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Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure

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Tennessee Process Serving Requirements

A summons and complaint may be served by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. The process server must be identified by name and address on the return.

No service on Sundays unless permitted by court order.

Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure

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

§ 4.01. Summons; Issuance; By Whom Served

§ 4.02. Summons; Form

The summons shall be issued in the name of the State of Tennessee, be dated and signed by the clerk, contain the name of the court and county, the title of the action, and the file number. The summons shall be directed to the defendant, shall state the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify the defendant that in case of his or her failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against that defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint. The summons shall state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, if any; otherwise, it shall state the plaintiff’s address.

§ 4.03. Summons; Return

The summons shall be issued in the name of the State of Tennessee, be dated and signed by the clerk, contain the name of the court and county, the title of the action, and the file number. The summons shall be directed to the defendant, shall state the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify the defendant that in case of his or her failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against that defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint. The summons shall state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney, if any; otherwise, it shall state the plaintiff’s address.

§ 4.04. Service Upon Defendants within the State

The plaintiff shall furnish the person making the service with such copies of the summons and complaint as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:

§ 4.05. Service Upon Defendant Outside This State

The plaintiff shall furnish the person making the service with such copies of the summons and complaint as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:

§ 4.06. Reserved.

§ 4.07. Waiver of Service; Duty to Save Costs of Service; Request to Waive

§ 4.08. Constructive Service.

In cases where constructive service of process is permissible under the statutes of this state, such service shall be made in the manner prescribed by those statutes, unless otherwise expressly provided in these rules.

§ 4.09. Amendment.

At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court 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. Added by order filed February 1, 1995, effective July 1, 1996; by order effective July 1, 1997; and by order effective July 1, 1998.

Rule 4A. Service Upon Defendant in a Foreign Country

Service upon (1) an individual from whom a waiver has not been obtained and filed, other than an infant or an incompetent person, (2) a corporation, or (3) a partnership or other unincorporated association (including a limited liability company) may be effected in a place not within any judicial district of the United States:

Rule 4B. Service Upon Secretary of State as Agent for Service of Appeals

Rule 45 Subpoena.

§ 45.01. For Attendance of Witnesses – Form – Issuance.

Every subpoena shall be issued by the clerk, shall state the name of the court and the title of the action, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place and for the party therein specified. The clerk shall issue a subpoena or a subpoena for the production of documentary evidence, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall fill it in before service. [As amended by order entered January 26, 1999, effective July 1, 1999; amended effective July 1, 2000.]

§ 45.02. For Production of Documentary Evidence.

A subpoena may also command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents, or tangible things designated therein; but the court, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may (1) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (2) condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things.

§ 45.03. Service.

A subpoena may be served by any person authorized to serve process, or the witness may acknowledge service in writing on the subpoena. Service of the subpoena shall be made by delivering or offering to deliver a copy thereof to the person to whom it is directed.

§ 45.04. Subpoena for Taking Depositions – Place of Deposition.

§ 45.05. Subpoena for a Hearing or Trial – Personal Attendance.

§ 45.06. Contempt.

Disobedience or a refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness may be punished as a contempt of the court in which the action is pending.

§ 45.07. Requirement of Trial, Hearing or Deposition.

Every subpoena issued and served under any part of this Rule 45 for testimony, books, papers, documents, or tangible things must command the witness to appear at a trial, hearing, or deposition unless otherwise provided by statute or by agreement of all parties. [As enacted by order entered January 29, 1987, effective August 1, 1987.]

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

20-2-103. Date of process shown – Penalty for violation.

20-2-104. Issuance of process on Sunday.

20-2-105. Service of process on Sunday on parties leaving jurisdiction.

Sheriffs or constables having process in their hands in civil actions pending in magistrate’s court or courts of record, if it appears to their satisfaction that parties to be sued are leaving the county or state, have the right to execute the process on Sunday. [Acts 1885, ch. 53, § 1; Shan., § 4532; Code 1932, § 8659; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-208.]

20-2-106. Process on Sunday generally prohibited.

With the exceptions contained in §§ 20-2-104 and 20-2-105, civil process shall not be executed on Sunday. [Code 1858, § 2827 (deriv. Acts 1777 (Nov.), ch. 8, § 6); Acts 1885, ch. 53, § 1; Shan., § 4533; Code 1932, § 8660; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-209.]

20-2-107. Process to other counties.

Process in local actions may run to any county. [Code 1858, § 2820; Shan., § 4525; Code 1932, § 8652; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-210.]

20-2-108. Counterpart summons.

You should contact a Tennessee Process Server if you have specific questions about process serving in Tennessee.