Indiana Process Server Laws

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Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure

Below this section are the rules of court.  All of the rules have not been included on this page.  We have included the rules which are pertinent to service of process in the state of Indiana.  This page is meant to be a reference for all process servers in our network, and across the state.  Our clients are invited to study these laws as well.  This page is not a substitute for legal council.  Please consult an attorney before taking legal action in a civil matter.  This page is updated periodically and is currently under construction.

Rule 4. Process

  •  (A)   Jurisdiction Over Parties or Persons--In General. The court acquires jurisdiction over a party or person who under these rules commences or joins in the action, is served with summons or enters an appearance, or who is subjected to the power of the court under any other law.
  • (B)   Preparation of summons and praecipe. Contemporaneously with the filing of the complaint or equivalent pleading, the person seeking service or his attorney shall furnish to the clerk as many copies of the complaint and summons as are necessary. The clerk shall examine, date, sign, and affix his seal to the summons and thereupon issue and deliver the papers to the appropriate person for service. Affidavits, requests, and any other information relating to the summons and its service as required or permitted by these rules shall be included in a praecipe attached to or entered upon the summons. Such praecipe shall be deemed to be a part of the summons for purposes of these rules. Separate or additional summons shall, as provided by these rules, be issued by the clerk at any time upon proper request of the person seeking service or his attorney.
  • (C)   Form of summons. The summons shall contain:(1)    The name and address of the person on whom the service is to be effected;(2)    The name, street address, and telephone number of the court and the cause number assigned to the case;(3)    The title of the case as shown by the complaint, but, if there are multiple parties, the title may be shortened to include only the first named plaintiff and defendant with an appropriate indication that there are additional parties;(4)    The name, address, and telephone number of the attorney for the person seeking service;(5)    The time within which these rules require the person being served to respond, and a clear statement that in case of his failure to do so, judgment by default may be rendered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint.The summons may also contain any additional information which will facilitate proper service.
  • (D)  Designation of Manner of Service. The person seeking service or his attorney may designate the manner of service upon the summons. If not so designated, the clerk shall cause service to be made by mail or other public means provided the mailing address of the person to be served is indicated in the summons or can be determined. If a mailing address is not furnished or cannot be determined or if service by mail or other public means is returned without acceptance, the complaint and summons shall promptly be delivered to the sheriff or his deputy who, unless otherwise directed, shall serve the summons.
  • (E)   Summons and Complaint Served Together--Exceptions. The summons and complaint shall be served together unless otherwise ordered by the court. When service of summons is made by publication, the complaint shall not be published. When jurisdiction over a party is dependent upon service of process by publication or by his appearance, summons and complaint shall be deemed to have been served at the end of the day of last required publication in the case of service by publication, and at the time of appearance in jurisdiction acquired by appearance. Whenever the summons and complaint are not served or published together, the summons shall contain the full, unabbreviated title of the case. 

Rule 4.1. Summons:Service on Individuals

  • (A)   In General. Service may be made upon an individual, or an individual acting in a representative capacity, by:(1)    sending a copy of the summons and complaint by registered or certified mail or other public means by which a written acknowledgment of receipt may be requested and obtained to his residence, place of business or employment with return receipt requested and returned showing receipt of the letter; or(2)    delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to him personally; or(3)    leaving a copy of the summons and complaint at his dwelling house or usual place of abode; or(4)    serving his agent as provided by rule, statute or valid agreement.
  • (B)   Copy Service to Be Followed With Mail. Whenever service is made under Clause (3) or (4) of subdivision (A), the person making the service also shall send by first class mail, a copy of the summons without the complaint to the last known address of the person being served, and this fact shall be shown upon the return. 

Rule 4.2. Summons: Service upon infant or incompetents

  • (A)   Service Upon Infants. Service upon an individual known to be an infant shall be made upon his next friend or guardian ad litem, if service is with respect to the same action in which the infant is so represented. If there is no next friend or guardian ad litem, service shall be made upon his court-appointed representative if one is known and can be served within this state. If there is no court-appointed representative, service shall be made upon either parent known to have custody of the infant, or if there is no parent, upon a person known to be standing in the position of custodian or parent. The infant shall also be served if he is fourteen [14] years of age or older. In the event that service, as provided above, is not possible, service shall be made on the infant.
  • (B)   Service Upon Incompetents. Service upon an individual who has been adjudged to be of unsound mind, otherwise incompetent or who is believed to be such shall be made upon his next friend or guardian ad litem, if service is with respect to the same action in which the incompetent is so represented. If there is no next friend or guardian ad litem, service shall be made upon his court-appointed representative if one is known and can be served within this state. If there is no court-appointed representative, then upon the named party and also upon a person known to be standing in the position of custodian of his person.
  • (C)   Duty to Inform Court--Appearance. Nothing herein is intended to affect the duty of a party to inform the court that a person is an infant or incompetent. An appearance by a court-appointed guardian, next friend or guardian ad litem or his attorney shall correct any defect in service under this section unless such defect be challenged. 

Rule 4.3. Summons: Service upon institutionalized persons

  • Service of summons upon a person who is imprisoned or restrained in an institution shall be made by delivering or mailing a copy of the summons and complaint to the official in charge of the institution. It shall be the duty of said official to immediately deliver the summons and complaint to the person being served and allow him to make provisions for adequate representation by counsel. The official shall indicate upon the return whether the person has received the summons and been allowed an opportunity to retain counsel. 

Rule 4.4. Service upon persons in actions for acts done in this state

  • (A)   Acts Serving as a Basis for Jurisdiction. Any person or organization that is a nonresident of this state, a resident of this state who has left the state, or a person whose residence is unknown, submits to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state as to any action arising from the following acts committed by him or her or his or her agent:
  • (1)    doing any business in this state;
  • (2)    causing personal injury or property damage by an act or omission done within this state;
  • (3)    causing personal injury or property damage in this state by an occurrence, act or omission done outside this state if he regularly does or solicits business or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue or benefit from goods, materials, or services used, consumed, or rendered in this state;
  • (4)    having supplied or contracted to supply services rendered or to be rendered or goods or materials furnished or to be furnished in this state;
  • (5)    owning, using, or possessing any real property or an interest in real property within this state;
  • (6)    contracting to insure or act as surety for or on behalf of any person, property or risk located within this state at the time the contract was made;
  • (7)    living in the marital relationship within the state notwithstanding subsequent departure from the state, as to all obligations for alimony, custody, child support, or property settlement, if the other party to the marital relationship continues to reside in the state; or
  • (8)    abusing, harassing, or disturbing the peace of, or violating a protective or restraining order for the protection of, any person within the state by an act or omission done in this state, or outside this state if the act or omission is part of a continuing course of conduct having an effect in this state.
  • In addition, a court of this state may exercise jurisdiction on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitutions of this state or the United States.
  • (B)   Manner of service. A person subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state under this rule may be served with summons:
  • (1)    As provided by Rules 4.1 (service on individuals), 4.5 (service upon resident who cannot be found or served within the state), 4.6 (service upon organizations), 4.9 (in rem actions); or
  • (2)    The person shall be deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as his agent upon whom service of summons may be made as provided in Rule 4.10.
  • (C)   More convenient forum. Jurisdiction under this rule is subject to the power of the court to order the litigation to be held elsewhere under such reasonable conditions as the court in its discretion may determine to be just.
  • In the exercise of that discretion the court may appropriately consider such factors as:
  • (1)    Amenability to personal jurisdiction in this state and in any alternative forum of the parties to the action;
  • (2)    Convenience to the parties and witnesses of the trial in this state in any alternative forum;
  • (3)    Differences in conflict of law rules applicable in this state and in the alternative forum; or
  • (4)    Any other factors having substantial bearing upon the selection of a convenient, reasonable and fair place of trial.
  • (D)  Forum Non Conveniens--Stay or Dismissal. No stay or dismissal shall be granted due to a finding of forum non conveniens until all properly joined defendants file with the clerk of the court a written stipulation that each defendant will:
  • (1)    submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts of the other forum; and
  • (2)    waive any defense based on the statute of limitations applicable in the other forum with respect to all causes of action brought by a party to which this subsection applies.
  • (E)   Order on Forum Non Conveniens--Modification. The court may, on motion and notice to the parties, modify an order granting a stay or dismissal under this subsection and take any further action in the proceeding as the interests of justice may require. If the moving party violates a stipulation required by subsection (D), the court shall withdraw the order staying or dismissing the action and proceed as if the order had never been issued. Notwithstanding any other law, the court shall have continuing jurisdiction for the purposes of this subsection.

Rule 4.5. Summons: Service upon resident who cannot be found or served within the state

  • When the person to be served is a resident of this state who cannot be served personally or by agent in this state and either cannot be found, has concealed his whereabouts or has left the state, summons may be served in the manner provided by Rule 4.9 (summons in in rem actions). 

Rule 4.6. Service upon organizations

 

  • (A)   Persons to be served. Service upon an organization may be made as follows: (1)  In the case of a domestic or foreign organization upon an executive officer thereof, or if there is an agent appointed or deemed by law to have been appointed to receive service, then upon such agent. (2)    In the case of a partnership, upon a general partner thereof. (3)  In the case of a state governmental organization upon the executive officer thereof and also upon the Attorney General. (4)  In the case of a local governmental organization, upon the executive thereof and upon the attorney for the local governmental organization. (5)  When, in subsections (3) and (4) of this subdivision, a governmental representative is named as a party in his individual name or in such name along with his official title, then also upon such representative.
  • (B)   Manner of service. Service under subdivision (A) of this rule shall be made on the proper person in the manner provided by these rules for service upon individuals, but a person seeking service or his attorney shall not knowingly direct service to be made at the person’s dwelling house or place of abode, unless such is an address furnished under the requirements of a statute or valid agreement, or unless an affidavit on or attached to the summons states that service in another manner is impractical.
  • (C)   Service at organization’s office. When shown upon an affidavit or in the return, that service upon an organization cannot be made as provided in subdivision (A) or (B) of this rule, service may be made by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint at any office of such organization located within this state with the person in charge of such office.

Rule 4.7. Summons: Service upon agent named by statute or agreement

 

  • Whenever an agent (other than an agent appointed to receive service for a governmental organization of this state) has been designated by or pursuant to statute or valid agreement to receive service for the person being served, service may be made upon such agent as follows:
  • (1)     If the agent is a governmental organization or officer designated by or pursuant to statute, service shall be made as provided in Rule 4.10.
  • (2)    If the agent is one other than that described above, service shall be made upon him as provided in Rule 4.1 (service upon individuals) or 4.6 (service upon organizations). If service cannot be made upon such agent, because there is no address furnished as required by statute or valid agreement or his whereabouts in this state are unknown, then his principal shall be deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as a replacement for the agent and service may be made upon the Secretary of State as provided in Rule 4.10.