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Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure

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Pennsylvania Process Serving Requirements

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.

Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure

Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Courts web site.

Rule 400. Person to Make Service

Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of “competent adult”. Service of original process in domestic relations matters is governed by Rule 1930.4.

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

Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of “competent adult”.

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

(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.

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

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

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

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

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

Rule 402.3. Service Upon Additional Defendants

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.

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).

Note: See Rule 76 for the definition of “competent adult”.

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).

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

(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.

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

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

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

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.

Rulee 234.6 Form of Subpoena

A subpoena issued pursuant to Rule 234.1 shall be substantially in the following form: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
(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,
(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. ยง 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
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
(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.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT OF SUBPOENA I acknowledge receipt of a copy of the subpoena in the above captioned matter.
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.

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