reissuing the writ or reinstating the complaint, by writing thereon "reissued" in the case of a writ or "reinstated" in the case of a complaint.

    (2) A writ may be reissued or a complaint reinstated at any time and any number of times. A new party defendant may be named in a reissued writ or a reinstated complaint.

    (3) A substituted writ may be issued or a substituted complaint filed upon praecipe stating that the former writ or complaint has been lost or destroyed.

    (4) A reissued, reinstated or substituted writ or complaint shall be served within the applicable time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or by Rule 404 after reissuance, reinstatement or substitution.

    (5) If an action is commenced by writ of summons and a complaint is thereafter filed, the plaintiff instead of reissuing the writ may treat the complaint as alternative original process and as the equivalent for all purposes of a reissued writ, reissued as of the date of the filing of the complaint. Thereafter the writ may be reissued, or the complaint may be reinstated as the equivalent of a reissuance of the writ, and the plaintiff may use either the reissued writ or the reinstated complaint as alternative original process.
  3. The copy of the original process to be served upon the defendant shall be attested by the prothonotary or certified by the plaintiff to be a true copy.

Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986.


Rule 402. Service Upon Individuals. Adults. Minors. Incapacitated Persons.

  1. Original process may be served upon a defendant who is an adult
    1. by handing a copy to the defendant; or
    2. by handing a copy
      1. at the residence of the defendant to an adult member of the family with whom the defendant resides; but if no adult member of the family is found, then to an adult person in charge of such residence; or
      2. at the hotel, inn, apartment house, boarding house or other place of lodging at which the defendant resides to the manager or other person authorized to accept deliveries of United States mail; or
      3. at any office or usual place of business of the defendant to the defendant's agent or to the person for the time being in charge.
  2. If the defendant is a minor or an incapacitated person, original process shall be served
    1. upon the minor or the incapacitated person in the manner prescribed for service of original process upon an adult defendant, or
    2. by handling a copy to the guardian of the minor or incapacitated person.

    Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; amended June 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 402.1. Service Upon the Commonwealth and Political Subdivisions

  1. Service of original process upon the Commonwealth or an officer of the Commonwealth shall be made at the office of the named defendant and the office of the Attorney General by handing a copy to the person in charge.
  2. Service of original process upon a department, board, commission or instrumentality of the Commonwealth, or a member thereof, shall be made at the office of the named defendant and the office of the Attorney General by handing a copy to the person in charge.
  3. Service of original process upon a political subdivision shall be made
    1. by handing a copy to
      1. the person in charge at the political subdivision's office of the solicitor or legal department, or
      2. the person in charge at the office of the political subdivision, or
      3. an agent duly authorized by the political subdivision to receive service of process, or
    2. by serving the mayor, or the president, chairman, secretary or clerk of the governing body in the manner prescribed by Rule 402(a).
  4. This rule shall not apply to an appeal from an administrative determination, order or decree of such officer, department, board, commission or instrumentality.

Adopted June 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 402.2. Service Upon Partnerships, Unincorporated Associations, and Corporations and Similar Entities

  1. As used in this rule, "association" means a partnership and all partners named in the action, an unincorporated association or a corporation or similar entity; "officer" when referring to an officer of a corporation or similar entity means an executive officer as defined by Rule 2176.
  2. Provided that the person served is not a plaintiff in the action, service of original process upon an association shall be made
    1. by serving any partner, officer, trustee or registered agent of the association in the manner prescribed by Rule 402(a), or
    2. by handing a copy to the manager, clerk or other person for the time being in charge of any regular place of business or activity of the association, or
    3. by handing a copy to an agent authorized by the association in writing to receive service of process for it.

    Adopted June 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 402.3. Service Upon Additional Defendants

  1. Original process shall be served upon an additional defendant who is not already a party to the action in the same manner as if the additional defendant were an original defendant. Copies of all pleadings filed in the action shall be served with the complaint against the additional defendant.
  2. The defendant or additional defendant who has filed a complaint shall serve a copy upon every prior party but need not attach copies of any pleadings previously filed in the action.

Rule 403. Service by Mail

If a rule of civil procedure authorizes original process to be served by mail, a copy of the process shall be mailed to the defendant by any form of United States mail requiring a receipt signed by the defendant or the defendant's authorized agent. Service is complete upon the defendant or the defendant's authorized agent signing the required receipt.

  1. If the mail is returned with notation by the postal authorities that the defendant refused to accept the mail, the plaintiff shall have the right of service by mailing a copy to the defendant at the same address by ordinary mail with the return address of the sender appearing thereon. Service by ordinary mail is complete if the mail is not returned by the postal authorities to the sender within fifteen days after mailing.
  2. If the mail is returned with notation by the postal authorities that it was unclaimed, the plaintiff shall make service by another means pursuant to these rules.
    Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; amended June 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.

Rule 404. Service Outside the Commonwealth

Original process shall be served outside the Commonwealth within ninety days of the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint or the reissuance or the reinstatement thereof:
Note: For reissuance and reinstatement of original process, see Rule 401(b).

  1. by a competent adult in the manner provided by Rule 402(a);
    Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of "competent adult".
  2. by mail in the manner provided by Rule 403;
  3. in the manner provided by the law of the jurisdiction in which the service is made for service in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction;
  4. in the manner provided by treaty; or
  5. as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or request.

Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986. Amended May 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 405. Return of Service.

Original process shall be served outside the Commonwealth within ninety days of the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint or the reissuance or the reinstatement thereof:
Note: For reissuance and reinstatement of original process, see Rule 401(b).

  1. When service of original process has been made the sheriff or other person making service shall make a return of service forthwith. If service has not been made and the writ has not been reissued or the complaint reinstated, a return of no service shall be made upon the expiration of the period allowed for service.
  2. A return of service shall set forth the date, time, place and manner of service, the identity of the person served and any other facts necessary for the court to determine whether proper service has been made.
  3. Proof of service by mail under Rule 403 shall include a return receipt signed by the defendant or, if the defendant has refused to accept mail service and the plaintiff thereafter has served the defendant by ordinary mail,
    1. the returned letter with the notation that the defendant refused to accept delivery, and
    2. an affidavit that the letter was mailed by ordinary mail and was not returned within fifteen days after mailing.
  4. A return of service by a person other than the sheriff shall be by affidavit. If a person other than the sheriff makes a return of no service, the affidavit shall set forth with particularity the efforts made to effect service.
  5. The return of service or of no service shall be filed with the prothonotary.
  6. A return of service shall not be required when the defendant accepts service of original process.
  7. The sheriff upon filing a return of service or of no service shall notify by ordinary mail the party requesting service to be made that service has or has not been made upon a named party.

Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986. Amended July 7, 1986, effective January 1, 1987; November 7, 1988, effective January 1, 1989.


Rule 410. Real Property Actions

  1. In actions involving title to, interest in, possession of, or charges or liens upon real property, original process shall be served upon the defendant in the manner provided by Rule 400 et seq.
  2. (1) If in an action involving an interest in real property the relief sought is possession or mortgage foreclosure, original process also shall be served upon any person not named as a party who is found in possession of the property. The sheriff or other person making service shall note the service in the return.

    (2) If the relief sought is possession, the person so served shall thereupon become a defendant in the action. Upon praecipe of the plaintiff the prothonotary shall index the name of the person found in possession as a party to the action.

    (3) If the relief sought is mortgage foreclosure, the person so served shall not thereby become a party to the action.
  3. If service is made pursuant to an order of court under Rule 430(a), the court shall direct one or more of the following methods of service:
    1. publication as provided by Rule 430(b),
    2. posting a copy of the original process on the most public part of the property,
    3. registered mail to the defendant's last known address, and
    4. such other methods, if any, as the court deems appropriate to give notice to the defendant.

Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; amended June 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 430. Service Pursuant to Special Order of Court. Publication

  1. If service cannot be made under the applicable rule the plaintiff may move the court for a special order directing the method of service. The motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating the nature and extent of the investigation which has been made to determine the whereabouts of the defendant and the reasons why service cannot be made.
  2. (1) If service of process by publication has been authorized by rule of civil procedure or order of court, the publication shall be by advertising a notice of the action once in the legal publication, if any, designated by the court for the publication of legal notices and in one newspaper of general circulation within the county. The publication shall contain the caption of the action and the names of the parties, state the nature of the action and conclude with a notice substantially in the following form:

NOTICE
If you wish to defend, you must enter a written appearance personally or by attorney and file your defenses or objections in writing with the court. You are warned that if you fail to do so the case may proceed without you and a judgment may be entered against you without further notice for the relief requested by the plaintiff. You may lose money or property or other rights important to you.
YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS NOTICE TO YOUR LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER OR CANNOT AFFORD ONE, GO TO OR TELEPHONE THE OFFICE SET FORTH BELOW TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN GET LEGAL HELP.
________________________________
(NAME)
________________________________
(ADDRESS)
________________________________
(TELEPHONE NUMBER)

(2) When service is made by publication upon the heirs and assigns of a named former owner or party in interest, the court may permit publication against the heirs or assigns generally if it is set forth in- the complaint or an affidavit that they are unknown.

Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986.


Rule 234.1 Subpoena to Attend and Testify

  1. A subpoena is an order of the court commanding a person to attend and testify at a particular time and place. It may also require the person to produce documents or things which are under the possession, custody or control of that person.
  2. A subpoena may be used to command a person to attend and to produce documents or things only at
    1. a trial or hearing in an action or proceeding pending in the court, or
    2. the taking of a deposition in an action or proceeding pending in the court.
  3. A subpoena may not be used to compel a person to appear or to produce documents or things ex parte before an attorney, a party or a representative of the party.

Adopted December 14, 1989, effective January 1, 1990. Amended April 7, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; November 24, 1998, effective January 1, 1999.


Rule 234.2 Subpoena. Issuance. Service. Compliance. Fees. Prisoners

  1. Upon the request of a party, the prothonotary shall issue a subpoena signed and under the seal of the court but otherwise in blank, substantially in the form prescribed by Rule 234.6.
  2. A copy of the subpoena may be served upon any person within the Commonwealth by an adult
    1. in the manner prescribed by Rule 402(a);
    2. by any form of mail requiring a return receipt, postage prepaid, restricted delivery. Service is complete upon delivery of the mail to the person subpoenaed or any of the persons referred to in Rule 402(a)(2). The return receipt may be signed by the person subpoenaed or any of such persons; or
    3. by ordinary mail. The mail shall contain two copies of the Notice and Acknowledgment prescribed by Rule 234.9 and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  3. The fee for one day's attendance and round trip mileage shall be tendered upon demand at the time the person is served with a subpoena. If a subpoena is served by mail, a check in the amount of one day's attendance and round trip mileage shall be enclosed with the subpoena.
  4. A court may compel the attendance of any person confined in jail or prison by issuing, upon motion, an order directed to the custodian of the person so confined to release the person to the custody of a sheriff or other appropriate agent.

    Note: A subpoena served by ordinary mail is not enforceable unless the witness acknowledges having received it. See Rule 234.5(a).
    Adopted December 14, 1989, effective January 1, 1990. Amended April 7, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; May 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.

Rule 234.6 Form of Subpoena

A subpoena issued pursuant to Rule 234.1 shall be substantially in the following form:

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
County of ______
(Caption)
SUBPOENA TO ATTEND AND TESTIFY
To ____________________________:
(Name(s) of Witness(es))
1. You are ordered by the Court to come to _____________________________________________________ (Specify Courtroom or other place) at ____________________, Pennsylvania, on ___________ at __________ o'clock, ____.M., to testify on behalf of _________________________ in the above case, and to remain until excused.
2. And bring with you the following: ___________________________________________________________.
If you fail to attend or to produce the documents or things required by this subpoena, you may be subject to the sanctions authorized by Rule 234.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, including but not limited to costs, attorney fees and imprisonment.
Requested by: _________________________________________ (Attorney's name, address, telephone number, and identification number)

BY THE COURT,
Date: ________ By ____________________________________
(Name of prothonotary)
Seal of the Court
Return of Service (Reverse Side of Subpoena)
On the ______________ day of _______, _______, I, ______________, served (name of person served) ___________________________ with the foregoing subpoena by: (Describe method of service) _____________________________________________________________________________.
I verify that the statements in this return of service are true and correct. I understand that false statements herein are made subject to the penalties of 18 P. S. 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
Date:__________ ________________________________
signature

Adopted December 14, 1989, effective January 1 1990. Amended April 7, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; April 12, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


Rule 234.9 Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt of Subpoena by Mail

The notice and acknowledgment of receipt of subpoena by mail required by Rule 234.2(b)(3) shall be substantially in the following form:

(Caption)
NOTICE
To ______________________________
(Name of person to be served)

The enclosed subpoena is served pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 234.2(b)(3). Complete the acknowledgment part of this form and return the copy of the completed form to the sender in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope.
Sign and date the acknowledgment. If you are served on behalf of a partnership, unincorporated association, corporation or similar entity, indicate under your signature your relationship to that entity. If you are served on behalf of another person and you are authorized to receive the subpoena, indicate under your signature your authority.

Date Notice Mailed: _________________________________
___________________ Party serving subpoena or Attorney for Party

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT OF SUBPOENA
I acknowledge receipt of a copy of the subpoena in the above captioned matter.
Date:_________ ________________________________
Signature
________________________________
Relationship to entity or
authority to receive the subpoena

Adopted December 14, 1989, effective January 1, 1990. Amended April 12, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.


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