Tag Archive for: process service

If you need to serve someone or a company a lawsuit outside of your state, it is important to know how to do that properly. Service outside of the plaintiff’s state is more frequent than you may realize. Process servers estimate that up to 25% of their service requests originate from out of state. While out-of-state service requires a bit more work on the end of the service processor, having the company or individual served is completely possible. Below are some basic details regarding how out-of-state service works.
Before Getting Started
First, you need to ensure that service can be legally attempted and effectuated out of state. Depending on the type of case, you may be required to file in the state in which the defendant lives or resides. If you are not sure as to the proper way to file your lawsuit, consult with an experienced attorney.
Second, you need to find a processor to carry out service on a corporation or individual who is domiciled out of state. It is crucial to understand that each state, and even each county within the state, has its own rules regarding the civil process of service. Some cases require a plaintiff to seek permission from a governing body or the sheriff’s office prior to serving the papers. Some places may require attempts via certified mail prior to engaging a process server.
Third, it is crucial to know whether or not personal service is mandated, if the legal documents can be posted, or if service can happen to a substitute party. The rules may also require you to file the original stamped documents or electronically. Aside from these general rules, the specific court may have particular documents that must be used.
What constitutes effective and legal service is dependent upon three key issues:
● The type of lawsuit;
● Where the lawsuit was originally filed; and
● The state in which the documents must be served.
Some General Process Rules
Below is a simple list that outlines states that forbid service of process on Sundays or holidays:
● Florida: no service on Sunday
● Maine: no service on Sunday
● Massachusetts: no service on Sunday
● Minnesota: no service on Sundays and Holidays
● New York: no service on Sunday or upon a person who keeps Saturday holy
● Rhode Island: no service on Sunday
● South Dakota: no service on Sunday
● Tennessee: no service on Sunday, except when by Court Order
● Texas: certain restrictions for service on Sunday, depending on the documents
● Virginia: no service on Sunday
● West Virginia: no service on Sunday
For more information on specific requirements for serving lawsuits in a particular state, visit the
Rules of Civil Procedure by State. In addition to doing so, check with the court in which the legal
documents were filed to research if there are any specific requirements of which you are

Service of Process Support
If you need to serve a lawsuit on an out-of-state defendant, or simply need litigation support,
contact Ancillary Legal today. Our team has vast experience with providing full-service legal
support domestically and internationally, including service of process.

In our last post, we explained that the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial & Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (“Hague Service Convention”) is a multilateral treaty adopted on November 15, 1965 by member nations of the Hague Convention on Private International Law (the “Convention”). This Hague Service Convention created unified rules on several issues, including international service of process and has been ratified by 74 countries.


The Convention provides a streamlined way to effectuate international service of process through  each signatory nation’s Central Authority of each signatory nation. Until recently, it has been unclear as to whether service by mail is allowed and many plaintiff’s choose this method because it is faster than the methods provided under the Hague and other methods for non-signatory nations.

Unclear Position From Japan


The Japanese government did not object to service of process by mail at any point since signing the Hague Convention in 1970 until 2018. That being said, litigation with Japanese defendants did not clarify the issue until the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a decision in Water Splash. In that case, a U.S. company sued a former employee in Texas state court. At the time of the lawsuit, the defendant was residing in Canada and was served by public mail, private mail, and email. The Texas state court entered a default judgment against the defendant for failure to respond. The former employee filed suit arguing lack of proper service and the parties argued whether the Hague Service convention allowed service of process by mail. The SCOTUS used the second interpretation of Article 10(a) and allowed service by mail.


Because the position of the Japanese government was not clear and courts could interpret that under the Hague service of process by mail is prohibited irrespective of whether a signatory objected to this method, using service by mail for Japanese defendants was a risk. Accordingly, many careful plaintiffs used service through the Japanese Central Authority (JCA) under the Hague Service Convention. Until the SCOTUS decision in Water Splash, the Japanese government had halted direct service of process by mail.


Bottom Line


After the SCOTUS decision in Walter Splash, it was more likely that service of process made directly to defendants located in Japan by mail would be permitted. Japan’s declaration, however, has annulled this alternative method of service. As a result, in contemplating future lawsuits against Japanese defendants, the parties to a deal may enter into negotiations where service under the Hague Service Convention is avoided by a potential plaintiff and in exchange the Japanese-stationed party can get favorable concessions in exchange for voluntarily accepting service of process. Indeed, an American party may request a Japanese counterpart to designate a United States agent for service of process in the event of a lawsuit in contract negotiations. Of course, the Japanese party should analyze the implications of agreeing to this.


More on this topic can be found here.

For info on service in Japan please go here.