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Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure

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Louisiana Process Server Requirements

Domiciliary service is made when a proper officer leaves the citation or other process at the dwelling house or usual place of abode of the person to be served with a person of suitable age and discretion residing in the domiciliary establishment.

Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Louisiana and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Louisiana Courts web site.

Chapter 2. Service on Persons

Art. 1231. Types of service; time of making

Service of citation or other process may be either personal or domiciliary, and except as otherwise provided by law, each has the same effect. Service, whether personal or domiciliary, may be made at any time of day or night, including Sundays and holidays.

Art. 1232. Personal service

Personal service is made when a proper officer tenders the citation or other process to the person to be served.

Art. 1233. Same; where made

Personal service may be made anywhere the officer making the service may lawfully go to reach the person to be served.

Art. 1234. Domiciliary service

Domiciliary service is made when a proper officer leaves the citation or other process at the dwelling house or usual place of abode of the person to be served with a person of suitable age and discretion residing in the domiciliary establishment.

Case Notes:

  1. Person’s domicile of origin continues until another is acquired. Change in domicile requires physical presence of individual in new domicile coupled with present intent to permanently reside in new domicile. In establishing domicile, intent is based on actual state of facts and not what one declares them to be. Pattan v. Fields, 669 So.2d 1233 (La. App. 1 Cir., 1995); writ denied 661 So.2d 1341, 1342.
  2. An 11-year-old was of suitable age and discretion to accept service on behalf of his stepfather concerning notice of default judgment where deputy asked questions designed to ascertain if child was of suitable age and understanding before making service. First Nat. Bank of Jefferson Parish v. Rall, 607 So.2d 716 (App. 4 Cir., 1992).

Art. 1235. Service on representative

  1. Service is made on a person who is represented by another by appointment of court, operation of law, or mandate, through personal or domiciliary service on such representative.
  2. Service on an attorney, as a representative of a client, is proper when the attorney’s secretary is served in the attorney’s office.
  3. For the purposes of this Article “secretary” shall be defined as the person assigned to a particular attorney and who is charged with the performance of that part of the attorney’s business concerned with the keeping of records, the sending and receiving of correspondence, and the preparation and monitoring of the attorney’s appointments calendar.

Art. 1235.1. Service on incarcerated person

Service is made on a person who is incarcerated in a jail or detention facility through personal service on the warden or his designee for that shift. The warden or his designee shall in turn make personal service on the person incarcerated. Proof of service shall be made by filing in the record the affidavit of the person serving the citation and pleadings on the person who is incarcerated.

Art. 1236. Service on clerical employees of physicians

Service on any physician, when not a party to an action, may be made at his or her office through personal service on any clerical employee of such physician.

Art. 1237. Service on individual in multiple capacities

In cases wherein an individual is named in pleadings in more than one capacity, personal service on that individual is sufficient to constitute service of process on that individual in all capacities, including but not limited to as an individual, tutor, or a representative of a legal or quasi legal entity, when it is clear from the pleadings or service instructions the capacities in which the individual is being served.

Chapter 3. Service on Legal and Quasi Legal Entities

Art. 1261. Domestic or foreign corporation

Art. 1262. Same; secretary of state

If the officer making service certifies that he is unable, after diligent effort, to have service made as provided in Article 1261, then the service may be made personally on the secretary of state, or on a person in his office designated to receive service of process on corporations. The secretary of state shall forward this citation to the corporation at its last known address.

Art. 1263. Partnership

Service of citation or other process on a partnership is made by personal service on a partner. When the officer certifies that he is unable, after diligent effort, to make service in this manner, he may make personal service on any employee of suitable age and discretion at any place where the business of the partnership is regularly conducted.

Art. 1264. Unincorporated association

Service on an unincorporated association is made by personal service on the agent appointed, if any, or in his absence, upon a managing official, at any place where the business of the association is regularly conducted. In the absence of all officials from the place where the business of the association is regularly conducted, service of citation or other process may be made by personal service upon any member of the association.

Art. 1265. Political entity; public officer

Service of citation or other process on any political subdivision, public corporation, or state, parochial or municipal board or commission is made at its office by personal service upon the chief executive officer thereof, or in his absence upon any employee thereof of suitable age and discretion. A public officer, sued as such, may be served at his office either personally, or in his absence, by service upon any of his employees of suitable age and discretion. If the political entity or public officer has no established office, then service may be made at any place where the chief executive officer of the political entity or the public officer to be served may be found.

Art. 1266. Limited liability company

Chapter 4. Persons Authorized to Make Service

Art. 1291. Service by sheriff

Except as otherwise provided by law, service shall be made by the sheriff of the parish where service is to be made or of the parish where the action is pending.

Art. 1292. Sheriff’s return

The sheriff shall endorse on a copy of the citation or other process the date, place, and method of service and sufficient other data to show service in compliance with law. He shall sign and return the copy promptly after the service to the clerk of court who issued it. The return, when received by the clerk, shall form part of the record, and shall be considered prima facie correct. The court, at any time and upon such terms as are just, 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.

Art. 1293. Service by private person

A.  When the sheriff has not made service within ten days after receipt of the process or when a return has been made certifying that the sheriff has been unable to make service, whichever is earlier, on motion of a party the court shall appoint a person over the age of majority, not a party and residing within the state whom the court deems qualified to perform the duties required, to make service of process in the same manner as is required of sheriffs.  Service of process made in this manner shall be proved like any other fact in the case.  Any person who is a Louisiana licensed private investigator shall be presumed qualified to perform the duties required to make service.

B.  In serving notice of a summary proceeding as provided by Article 2592 or a subpoena which is related to the proceeding, on motion of a party the court shall have the discretion to appoint any person over the age of majority, not a party and residing within the state, to make service of process, notices, and subpoenas in the same manner as is required of sheriffs, without first requiring the sheriff to attempt service.  The party making such a motion shall include the reasons, verified by affidavit, necessary to forego service by the sheriff, which shall include but not be limited to the urgent emergency nature of the hearing, knowledge of the present whereabouts of the person to be served, as well as any other good cause shown.

C.  In addition to those natural persons who the court may appoint to make service of process pursuant to Paragraph A or B of this Article, the court may also appoint a juridical person which may then select an employee or agent of that juridical person to make service of process, provided the employee or agent perfecting service of process is a natural person who qualifies as an agent for service of process pursuant to Paragraph A or B of this Article.

Art. 1355. Service of subpoena

A subpoena shall be served and a return thereon made in the same manner and with the same effect as a service of and return on a citation. When a party is summoned as a witness, service of the subpoena may be made by personal service on the witness’ attorney of record.

Louisiana Revised Statutes

13:3204. Service of process

  1. A certified copy of the citation and of the petition in a suit under R.S. 13;3201 shall be sent bycounsel for the plaintiff to the defendant by registered or certified mail or by actually delivered to the defendant by an individual designated by the court in which the suit is filed, or by one authorized by the law of he place where the service is made to serve the process of any of its courts of general, limited, or small claims jurisdiction.
  2. If servcie of process cannot be made on the nonresident by registered or certified mail or by acutal delivery, the court shall order that service of process be made by an attorney at law appointed to represent the defendant pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure At. 5091.
  3. Service of process so made has the same legal force and validity as personal service on the defendant in this state.

13:3471. Supplementary rules of service of process

The following rules supplement those governing the service of citation and other legal process in a civil action or proceeding contained in the Code of Civil Procedure:

13:3472. Service on foreign corporation through secretary of state

In any case where service on a foreign corporation may be made through the secretary of state, under any law heretofore or hereafter enacted, such service may be made in person on the secretary of state anywhere in the state. Should the secretary of state be absent from his office, service may be made on the assistant secretary of state, or on some other individual in the office of the secretary of state designated by the latter to receive service of process in his absence, and such service has the same effect as if made upon the secretary of state personally.

13:3474 Operation of motor vehicle by non-resident as appointment of secretary of state as agent for service of process

The acceptance by non-residents of the rights and privileges conferred by existing laws to operate motor vehicles on the public highways of the state of Louisiana, or the operation by a non-resident or his authorized agent, employee or person for whom he is legally responsible of a motor vehicle within the state of Louisiana, shall be deemed equivalent to an appointment by such non-resident of the secretary of state of Louisiana or his successor in office, to be his true and lawful attorney for service of process, as well as the attorney for service of process of the public liability and property damage insurer of the vehicle, if such insurer be a non-resident not authorized to do business in the state, upon whom or such insurer, may be served all lawful process in any action or proceeding against the non-resident, or such insurer, growing out of any accident or collision in which the non-resident may be involved while operating a motor vehicle in this state, or while same is operated by his authorized agent or employee. In the event of the death of such non-resident before service of process upon him, any action or proceeding growing out of such accident or collision may be instituted against the executors or administrators of such deceased non-resident, if there be such, and if not, then against his heirs or legatees, and service may be made upon them as provided in R.S. 13:3475. Process against the defendant or defendants, the non-resident, his executors or administrators, if there be such, and if not, then against his heirs or legatees, or the liability insurer of such vehicle, as the case may be, shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served upon such defendant personally.

13:3475. Service on secretary of state; sending or delivering notice and copies; filing receipt or affidavit; continuances

13:3476. Service by constable or court-appointed officer when service cannot be made by the sheriff; sheriff an interested party

Whenever the sheriff of any parish shall be interested in any suit or other legal process, or when there shall be no sheriff in office in any parish, or the sheriff shall be disqualified by law, from interest or otherwise, from serving any legal process, it shall be served by any regular constable of the parish, or by any officer appointed by the court. Such constable or officer shall have in the suit all powers, receive all the emoluments, and be liable to all the responsibilities of the sheriff.

13:3477. Inability or refusal of constable or deputy constable to act; employment of sheriff or deputy; appointment of special deputy constable

In case of the inability or refusal to act on the part of the constable or a duly appointed deputy constable because of relationship, sickness or from other causes in civil suits, and in case of the execution of conservatory writs in civil suits, the justices of the peace may employ either the sheriff or his deputy or appoint a special deputy constable to execute all orders, citations, summons, seizures and writs.

13:3478. Constable or deputy constable to act when not disqualified or unwilling or unable to act

When there is a constable or duly appointed deputy constable not disqualified to act because of relationship, or unable to act on account of sickness or other cause, and who is willing to act, and who is personally present when conservatory writs are sued out, then and in these cases, the justice of the peace for whose ward said constable shall have been elected or appointed and qualified, shall employ said constable or his duly appointed deputy constable to the exclusion of the sheriff or his deputy, or a special deputy constable, to execute all orders, citations, summons, seizures and writs in civil cases, and in such cases services made by other than said constable or his duly appointed deputy constable shall be void and of no effect.

13:3479. Operation of water craft by non-resident as appointment of secretary of state as agent for service of process

The operation, navigation or maintenance by a non-resident or non-residents of a boat, ship, barge of other water craft in the state, either in person or through others, and the acceptance thereby by such non-resident or non-residents of the protection of the laws of the state for such water craft, or the operation, navigation or maintenance by a non-resident or non-residents of a boat, ship, barge or other water craft in the state, either in person or through others, other than under the laws of the state, shall be deemed equivalent to an appointment by each such non-resident of the Secretary of State, or his successor in office or some other person in his office during his absence he may designate, to be the true and lawful attorney of each such non-resident for service of process, upon whom may be served all lawful process in any suit, action or proceeding against such non-resident or non-residents growing out of any accident or collision in which such non-resident or non-residents may be involved while, either in person or through others, operating, navigating or maintaining a boat, ship, barge or other water craft in the state; and such acceptance or such operating, navigating or maintaining in the state of such water craft shall be a signification of each such non-resident’s agreement that any such process against him which is so served shall be of the same legal force and effect as if served on him personally.

13:3480. Service of citation on secretary of state; sending or delivering notice and copies; filing receipt or affidavit; continuances

Service of citation in any case provided in R.S. 13:3479 shall be made by serving a copy of the petition and citation on the secretary of state, or his successor in office, and such service shall be sufficient service upon any such non-resident; provided that notice of such service, together with a copy of the petition and citation are forthwith sent by registered mail by the plaintiff to the defendant, or actually delivered to the defendant, and the defendant’s return receipt, in case notice is sent by registered mail, or affidavit of the party delivering the petition and citation in case notice is made by actual delivery, is filed in the proceedings before judgment can be rendered against any such non-resident. The court in which the action is pending may order such continuances as may be necessary to afford the defendant reasonable opportunity to defend the action.

13:3481. Service of any other process on secretary of state

Service of any process other than citation in any case provided by R.S. 13:3479 shall be made by serving a copy thereof on the secretary of state, and such service shall be sufficient service upon any such non-resident.

13:3482. Not to affect other methods of process against non-residents R.S. 13:3479 through 13:3481

Nothing in R.S. 13:3479 through 13:3481 shall be construed as affecting other methods of process against non-residents as now provided by existing laws.

13:3483. Service in suits arising from sale or manufacture of sugar cane or syrup

In all cases provided in R.S. 13:3232 where suit is brought in the parish in which the domicile of defendant is not situated, service of petition, citation and other process shall be made by delivering the same to the agent, overseer or manager of the factory of defendant.

13:3484. Mailing of process to deputy, constable, or marshal for service; mileage and mailing costs; sheriff not responsible for constable marshal

When requested to do so by the party at whose instance service is to be made, and when the place where service is to be made is more than ten miles distant from the sheriff’s office, the sheriff may mail the process to be served to one of his deputies, a constable of a justice of the peace court, or to a constable or marshal of a city court, living in the vicinity of the place where service is to be made, for such service. If service is made as authorized in this section, the serving deputy, constable, or marshal shall make the return showing the manner in which service was made, and mail it to the sheriff for filing in the issuing court. When a party has requested service, as authorized in this section, whether the sheriff complies with the request or not, the only mileage for which the sheriff may charge is for the actual distance from the home or office, whichever is lesser, of the deputy, constable, or marshal to the place where service is to be made, and return. The sheriff may also charge the actual cost of mailing the process and return, if service is made as authorized in this section.

The sheriff is not responsible for the performance or nonperformance of duties in making the service and return thereon by the constable or marshal to whom the process is mailed for service.

13:3485. Appointment of agent for service of process by nonresident individual or partnership no defense to nonresident attachment unless notice filed with secretary of state

The appointment of an agent for the service of process by a nonresident individual or partnership is no defense to an attachment of property on the grounds of the non residence of the defendant unless a written notice of such appointment, setting forth the name and address of the agent, has been filed with the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall keep available for public inspection a record of all such appointments, and the dates thereof.

You should contact an Louisiana Process Server if you have specific questions about Process Serving in Louisiana.